This month Greyson and I headed to Mississippi for Spring Break! (Daddy had to stay behind for work.) While some were posting pictures in front of Magic Kingdom, we were cruising around on my in-laws ATV and my Dad’s tractor. You can read all about our Spring Break trip here.
Since Greyson is not in school or involved in extra-curricular(s) yet, we like to head to the Pine Belt and cash in on some good grandparent time when we can! I admit, it’s hard raising a child 9 hours away from any family. I realize this is mild compared to others and I’m SO fortunate that we can hop on a one hour flight and be in my hometown. (That airport has one gate by the way…the same people that check you in load the luggage and wave the cones. And probably even fix the plane.)
I’m ashamed to say that sometimes I even find myself a bit jealous of people who have family that live close! It would be SO NICE to have our parents here…. on the tough days, the crazy busy days, or especially the days where I’m sick and just need to lay in bed! And ya know y’all? Sometimes you just NEED YOUR MAMA. Nevertheless, God has placed us here in the Lone Star State (for lots of reasons I believe). And even though it would be optimal to live closer, (where our parents would happily help at the drop of a hat) I will say that there are some positive things about the grands living far away. I hope this sheds a little light if there are many miles between you and your family.
I asked both our families about some things they actually liked about living far from their little grandson cherub, and here’s what they said:
1 1) Time is intentional/they feel more focused: This was the number one answer for both. Since it isn’t routine that we see each other, and trips are usually so planned out, they say that ALL their attention can be focused on Greyson and just enjoying him. There’s no “wasted time” because they know they can get back to their ordinary schedule/tasks/to-do lists after we are gone. Each activity and just watching him do his thing is truly treasured time to them. They can solely focus on making memories.
2) They love traveling to Texas and getting to see/do something new! Everybody loves a change of scenery, and DFW definitely does not disappoint. Not only do they get to see Greyson in his own “stomping grounds”, but there’s just something for everyone here. They’ve fallen in love with McKinney, the Stockyards, the Arboretum, the SHOPPING, and of course the FOOD. I love it because it also makes our home feel like their home too.
3 3) They get to just be FUN. Since our visits are limited time frames, it’s truly all about them just having fun with Greyson. And honestly, I just kinda let them do what they want. (They still go by a general schedule, because Greyson has proved even to them that he does best on it.) Other than that, they go for it. Pudding for lunch, ice cream for dinner. Running around in the rain. Going shirtless. I mean, isn’t that part of the fun of being a grandparent? Honestly, watching them I think has made me even loosen up a bit. ; )
And here are some positives that I personally glean from the distance:
1) It’s a SUPER special treat and adventure each time we get to see them. Now, I’m not saying that it’s NOT special to see the grands if you live close. In fact, I lived super close to both sets of mine and saw them multiple times a week, and it was always special. BUT, there is something super fun about flying on an airplane to see them, and see them waiting at the end of the terminal, or standing out in the yard watching for them to pull up after waiting several hours! The older Greyson gets, the more excited he is to see CC & Pop or Nona & Papa! He is just jittery with excitement; it’s like he knows a BIG adventure is in store! (Definitely a BIG SPOILING!)
2) I get some guilt-free time “off”: I am definitely a benefactor of our visits, because both sets of our parents are ready to be 100% hands on and in charge. Of course they love me too, but let’s face it; the main attraction is the little mister. So most of the time when they arrive (or we go there), they pretty much tell me to GO do what I need or WANT to do! I do the slow backwards walk out the door…..and then squeal out on 2 tires. ; ) And honestly, I think it’s really good to leave them alone with G and let bond on their own (without feeling like the rules mama is hovering over them.)
3) It’s grown my confidence. Honestly, I didn’t think I could raise a child far away from my family. When the two weeks were over that my mom/mother-in-law stayed after Greyson was born, I CRIED A RIVER of tears. I was terrified. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, and even though my husband is an amazing support, he had a job to go to! But with each small success (and some amazing friends that were a great support system), I slowly, I realized I COULD do it. And now it’s just the life we live, and we don’t know any different!
And finally, here are a few tips if you are far away from the family:
1) Talk up the next visit! You can start early with this to get your kids excited about seeing the grands! Make a countdown or signs, cards, etc, for when you pick them up at the airport! How fun!
2) If you know you’ll be doing a specific activity when you visit the grands (zoo/aquarium,etc.) and you KNOW your kid will want to buy something, help them “raise money” for their trip. This can be a learning experience for them!
3) Always tentatively plan the next trip before you depart from each other! This is the only thing that comforts my mother-in-law with goodbyes! If she knows she’ll be seeing Greyson in say, 2 months, the time seems to be more tangible.
I I hope this helped some of you see the silver lining if you are too far from family!