Family Ties

Thursday, November 17, 2011

We didn't do a whole lot during our trip to Virginia. It wasn't really a vacation so much as it was just a trip to visit my dad and some of his side of the family.

The agenda? There wasn't one. We pretty much flew by the seats of our pants, and spent a lot of time doing a whole lot of nothing, which was nice.

When we woke up on Friday morning, we were still pretty tired from getting in late the night before, so we lounged around in our pajamas until Nora went down for a morning nap--at which point WE went down for a morning nap, too.

Awake and (a little bit) rejuvenated, we all got ready and made the drive out to my grandparents' house to visit them for the first time in four years. It's crazy how that much time passed since our last trip down, but hey, it happens.

My grandparents were thrilled to get to meet Nora in person for the first time. They've seen tons of photos (my 83-year-old granddad is on Facebook, how cool is that?), but it just wasn't the same.

(Loved the natural light in their house.)

My granddad is recovering from his second knee replacement surgery (done just a couple of weeks ago), so he was pretty laid up still. Nora sat in his lap nicely for about 0.2 seconds. She's going through another "stranger danger" slash "shy" phase, which is a bummer for great-grandparents who just want to snuggle her. :(

My dad wanted to get a photo of the three generations. We should've had Dad get in the photo, too, but I guess he just wanted a pic of the girls in his life. :)

We visited my grandparents all three days we were there. On the last night, my granddad said how photos just don't do Nora justice, which I thought was very sweet. It also made me really sad, because I know that it could very well be another year before we make it back down there again. Knowing how much Nora will change in that period of time--it's heartbreaking knowing all that they'll miss. My dad misses a lot, too. It's terrible living so far away from family!

If you live away from your family, how do you handle it? Especially if you have children?


Melissa November 17, 2011 at 9:21 PM  

This is my worry. I'm currently pregnant and my family lives 3 hours south in another state and my husband's family lives 6 hours east in another state. We literally see them about twice a year, if we're lucky. I grew up down the road from my dad's parents and about 20 minutes from my mom's parents. I want our baby to KNOW his/her grandparents - but how? I share your concern and am looking forward to other's comments. Glad you had a great trip!

diana November 17, 2011 at 10:07 PM  

Skype video chats and YouTube. I take videos of everyday stuff, babbling, playing, eating peas and post them. I recently got a tablet that has a front and back camera so I can Skype with my parents and they can see my son if he's in my lap or playing in the room. It's not the same, but it helps my parents feel like they are a bit closer. My dad has some favorite videos he watches every day or two.

Erin Maree November 18, 2011 at 1:28 AM  

My Dad's parents and brother (with his wife and 2 daughters) live over east (6 hour plane trip), so we rarely see them (once every 3 years if we're lucky) but skype and email helps majorly, they also phone us a bit. We have never been real close to his side of the family, but when we do see them is great, I am (I'm 17, 18 next year) planning on flying over there sometime next year to see them all (we have close friends who live there and have offered to let me stay with them for a while). My Mum's side of the family live various distances away from us, her mum lives 20 minutes away (in a hostel) and we see her twice a week so thats good. Then she has two brothers 2 hours away, one we see alot of the other not so much, and another brother who lives 30 minutes but leads an extremly busy lifestyle so we rarely see him (and his family) much. Though I am close to a few of my cousins so that helps.
I think it all depends on up to you if you want Nora to grow up near your family there are ways to make it happen. I have heard of people sending books to their loved ones and then posting a video of themselves reading the book on youtube, that way the child can read along with them. Skype is a great way to keep in touch to. Also maybe aim to visit your dad twice a year? I hope these ideas help :)

Erin N.,  November 18, 2011 at 2:03 AM  

My parents live 8 hours away, and it's a lot of phone calls and skype and youtube videos. I make sure to send pics either over the phone or through email a couple times a week, and I call about every other day or so. The videos are just of singing the ABCs or playing with the cat or even some of her first smiles. However, my 2 yo now knows how to dial the last number called, so when I'm preoccupied occasionally she'll call Grandpa and Grandma on her own.

