Gifts for Dad ➔

Dear out-of-town grandparent,

I see you in your house over there. Too far for me to see, but familiar enough for me to envision.

I see you as you live your days in that place so far away. I know your thoughts turn to the faces of your grandchildren more times than you can track, even when their hugs are miles apart.

I know you have an identity. It varies from retiree, to full-time employee, to friend, to mom. I know the distance between us does not make “grandparent” any less than your most preferred identity.

I see you look at the calendar, I see you pick up your phone to text about the next visit. I feel you calculate the miles and hours and minutes.

I know how much you long to be close enough to never have to plan.

I see you rush to get ready when you read an early morning text that the entire family has been blasted with the most awful stomach virus in the entire world. I see you get into your car for the two hour drive that will seem like five in your desire to get here quickly.

I see your Travelocity search history of plane flights and your Google search history of “how to teleport”. I can hear you weigh the price of plane tickets against the number of hours of driving.

I know you’re envious of all those grandparents who never have to plan ahead. Those who can be there in minutes, those who can pick up from school, help with a sick kid, or drop by a baseball game on a simple whim.

I see that as great as it is for those close-by grandparents, your planning to be involved has to be deeper, more complicated, and more intentional, making it even more appreciated.

I know that as hard as it is for us not having you near to help, it is even harder for you to not be near enough to offer it.

I see, I hear, I watch, I feel your connection to my children. A connection that is a testament of the effort you’ve made to be so much a part of their lives, regardless of the miles and hours.

And do not, for one second, think that they don’t see, hear, watch, and feel it too.

Dear out of town grandparent, you are the best.

With love always,
Your family

You may also like:

Then Came the Grandparents

To the Grandparents in Our Life, We Couldn’t Do This Without You

Raising Our Kids Near Their Grandparents is the Greatest Gift We Could Ever Give Them

Leah Porritt

A behavior specialist by profession, Leah finds passion in assisting parents with finding creative ways in which to support children with behavioral, cognitive, physical, and medical challenges. Leah enjoys the humor that comes with parenting and sharing it as a way to encourage mothers to support and encourage each other. Once a Division I athlete, Leah still enjoys running and participating in races with her oldest son . . . even though she is much slower these days.

Thanks For Leading by Example, Mom

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Adult woman and mother smiling, color photo

Dear Mom,  Thinking back on my life as a child, young adult, and now a middle-aged mother myself, I am indebted to you for the many life lessons you have taught me—some directly, mostly leading by precious example.  If I have any bones to pick with you, it could be that you made it all look so easy. So very, very easy! Marriage, motherhood, working outside the home, relationships with in-laws, relationships with co-workers, relationships with church friends, and just relationships in general. I hardly ever saw you cry. The few times I did see you cry stand out to...

Keep Reading

To the Emotional Mom of a High School Senior, Enjoy It

In: Grown Children, Motherhood, Teen
Teen girl in graduation gown, color photo

Dear moms of high school seniors, I see your posts on social media, and I sense your excitement, mixed with anxiety and a bit of sadness (if we are being completely honest). I notice your photos of all the lasts, and I celebrate your child’s accomplishments with you. I see you, and I know you because I have been you, twice now.  I feel the almost palpable sinking feeling that hits in the pit of your stomach when you think about them moving on to the next stage. How is it possible they have grown from such a tiny, helpless...

Keep Reading

A Mom Never Stops Wondering if She Did Enough

In: Grown Children, Motherhood, Teen
Mom and teen son

Two days before my first child left for college, I swallowed tears passing the chocolate milk in the grocery store. I did not need to buy it. Every time I saw someone that summer, they would ask, “Are you ready”? Is he ready?” And the answers were always no and yes. I did not want to let go. I wanted to relive and hold on (one more Cubs game, one more of your favorite dinners) and teach any last-minute things I had forgotten over 18 years (laundry sorting? self-check-in at O’Hare?). But those were the small things. In my heart,...

