My daily trip to the mailbox has become a much more anticipated event since I sent my grandchildren their correspondence kits filled with note cards, stickers and trimmings. Receiving the completed “fill-in” letters back from my darlings was a delight. I found out two of my grandchildren’s favorite color is ‘rainbow’ and was especially gratified that two of them chose reading as their favorite pastime. While shopping in a charming stationary shop in Michigan, I found a book of postcards with remarkable images taken from the Hubble Telescope. I mailed one to each of my new pen pals and the responses are trickling in. In May I plan to write longer notes, but in June they’ll get another postcard with a “word scramble” to solve of a specific word chosen especially for each child.
READING IS FUN-DAMENTAL!
With my snail mail program going strong, I’ve been considering other ways to stay connected with my long-distance grandchildren. Reading is one of my favorite pastimes and something I love sharing with them. For younger grandkids, sending them a “recordable” book of grandma reading can be a pretty simple thing to accomplish. I got the idea from Emily, mother of our twins, who received a recorded book from her parents when the babies were young. Emily said that she really loved that book on nights when she was so tired from a day of taking care of two babies, she didn’t know if she could read a bedtime story. How wonderful it was to just turn the pages and let her parents read to Eli and Henry. I have seen the recordable books available at Barnes and Noble, Hallmark, and online.
When our youngest granddaughter, Eleanor, was born in Taiwan, I amped it up a bit. I purchased Hallmark’s recordable book, Under the Same Moonby Suzanne Berry, describing how even when we’re miles apart, we’re looking up at the same moon. I had each page recorded by a different family member. Grandpa, moi, my sons, daughters-in-law and each of Eleanor’s cousins who were able to read recorded a page. Even Sam who couldn’t read yet at that time was recorded welcoming baby Eleanor. When the recording was complete, I packed it up with a few other treasures, including a handmade mobile with pictures of Eleanor’s family members eagerly awaiting her arrival in the US, and sent it off to Taiwan. I think Aunt Ruby would approve.
WILL GRANDPA BY A YOU TUBE SENSATION?
Many long-distance grandparents are familiar with Skype and Facetime to stay connected with their long-distance grandkids. Now that Sam is reading, I relish the evenings we Facetime so I can listen to him read to me. While not the same as cuddling on the couch together, I am grateful it’s an option.
So how to take it to the next level? When we move to our new home, I’m planning an apartment tour. Starting with the elevator entrance, we’ll go up ten floors, through our new front door, and show them the view from our new nest. I’ll show them where grandma sits drinking wine while watching grandpa make dinner. And speaking of grandpa making dinner, I’ll be asking each child to choose the menu for their first dinner with grandma and grandpa at the new digs. I want to make a video of grandpa preparing that tasty treat. Perhaps it will go viral!
GOT A GREAT IDEA?
I’ve found that you can do jigsaw puzzles online with your grandkids. That could be fun if you have a little one who’s under the weather. At the last Camp Grandma, the nightly book group with my grandkids with one of my favorite activities. You could purchase the same book for you and a grandchild and have regular phone calls to discuss the book. And now that my grandkids are getting a little older, I’m rolling around in my brain how we could set up a family newsletter that would be a bit of a round robin, keeping me connected with them while also keeping cousins connected!
My grandkids tell me sharing is caring, so if you have any special ways of keeping in touch with your long-distance grandkids, kids or other family and friends, I’d love it if you shared them!
C’est la vie.