Grandparents-of-the-future, think again.

Recently, I almost threw popcorn at my television.

It was during House Hunters International, a favorite show of mine. Each episode features an American (often a couple) trying to find just the right home to rent or buy in a foreign city. An agent works with them, showing them options.

The other night I watched a delightful couple as they looked for a new permanent home in Amsterdam, and were selling their home in the U.S. They were such nice people, very unpretentious and had a really good marriage. (I always like to see that instead of bickering couples.)

Anyway, they told the real estate agent that they wanted a home with enough bedrooms for their two daughters and their significant others to come and visit. They have a very close family, they said.

The couple also mentioned that they want room for grandchildren that might be coming some day. They said, with genuine love and enthusiasm, something along the lines of, “We hope our daughters will bring their children to Amsterdam frequently!”

“Are you crazy?!?” I shouted at the TV.

Do they really think new parents are going to bring a newborn across the ocean … or will be happy to suffer through an international flight with a toddler a couple times a year? Then as the grandchildren grow to be good travelers, they’ll have school schedules and a social life and perhaps not be too keen on that vacation to Amsterdam the week of a best friend’s party.

But I didn’t throw popcorn. Was I the same way before grandkids, not realizing the impact they would have on my life? Did I not realize the closeness I would want with them? Maybe a bit. Nothing dropkicks you into a new way of thinking like your child handing you a grandchild. Only then, perhaps, does putting an ocean between you sound ludicrous.

You know and I know that these House Hunters removing themselves from easy access to future grandkids might seriously regret this permanent move to Amsterdam.

But maybe not. Maybe their grandkids won’t be as adorable as mine and yours are.

Did your views on grandparenting change big time when you became one? I’d love to hear from you. Use the Comments section below.

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7 thoughts on “Grandparents-of-the-future, think again.”

  1. Before our granddaughter was born 3 years ago I was not excited, didn’t think her parents were ready for this and thought the whole grandparent thing was overrated! Boy did I find out different! Now our daughter is expecting a baby boy and I can’t wait to meet this little one and begin the same wonderful relationship with our grandson. They live 5 hours away by car but I won’t complain about that after following your blog. Thanks for tips on how to engage a 3 year old on video chat. It has been helpful during the pandemic.

    • Oh, Carol, thanks for your day-brightener message.

      So many of us think grandparenting is overrated — until we are one!

      Congratulations on your grandson-on-the-way! When each of my grandchildren were “in utero” this thought would amaze me: “I’m about to meet for the first time one of the most important people in my life!” I think the waiting time is quite wonderous!


  2. I love House Hunters International, too. I wouldn’t mind a second house in Europe but I wouldn’t leave this country because my grandkids are here, even if they are a state away.

    I really enjoy your blog! Thanks for giving something just for us miles away grandparents.

  3. I am a Mom of a 2 year old whose both sets of grandparents are hours away. First of all, Thank You for this site! I grew up seeing both sets of my grandparents every weekend and was bound and determined that my kids would have as close a relationship with their grandparents as I had with mine. That the grands would know my kids’ quirks and favorites, know what new thing happened for them today, and have a unique relationship with our child. My Mother in Law and I would talk at length about how we would share together the life of this child …Then I gave birth. And the reality of managing all of life with this new little one was more than overwhelming. (Especially without my own Mamma here to guide me). I fluctuate between hope, disappointment, and guilt about how his relationships with his Grands are unfolding.

    I was a lot like that couple on House hunters, thinking it will require a little effort, but it would be no big deal to hop on a plane every few months to go see Grandma, send updated pictures every week, and pile in the car once a month to drive to see GrandDaddy. As much I love to travel, that first plane ride with a toddler makes me not want to get on another flight any time soon!

    I appreciate the open-hearted honesty in your posts, the practical tips, and the inspiration that come from seeing how you are making it happen. I especially appreciate hearing that the first step is releasing the idea of what I thought it would be like and embrace the what-is. As a matter of fact, that seems to be a theme of parenting in general!

    I have renewed sense of hope that if we keep working at this, we’ll get to the place that the physical distance does not have to be a barrier at all to the closeness of relationship with Grandma, GrandPa, and GrandDaddy.

    • Oh, Kisha, thanks for writing. I was so interested to read about your situation and what you’re facing now.

      I’m sorry you don’t have your mother and can only imagine the heartbreak of not sharing Little Guy with her.

      But it’s wonderful you want him to have great relationships with the other three. When miles separate you, it does take effort to get them connected frequently. Our two biggest connectors are FaceTime and in-person visits, and with both of these, you and the grandparents have to be willing to do what it takes.

      I hope you tell you dad and your in-laws about my blog. Maybe ask them to read some of the posts and then have a conversation about how Little Guy can be even more connected to his grandparents. Ask them what you can do to make that happen and tell them any ideas you have. Maybe talk about how hard travel is now and could THEY be the ones to travel to you in these early years.

      But even with that being said and done, if you STILL feel you aren’t doing enough, well, that just means you’re a good Mommy!

      Most grandparents would love having a daughter or daughter-in-law who cared about their relationships with their grands. It truly cannot happen without her. So remember, you are a treasure!


  4. Hi Jane,
    I have 5 grandchildren between the age of 1 and 10. Until a year and a half ago they lived 30 minutes from our home. They now live in Turkey on the other side of the planet. I was crushed when they moved away since until that time we had visited with them at least once a week and one grandchild would spend the night at our home each week so we could have one on one time with each child. My husband and I went through a time of grieving the loss of the dreams we both had as grandparents and the closeness we had experienced for so many years. We’re not over it but we have had to alter our dreams and be creative with our communication/interaction with our kids and grandkids. My husband found your blog after my last FaceTime call with one of the grandkids. I’m excited to try a new way of reading stories to them. I have a collection of books that they love for me to read but it’s kind of awkward holding the book and trying to see them and turn pages at the same time. I’ll let you know what I think after our next FT. I have recently gotten a new library card (haven’t had one since our kids were living at home) so that I can find new books to read giving them variety. My son and daughter in law are involved in missions work in Turkey so they are very busy. The eight hour time difference is another obstacle I have to deal with. After talking with my son we worked out 2 days a week that we could spend an hour together. It’s 8 am for me and 4pm for them. One day I talk with the 4 kids together and the one year old pops in now and then. I have questions that I ask each one that are fun questions to answer. I also have kid jokes that I tell them and they love that. The other day I spend one hour with one child talking about whatever they want to talk about, reading, or playing a game. I also email with my two oldest grandchildren. One thing I discovered for my oldest grandson who is almost 11 is we play the game Battleship. I sent several games to them including Battleship. I also have the game at home with me so I can set up my game and he sets up his in Turkey and we play over FT on the computer. I’m looking for other games to play that would be similar if you have any suggestions. My goal is to continue to build my relationship with the older ones and to start building with the newest ones.
    I have 2 more grandchildren on the way. One more in Turkey and then my youngest daughter is pregnant with her first and they live in Minnesota while we live in Georgia. My husband and I will definitely get to visit them more often but again most of my interaction will be over FT or the phone. Thank you so much for this blog and I look forward to more ideas and will continue to share any that I come up with.


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