Keep Reading

Mothers Don’t Teach Us How To Live Life Without Them

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss, Motherhood
Woman in dress with corsage, smiling color photo

When you’re a little girl, you dream of marriage, children, a career, and memories that you will cherish forever—and you want your mother by your side at all times. Our mothers teach us how to live a life we will enjoy, but they never teach us how to live a life without them in it. Our mothers don’t tell us that one day they will not be here to answer the phone when we call or go on spontaneous dinner dates. My mother never told me there will come a day when she will be gone and how bad it...

Keep Reading

There Are No Mother’s Day Cards For Broken Relationships

In: Grown Children

Every May, I wrestle with, what is for me, the most highly fraught holiday of the year—Mother’s Day. As I stand staring at the abundance of cards produced by companies such as Hallmark, American Greetings, and the like, I wonder if any of the card writers ever wrestle with finding just the right wording for a card as much as I wrestle with trying to find the most ideally worded card.  While there are a variety of options to choose from—sentimental to faith-based to funny—I’m on the hunt for something different. A card that captures the true essence of my...

Keep Reading

After My Mom Died, I Carried the Grief of Those Around Me

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss

When the phone rang at 4:30 in the morning, I knew immediately who it was and what she was going to tell me. It was sweet Betty, and she was calling to tell me Mom was gone. My mom had cancer and dementia and had been in hospice care for the past month.  She was still breathing but no longer living. I knew the call was coming. I was expecting it, so I was prepared. Or so I had told myself up until 4:29 a.m. But I was not prepared. I was not all right. I was wrecked. I was...

Keep Reading

A Mother Doesn’t Stop Being a Mother When Her Son Is Grown

In: Grown Children, Motherhood

I saw you in pain today. Not a physical pain, where I could hand you a Band-Aid or two Advil and provide reassurance that the hurt will go away. You tried to mask the agony by hiding in your room. But it was too obvious to miss. When you were a child, I could place you in my lap, hug you tight, and whisper, “Everything will be alright.” I could protect you from scary monsters and the neighborhood bully. Reluctantly, you would tell me your fears—you talked, I listened. Then, I talked, and you listened. We’d recite a line from...

Keep Reading

Something Beautiful Happens When Your Parents Become Grandparents

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Grandpa with his grandson, color photo

Sometimes I watch my parents with my children, and I wonder who are these people and what happened to the people who raised me? Something changed in my parents when they became grandparents, I think. It’s like life offered them a second opportunity at getting it right. A second chance at being good parents to small children. And they jumped at that opportunity like into a refreshing pool on a hot, sticky, humid day, reemerging from its depth brand new, shiny people. Suddenly, things that were egregious for them when my brother and I were children don’t matter anymore. Whenever...

Keep Reading

Moments Become Memories When You’ve Lost a Parent

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss

Last weekend, we celebrated my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday. It was a joyous occasion honoring a remarkable woman. It was also a devastating reminder that my mother is gone, that she will never celebrate her 80th birthday, or any birthday, ever again.        There is no way to prepare for the pain of losing a parent. It’s like being forced into an oddly exclusive club you never knew existed. Only after experiencing it can you understand the grief, the void, the all-consuming feelings of sadness. RELATED: To Those Who Know the Bitter Hurt of Losing a Parent When my mom...

Keep Reading

The Connection Between a Mother and Son Changes But Never Breaks

In: Grown Children, Motherhood

Words, phrases, entire sentences left my son’s mouth at the dining room table as if he were speaking a foreign language: cryptocurrency, NFTs, digital reality, avatars, metaverse real estate. Not unlike the time he used his eight years of Mandarin to order dinner at Tang Pavilion. My husband nodded and responded in the same dialect. The words floated in the air as I sat with a dopey look on my face, like a toddler seeing a soap bubble for the first time. The years of skipping the Business section in favor of The Arts had finally caught up to me....

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections