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Am I over reacting to how important being close to grandparents is?

(15 Posts)
TracyK Fri 29-Jul-05 08:38:04

We live 6 hours away (on a good day) from gp's and family.
ds is 18 mo and he doesn't rememeber gp's from one visit to the next. It makes me sad.
Does it get better as ds gets older and memory gets better?
dh job is dodgy at mo and I'm trying to persuade him to move closer to home. He's adamant that he wouldn't get as 'good' a job back home either money or satisfaction wise.
I'm in a huff - am I being unreasonable? or should the input of friends and close family be more important than job satisfaction for dh?

happymerryberries Fri 29-Jul-05 08:41:35

We live the same distance from my MIL and 4 houts from my mother. They kids are now 5 and 8 and cope with all of this very well indeed. They talk about MIL a lot, talk to her on the phone, look forward to post cards when she is off on hoilday etc. She also comes to visit and looks after the kids for us, which is a big boost to their relationship. I'm going to visit her last in the summer.

They don't have a relationship with my mother as she has advanced dementia....and that is a different issue.

I think you will find it gets easier as the kids get older.

wordsmith Fri 29-Jul-05 09:06:31

Yes I think it will get better as they get older. I don't have this problem as my parents live quite close to us - only about 30 mins away. However they are both quiite elderly. DH's mum died 2 years ago when DS1 was just 3 and I was pg with DS2. She loved being with her grandchild and it saddens me that they won't have her when they grow older. Now my Dad is dying from lung cancer and I am conscious that they all (the boys and my dad) need to spend time together as they get such a lot from each other's company.

Before I had kids I was all for moving away and living somewhere else, by the sea or something, but now I wouldn't like to - my kids benefit so much from their grandparents and as they're my mum & dad's only grandchildren I feel it's even more important for them.

However if the grandparents are relatively young and can make the journey frequently enough, and it's the way it's always been (ie DS doesn't know any different) I wouldn't think it would matter too much in the short term. From my point of view I am just conscious that my parents probably won't be there when my boys get to their teens.

compo Fri 29-Jul-05 09:10:59

I live three hours away from my parents, siblings and therefore neices and nephews. We also live 6 hours away from dh's family. It is hard but we make the effort to vivist a lot and our parents visit too. As ds gets older it will become easier because we can talk about them and show photos and he'll understand what we're saying! I talk to my two and a half neice on the phone and she knows what my ds is called now which is so sweet!

girrafey Fri 29-Jul-05 09:13:25

i lived hours away from my grandparents. ( up in the depth of scotland) when i was younger i apprently didnt remember them from one year to another. when i was around 2- 3 i did.

i also talked to them once a week on the phone etc.

when i could write on my own i started writing to them, letters that i made up on my own, no help from parents and they replied with letters just to me. no pass this on to your parents or a little note for me tucked in a letter for mum and dad, and i adored that. ( also is good for reading and writing etc)

some of my earliest memories is looking forward to them coming down for xmas or birthdays etc or staying there on my own when i was 8 or 9 or so.

i say it is important but distance doesnt have to be a problem. sadly i have 1 nan left and she is alone up in scotland, and i am trying to get the councils to talk and get her moved down here so i can see her eery day or so.
hate the thought that at 87 she is living alone.

i took my dd at 4 weeks to see her and when i had my rebellious stage at 18 it was her that i ran too.

sorry if that ws a waffle, just wanted you to not feel so bad and see the good in it. hth x

morningpaper Fri 29-Jul-05 09:44:17

How often do you see them?

We have grandparents in Spain but dd (2.5) talks about them as much as the closer grandparents.

Here are some of my top tips:

- Have pictures of them in DS's room - I've got a plastic-pocket photo holder with photos of all the family members. She loves looking at this and talking about them.
- Get ds to draw them pictures regularly and make a big deal about putting them in envelopes and posting them together.
- Get them to send him postcards regularly.
- When you 'draw' pictures together, include the grandparents that you don't often see.
- Whenever they phone, make sure that he gets to listen to them (or gabble back at them) for a minute or so.
- Get him to make them special paintings and buy presents for them with you on special occasions e.g. their birthdays.
- If you send them any parcels, get him to decorate the parcel with stickers/scribbles.
- If they are on email, send them pictures of him and ask them to send him emails and photos of themselves as well.
- Make up a 'scrapbook' or album with photos of significant events or trips out, or visits to you. You can 'read' this and talk about the pictures.

The above will also help to keep HIM in their minds, as well as the other way around! He might be a little too young to appreciate doing some of those ideas at the moment but you can always do them anyway.

TracyK Fri 29-Jul-05 09:50:41

Good ideas morningpaper - I shall start to implement these things as he's getting more aware.
I just don't know how hard I should push dh to move. We could well afford to move back home and have money in the bank. But dh's job pays him well for basically playing golf and lunching. I just think its a bit selfish of him to deny us all of a family life back home for this - although they pay well and have a good pension scheme etc.
Am I the selfish one?