Vanessa November 18, 2011 at 10:52 AM  

I totally understand! I live in England and my Mum lives in Israel. It's sooo far, and we only get to see each other a few times a year. It will be so hard for her when we have kids someday!
I think it's really important to speak to Nora about her family, make them a part of her life, of her thinking process, send her drawings to them etc.
There's no denying that it's hard, but at the end of the day we're lucky to have family who love us and whom we love - no matter where they are,

Sara November 18, 2011 at 11:52 AM  

I don't have children, but my husband and I just moved to another state, away from both of our families, for the first time. It is really hard since all of our siblings seem to be having their first child at the same time back home. The holidays this year seem to be especially hard too. Not an easy adjustment for us. Skype is what keeps us connected. I love photos, but video makes us feel so much closer. :)

amybyrd November 18, 2011 at 11:53 AM  

This is huge for us, neither set of parents are even close to us. We skype with my parents and siblings a lot and sometimes will catch my mom's parents. We send pictures to everyone else--and they have each had a chance to meet Elle--we did a lot of traveling this summer. It is just a reality.

PhaseThreeOfLife November 18, 2011 at 11:56 AM  

It's hard, no doubt about it. I feel a lot of guilt for keeping Ryan so far from family. But we live in AZ, and my family is in OH and hubby's fam is in PA... so even if we moved near one side, we'd still be a long drive away from the other. We can't seem to find a good solution and we love AZ, so we stay where we are. It's always hard though when we're saying goodbye again. I wish Ryan could see our families more - and I miss my three nieces like crazy. We try to tell ourselves that we we DO see each other, it really is quality time and we make the most of it.

Pie November 18, 2011 at 12:55 PM  

I echo everybody's suggestions. Both side grandparents for my son are on the other side of the world - Asia, but we do Facetime, Skype, Tango, you name it, at least twice a week for each side of the grandparents. Initially, it is quite a bit of work, but once you figure out those little technical hiccups, it is pretty smooth. We usually just call and figure out a good time for them, and just set our ipad or phone focusing the playing area. They can see baby, and us playing with him too! It makes us feel so close, although we are thousands of miles apart. Nolan even get to give a good night kiss before we head upstairs for bath!

Kelsey November 20, 2011 at 9:37 AM  

I know how you feel! We used to live just 20 minutes from my husband's family and within 3 hours of my family but that all changed this year. We found out on the same day that we were pregnant with our first child and that my husband had been transferred to the Midwest. We're now 7 hours away from my family and 10 hours away from my husband's.

While we love our new area, we really miss being close to family especially once our daughter was born. I hate the fact that she hasn't met her aunts, uncles, and cousins yet but I'm grateful that all her grandparents have made the trek out to see her. I try to keep everyone involved by posting lots of pictures to Facebook and our family website, sending pictures and updates through e-mail, and Skyping. It's not the same, but at least everyone can "watch" her grow.

Tara November 20, 2011 at 2:19 PM  

It is the holidays so there is no surprise that the topic of family comes up. Dominic & I are from NY, lived their our entire lives, packed up & moved down here to FL when we were 20. Always said we'd come down here do our thing, eventually get married & when we decided to have kids move back. Well it's been 5years & in Dec '09 we were engaged, Jan '10 pregnant, married June '10 & Kira came September '10....needless to say it all happened in a whirlwind! We never stopped to say "what exactly are we going to do." Dominic & I are actually having the "should we move back" talk now. Our families are growing & everyone is starting to settle down. Granted my best friend lives here in FL & we've made the greatest friends who are our family however it's not the same at the end of the day. We love FL & our life here...I mean I work for Walt Disney World & there is no snow haha...but we want Kira to grow up with her cousins & grandparents. Dominic & I both had that growing up & we want Kira to have that too.

SO after all that mumbo jumbo have we done it? Kira is 14months now & we spend lots of time skyping, uploading pics & videos and we've made it to NY a few times. It is tough, we talk to Kira about Grandma, Papa etc but it definitely is a tough situation whichever way you look at it. Like others have said talk to Nora about her family that isn't here, reference's the best we can do.

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