November 25, 2007

Long-distance Zeides

Ben and Yael have long-distance grandparents. This is nothing new in my family - my sisters and I had a long-distance grandma until we each turned 18 (and them made up for these "lost years" by going to live with her for college). And though I'm almost convinced we came out of this experience unscathed (yet additional proof that kids get used to anything), I'm not so sure about the parents: No babysitting. No potential sleepovers. No sleep.

But the real losers in the equation are the grandparents.
They missed the kindergarten Chanuka parties. They missed the visits to the doctor. They missed the ballerina chocolate birthday cakes, the love triangles in a four-year-old's world, and the new haircuts.

They missed Ben's face when we brought home the keyboard, the bike, even the little siter. They missed Yael's first words in Hebrew and Spanish, and now miss the bilingual conversations peppered by an ocassional English word (yes-yes, blue, noooou, piiiink).

Skype helps. Email and Shutterfly do too. VoIP is a blessing. But still, to have some sort of real-time interaction with them, these long-distance grandparents can't really be spontaneous. They must coordinate between time zones (8 or 9 hours behind Modiin standard time) and weekdays (Sundays are a workday in Israel), dodge key obstacles (no response during Mickey's Playhouse or Little Einsteins), and pray that the little ones will in the mood & willing to talk.

So kol ha kavod to the long disance-grandparents. My next challenge, besides finding more backup babysitters and surrogate uncles, will be preventing Ben and Yael from one day doing the same to grandmother me.

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