PeachyClair Fri 29-Jul-05 10:18:40

Know how you feel! GP marriage ended in January, Grandad now engaged to a slightly strange ldy and has seen kids only once since then, though does seem sad about it- I think it is a combination of being broke (having to buy new house) and her not wanting us in his life. Spoke to him this week after a few months, he apologised for forgetting my birthday but I pointed out it was DS3's the next day (made even worse as DS3 named after him) and he promised to send a gift, notaarived yet . I am sure DS3 won't remember him, ds1 has asked if he is dead, and now doesnt draw him in family pictures.

His vanishing, perhaps coincidentally, coincided with DS1 getting a DX of Aspergers, and my DH being seriously ill with depression.

Grandma we see a little more often, but every now and again she has funnies, the latest was last week when she decided we supported my FIl more than her (?? As I have said, seen him ONCE) and binneed DS3's birthday cake (she is a confectioner) and refused to come visit, apparently she is a poor relation and we should go visit her- they are rolling in it (she has a son living at home in his 30's) and I am a student, and my dh on a low income.

My parents though are great- like us theya re totally broke, but they understand this and so although it can be hard to see them (they dont drive, my dh works shifts & the petrol costs) they are always in contact.

The conclusion I have come to is that the only thing that counts is security for your little family unit, the rest is a bonus but not essential. Job satisfaction for DH probably is a fundamental part of his self esteem (it was for me when I worked, I'd love that part of it again).

it may also feel to him that by going back home there is a sense of taking a step backwards which he doesn't want to do?

QueenOfQuotes Fri 29-Jul-05 10:23:34

"Does it get better as ds gets older and memory gets better? "

Yes it does. DS1 (nearly 5) has seen his Great Grandad 4 times since he was born, 2 time in the last year (my Granmother's funeral and then a visit a couple of months ago). He often talks about him, and what he looks like, what he said etc etc.

My parents now live a good 4hr drive away from us, and we've seen them a handful of times since they moved 2 years ago - again DS1 remembers lots about them, things he did with them (when he was 2 1/2!!) and looks forward to their (rare) visits.

My brother (his Uncle) lives even further away, about 6-7hrs drive and we've only seen him a handful of times since DS1 was born - but again he remembers lots about him, and gets excited when he hears he's visiting.

Infact the other day he "threw" all 3 of them into a conversation together - he saw someone wearing glasses and said "look he's wearing glasses just like Uncle John, Greatgrandad and Granny AND Grandad"........

QueenOfQuotes Fri 29-Jul-05 10:24:53

Oh forget to mention DH's side of the family

99.99% of them (his Dad included) live a 12hr flight, and 6hr drive away.

Chuffed Fri 29-Jul-05 10:30:19

Tracy we live miles away from our family as you know but have some family portraits about 5x7 in a frame and everynight after her bath dd and one of us says goodnight to them all one by one. I think in a way she does remember them from her last trip to see them at 10mths but we are hoping that when we go back things will be really nice and clear for her.
I grew up an hour's flight from my mothers grandparents and have always been really close to them. I think as your ds gets a little older he will start to remember and if you incorporate the extended family into your lives in some capacity it will be fine.

Harrizeb Fri 29-Jul-05 10:39:51

Hi, we have all my family and a few friends that all live driving distance away and we don't see very regularly. I bought from Asda magnetic photograph pockets and then hacked up some pictures and did mini collections of families in the pockets. They are stuck on the fridge, DS is 2 and he recognises everyone and knows their names and when they visit I don't have the hang onto my leg for 10 minutes while he gets used to them being there and who they are anymore.

Good luck

H x

bobbybob Fri 29-Jul-05 10:41:21

Ds sees one set of grandparents once a week for a couple of hours, give or take.

He sees the other set 3 times a year (but for 3 weeks each time and they live with us then).

He started to remember them both at the same time (about 20 months), talks about them equally now at 2.5.

He gets just as excited about each set. Would I move back to the UK to be nearer my parents - no. I think it will get easier as your ds gets older, and he can have phone conversations etc.

TracyK Fri 29-Jul-05 10:49:49

Thanks girls - I think maybe I have been a bit over reacting.
Peachy v. true - dh does think it will be a step backwards if we go back home.
I have been selfish as I'd dearly love to move back home - have a few friends here - but not 'good' friends like I have back home. (we've been away for 5 years - so given it a good shot).

PeachyClair Sun 31-Jul-05 12:54:21


I was thinking about this and I realised that I am on the other side, as I have 'dragged' my Dh and kids away so I can study, DH is really missing his social circle right now, and although kids love the school here, they do miss their old friends too.

Really I just wanted to say that you're not being selfish at all; nor is DH (or I) in choosing not to return. You just have differing priorities and you need to find a balance, that's all. Sometimes I think that is they key to marriage: finding the middle road when these things come up. But having your own life and plans doesn't make you selfish, just human!

And I happen to think it would be a huge step backwards if we ever go back, even if I graduiate first, beause I see so many opportunities here for kids. But goodness do I miss my friends and family!

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