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FROM "NONNA'S HEART" - Long Distance Grandma

 Susan lives in beautiful Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  She dotes on her five grand kids...some close.  Some far away.  And that's what this story is about.

I find myself daydreaming about my infant twin grandsons I have yet to bond with.  They are 500 miles away in Raleigh, North Carolina while I reside in Doylestown, Pa.

I was…I am spoiled that my first two grand daughters live only a half hour away by car and I am happy to babysit for Faith, 4 and Jordan, 2 every Tuesday.  I was able to rock them, feed them, spoil them since the day they were born.  I did not have that luxury with the boys, Braylon and Logan.

Our younger son, Philip, may have waited until he was 31 to marry, but did everything after that at warp speed!  His wife Lynn and her daughter Kiara, age 8 made Philip an instant “bonus dad”.  (We got another granddaughter and I never once had to change a diaper!)  They married in May, made the decision to move to North Carolina in June.  Philip landed a job in Cary, NC in July.  They moved in August, signed to build a new home in September and found out they were pregnant with fraternal twins in October…Whew!!!

The boys were born on March 30, 2009.  Braylon was born first by 2 minutes and then came Logan screaming, kicking and almost 2 pounds lighter than his brother.  Thankfully both boys and mommy were fine and I flew down to be with them all several days later.  When they moved to NC, twins were never a part of the plan…..  

In the months following there were pilgrimages to NC made by members of both families.  The help was so appreciated, but not just by the proud parents.  Kiara, the big sister got to show off her brothers and get a little r & r time with her mom and “dad” as well.

The twins were Philip’s first intro into the world of babies while Lynn was an experienced mom. Lynn however would be the first to tell you that nothing prepared her for twins!  Twins, with no family support network to help.  One baby is tough, two at the same time --- crazy.  And with all the attention on the babies, what happens to Kiara?  She used to be an “only child”.   When anyone of us would go down to see the babies, it was also to give everyone a break.  One night, Philip and Lynn get to go out alone, one night, Kiara gets to go out with mom and “dad” and one afternoon Kiara gets out of the house for some “girl” time.  And of course, “Nonna” take the night shift so the parents can finally get some shut-eye.  You try to cover all the bases!  I must say I did get pretty good at feeding both babies at the same time!  You learn to improvise…

We have been fortunate enough to travel and see the “Philip family” quite often.  Sometimes by car and sometimes we have flown.  I know however that any recognition the boys may have formed over a three day visit evaporates before the next time I am able to hold them.  Having the luxury of watching Faith and Jordan grow and change, I know how much I am missing.  And although thru Facebook, I am able to see videos and still shots, it obviously is not the same.   Skype works so that I can see them, but at ten months of age, the boys don’t sit still for a minute to watch me!

I am excited to be flying to Raleigh next week with my 4 year old granddaughter, Faith.  It will be her first time flying and she is so excited to see her cousins again.   At twice Faith’s age, Kiara is a much bigger “draw” for Faith than the babies!  

Faith also saw everyone at Christmas.  Our son Paul and his wife Denise loaded up the girls and family dog to surprise us for Christmas!  They drove 11 and ½ hours to Philip and Lynn’s house on December 23rd in horrendous holiday traffic.  When I told Faith I was taking her on an airplane to NC, her first sentence was, “and flying is faster than driving, right?”

I thought about taking Jordan for about 20 seconds, regained my sanity and thought again.  Jordan is a wonderful little munchkin, but at age 2 she would be a handful while trying to get to know the boys again.  That will come later.  Besides, she could use a little “me” time with her mom and dad.  Jordan is certainly coming into her own, but big sister Faith still has the ability to suck the attention out of a room with one dimpled smile!

Since seeing the boys in December they are both walking and can say “ma-ma” and “da-da”.  Logan who was the “runt” has all but caught up to his big brother in size, but Logan could eat a steak with the 7 teeth he has cut compared to Braylon’s 2 teeth.  As I said, they change so much in such a short time.  

So once again, I will be able to hold the twins-(well barely while they squiggle)- feed them, change them and play with them.  I will finally get to see them walk and utter those beginning sounds.  Who knows?  I may be able to get them to say “Nonna” !

And after our three days together, I will get back on the plane and start daydreaming about our next encounter!


I hope you'll share your grand parenting experiences with us.


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User Comments:
Paul DeLaurentis said:
I think she's cute.
Linda said:
Great column, Susan! Two of my grandchildren lived in Costa Rica with their family for 3 1/2 years. My daughter created a website and posted their family photo journal, so that we could enjoy their adventures together. She always had her camera ready for recording those candid shots as they adjusted to living in a different culture and a spanish speaking country. Through that wonderful Journal, I was able to laugh at the comical sights and situations they encountered, as well as symphathize with their frustrating moments. This was their daily life and I was enjoying the learning experience right along with them! Those photos were so vivid and beautiful that I would anticipate my visits to see them and dream about the next visit after I left them. Granted those grandchildren were 6 1/2 and 3 years old when they left the USA, so I had a few years to form a relationship with them before the long separation. My heart goes out to all those other long distance grandmas. I've been there.
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