Grandparenting from a distance

For Selma Wasserman, living 650 kilometres away from her two grandsons wasn’t going to stop her from being a presence in their lives. Her relationship with her own grandmother had helped her understand the power and importance of this special bond.

“It was from my grandmother that I learned the most important things about myself – that I was loved and therefore lovable, that I was appreciated even though I had flaws, that I was special. If not for her, my life would have had a vacancy as large and as bitter as the Dead Sea,” explains Wasserman in her newly revised edition of The Long Distance Grandmother: How to Stay Close to Distant Grandchildren (Hartley & Marks Publishers Inc, 2001).

“While in our growing-up days, most of us could count on our grandparents living just down the block, or at least in the same town or city, today it is more often the case that grandparents live at different ends of the continent, if not in different countries,” says Wasserman

The realities of a long distance relationship can make grandparents feel awkward and disconnected.  How, for example, can you connect with a chilwho is under 4 or 5 when they can’t see you?  And how to deal with questions around guilt, or feeling demanding or interfering – or unappreciated.  Wasserman provides thoughts and inspiration.

From stressing the importance of regular telephone calls (even to children who aren’t old enough to talk) to examples of how to write stories for your grandchild, the book is full of suggestions for building and nurturing this relationship long distance. And, of course, there is a chapter devoted to connecting online, which covers using the Internet, web cams and chat rooms to keep in touch.