Long Distance Grandparenting During Covid

by Marcia Joy Parant

I know it seems cliché, but having grandchildren enter my life has allowed me to experience the greatest joy and contentment that I have ever known. 

Making plans to see them and taking them to activities once reserved for my own children awakens a delicious, precious part of my life. To be able to experience these things again with a new lens of maturity and lower expectations, has allowed me to really reflect on the younger me I used to be.

Being a grandparent strips away so much of the intensity of being a parent. It is simply lovely.

Then, two of my grandchildren made a temporary move away from where we presently live. How would I adjust?  How would I be able to stay close to them? How fast can they come back?

We managed to stay close by making frequent trips across the country to visit with them. This helped greatly. We would get home and immediately start scanning the travel websites for good deals as to when we could return.

And we still had two grandchildren here to embrace. Life was good.

Then COVID hit home. 

We all said goodbye after celebrating a wonderful Christmas holiday together, planning to be back in two months. It has now been 10 months and no known end in sight. If I had known that day it would be this long, I don’t think I would have survived. The baby was 4 months old when we left. We have missed his entire babyhood. 

Now we spend our time trying to stay close remotely. With a 3-hour time difference, much of it is done in our pajamas and sometimes when we are at our most tired. I don’t care. I will fight through any fatigue to connect. 

 Thank you so much for facetime. It has changed our life. Without it we would be even more deprived. We work hard to stay connected. We have been gifted a picture frame that displays our photos throughout the day. We often find ourselves just frozen there watching our beautiful memories go by. We have amassed our own children’s library to read books remotely. We have learned how to play games remotely as well as puzzles. We walk around our house showing objects that might be of interest while narrating a running commentary.  We have learned how to sit back and enjoy the dance moves and jokes from afar. We have even learned how to take Facebook photos.  We write notes and cards. We draw pictures. We send clothing, toys, shoes. We wait patiently for them to be opened while we are watching so we can grab some of the joy and hold it close.

Unfortunately for now, this has to be enough. Certainly not as we wish, but blessings that we all stay healthy while we wait for a reunion. 

And lastly, when we just don’t see an end in sight, we recharge with wine and yell, Alexa play:


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