We live 2.5 hours from my in-laws and roughly 4 hours, give or take, from my parents. This amount of distance requires us to be intentional in how we connect. It’s unlikely they’ll ever be able to show up on a Wednesday afternoon for elementary school lunch nor will they be in the audience for a dance recital on a Thursday night. Weekends and holidays are what we cling to, but while those are few and far between we have to make do with what we’ve got. So here are my top 4 ways to stay connected to non-local grandparents that keep us going!
P consistently grabs my phone and says, “Gammy!” I love hearing her little voice call out my moms name and I love the smile that graces her face when my mom answers. It’s so fun to see the connection the two of them have made. Though it isn’t quite the same as a physical visit, it is the next best thing and it definitely has helped form a bond between P and many of our long distance family members. Create a schedule, if need be, to make sure you are able to be consistent with phone calls and FaceTime. This will prevent the anticipation of a fun time without someone picking up on the other end of the line!
- Snail Mail
Nothing beats opening the mailbox and finding something besides a sales ad! Letters from loved ones are a joy for me and I am doing my best to make sure P feels the same excitement. We are big about sending an actual piece of mail for every “special” event – Mother’s Day, birthdays, Christmas, etc. We also send hand written thank you cards along with some just because cards scattered in between. I am a frequent flyer at January Letterpress; this is my favorite local spot to purchase unique, special cards. I am certain they put a smile on the face of those receiving them and they bring a smile to ours while we create them, too!
- Family Album
Very little of my life is on social media; I began limiting my exposure on the web a few years back. Since having P, I have shared even less than previously. This is challenging considering the majority of our family is a decent distance and they rely on photos/internet to grasp an idea of what is happening in our world. The Family Album app has been a lifesaver and something I focus on heavily to share our private moments with those we love the most. The app is super user friendly and there is a free version that can’t be beat. It allows me to share P, with a select few, without worrying about the vulnerabilities of the web. There are a few programs out there like this that I would urge you to look into, if interested.
- In Person Visits
Waco has become quite the destination spot, in case you hadn’t noticed! And the amount of new, local attractions seems to be appealing not just to tourists, but also friends and family. In previous years, visits would be spent mostly within the confines of our home. Now, we are eagerly anticipating our niece and nephews to come visit so we can make a day trip to Camp Fimfo, Main Event, and more! The options for a family friendly meal have expanded, too; places like Union Hall are incredibly accommodating for large groups and varying taste buds. While not feasible for everyone, we have created a plan to see my mom once a month. I encourage you to sit down and figure out what works well for your family. Try once per quarter – you going to family 2x and having them come to Waco 2x. Or try meeting in a separate location that is a halfway point if the distance is extra far apart or even plan to meet in another spot for a family vacation! Making the trek to visit often isn’t easy but it’s worth it. And the love + connection that grows from even spending a few shorts days together is worth the woes that come from a long travel day.
Praying that you are able to find a way to feel close to those that are physically far but still close in heart and mind! Take the time to figure it out – I can be sure you won’t be disappointed.
Love y’all BIG –