Distant Family

I sit here missing family members. This past weekend, my daughter and the darling grands moved to Tennessee so they could be with her husband who is returning this week from Afghanistan. I am very happy for this family for several reasons. First that they will finally be able to be together after a year. Ashley’s husband has been away so much, either for training or deployment. He’s missed so much of his children’s growing up, and now will have time to be a full time daddy again.

Another is that they will be able to establish their own identity as a family, setting their own routines, building friendships with people not known to us, raising their kids with less help or interference from us well-intended grandparents. Ashley and her husband will also be able to reconnect as a couple and work together as parents. I couldn’t be more proud of them.

Still its hard knowing that I can’t be at her house in minutes, as well as knowing that hugging my grandchildren or playing with them will have to wait for visits that don’t come near soon enough. I felt the same when my oldest moved away, and I don’t get to talk with him all that often. Such is what happens when two people live and work at opposite ends of a clock, but we still connect.

Still its a bit different when there are grandchildren involved. I’ve been so fortunate to have them close for so long. So many I know haven’t had that privilege. I know my own grandparents didn’t. When I was a kid, I didn’t understand why my mom and grandmother always were teary eyed when we prepared to depart after a visit. Now I do. Having children far away, and not being able to be physically in touch is hard, but I like millions of other parents and grandparents will adjust to the distance between us.

I am thankful for the modern conveniences of things like cell phones and this nifty little computer software called Skype. Those tools make it much easier and cheaper to talk, to share pictures, and to actually see one another, at least when using Skype. We will be using Skype a lot.

Ashley didn’t quite make it to her new apartment the day she, her dad and his friend packed up the U-Haul and headed west. They’d gotten a bit of a late start so stopped a bit short of their destination. That night as she and the kids all crowded into one large bed in her motel room, she called me on Skype. Her sister Megan and I got to see them all bunched up together as Isaiah tried to use his mother as a jungle gym. Megan and I sang to the children, then said goodnight. Right before we logged off, Helene’ sat up. All we could see was the top of her head, then she laid down again. Her mother told us that she was kissing our images on the screen. It wasn’t actual kisses, but it sufficed quite nicely. It more then sufficed as it was Helene’s adorable way of showing that she missed us too.

Soon Ashley, Derek and the kids will be nicely settled in. Their apartment is much smaller then their house, and sharing that smaller space will take some getting used to. But they will. People usually do. She’s never lived more then 15 minutes away from me, and we both are feeling the distance right now, but I know she’ll be fine, they all will be fine. She and Derek are so excited about this stage in their lives. We who remain here are excited for them as well.

Today she called me. It was preparing to storm, and Ashley was decidedly nervous. The weather is different in north-central Tennessee then what she was used to in the Western NC mountains or here in the upstate of SC. She didn’t have internet set up yet, and could only get one channel via her antenna enhanced television so was uncertain what lay ahead. I gave her all the updated weather information I could give her and assured her that she’d be fine. A few hours later the weather system passed and she was enjoying a nice afternoon breeze through her open windows.

As for me, I’ll adjust too. I’ve only almost cried a few times, in the past week. I know that I’ll see my daughter, my son in law and my grandchildren again in a few weeks when they come for a wedding. We’ll enjoy the visit and the time spent together. And I am sure I’ll be fighting back those pesky tears when they go back home after wards. That’s ok. I’m a Momma and a Nana. I’m allowed..


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