Tuesday, November 19, 2013

No Regrets--But a Question

Last week marked two years since I became a Grandma (aka GaGa). What a  blessing! Friends tell you how much fun it is, but you really don't understand until you experience it firsthand. Carter makes me laugh so much. And, at two, the new things he says and does come fast and furious. And, I'm pretty sure he's the cutest baby in the world!

The downside is Carter doesn't live nearby. He's a 12-hour drive or a ninety minute flight away. (As are his mom and dad--my son and daughter-in-law.) His Auntie Lindsay lives the same distance away but in the opposite direction.

Thank goodness for today's technology! FaceTime (or Skype for non-Apple people) allows me to see and talk with the kids and grandkids (number 2 is due in February) any time I want at no cost. Last year, we even opened Christmas presents with one family member participating via FaceTime. More than likely, we'll all be in different states this year but we'll be "together" to watch everyone open gifts. Text messages fly back and forth almost daily with photos of the latest antics. And don't forget the blessing of digital photos. No need to wait and wonder if the picture you just took looks decent. Just snap as many as you'd like and delete the ones with the blurry faces.

Free long distance via cell phones means there is no need to watch the clock while talking or forgetting something you wanted to say because you were rushing through the call. Just last night, Tommy and I spent an hour and twenty minutes talking with Lindsay about her recent trip to Florida to run a half marathon followed by six days of visiting amusement parks. She had a blast and knocked 30 minutes off her January run time.

I say all that to say this. We moved away from home a week after we married to begin Tommy's military career and have never lived closer than eight hours to home since then. When Lindsay was four and Matt was almost one, we moved to Germany for three years. This was in 1985 when not everyone had computers, there was no email, international phone calls were super expensive, and coming home was not an option. Our life has been blessed and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Even though it was hard to be away from home for birthday parties or holidays or just stopping by for dinner, I have no regrets about moving away. There have been many other blessings--friends all over the country, opportunities to see the world, and an opening of minds to other cultures to name a few.

But, now the roles are reversed. My kids are the ones who have moved away. And, it gives me a new perspective on how my mother felt when my kids were little and we lived so far away. She missed those first words and steps, seeing the excitement when a grandchild opened a present, the opportunity for us to chat, etc. And, one question haunts me. Did I do enough to keep her (and my dad and siblings) connected with our family? There's nothing I can do to change anything about it now and won't beat myself up over it. But my guess is probably not.