Thursday, August 25, 2016

Grandma and Grandpa Come for a Visit

One of the frustrating things about where we live right now is that we are far away from our kids and grandkids. Between the two of us, we have five kids, Rob's daughter and son, and my two daughters and son. All five of them are adults now, and they all live in various parts of British Columbia. 

We are also fortunate to have four grandchildren, two little boys from my eldest daughter and husband, and a little boy and girl from Rob's daughter and her husband. The grandchildren are all close in age, ranging from 15 months to 4 years old. 

From where we live, it is a 2 to 3 day trip by car to visit any of them. Flying is expensive, and usually requires 2 or 3 connections. We have been further hindered by my crazy work schedule. We have managed to visit each set of grandchildren a few times each year, but often the visits have been quite short. We feel that we never have enough time with them. 

So one of the important goals of our epic camper trip was to visit the kids, grandkids, and other family and friends. We spent a few days in Prince George after the ArtsWells Festival, and both families of grandchildren were there, and we all got together for dinner. The kids had a wonderful time playing. Then following our trip to Bella Coola, we made our way back to Prince George, and spent a week there with Rob's daughter and her family. In fact, as their daycare was closed for summer break, we looked after the two children while their parents were at work that week. It was a wonderful chance to spend some time with the kids and really get to know them. 

A Ride on the Miniature Railway

It was also a chance to do some grandparent-type things with the kids. Every day we went on an excursion. We went to the water park, to various playgrounds, and for a ride on the miniature railway. We had ice cream and stories and cuddles. On the weekend, we went with the kids and their parents to the fair, and took a million pictures of our grandson going on the rides, fishing for prizes, and racing through the obstacle course/climbing apparatus over and over again. 

Eating Chocolate Ice Cream

We felt so lucky to have had this time with the grandkids and also a good visit with Rob's daughter and our son in law. We were sad to leave. We are now heading further west to visit my Mom and some other family members. My daughter is going to fly in with her two kids, so soon we will have another visit with our other set of grandchildren. We are so happy to be grandparents!

This week in Prince George has given me some insight into what the grandparenting role might be like if we lived close-by. It also has given me a little kick in the pants in the direction of retiring. After all, kids grow up fast. 

One dilemma is where to relocate to. Our four oldest grown kids each live in a different city, and the youngest is still moving around, having decided to go back to school this fall. We can't live in four places at once. If we decide to settle near one set of grandchildren or the other, there is no guarantee that they will stay in that community, as both couples have busy careers that could take them elsewhere. So we will need to choose a place that we will be happy in over the long term, whatever our kids do. 

But one thing for sure is that once I have retired, I will have lots more time. We can travel to visit the grandkids more often and stay longer. If we settle just about anywhere in BC, we will be closer to all the kids, grandkids, and other family and friends. 


  1. I vote for spending more time with young grandchildren!! They DO grow up fast, and there is just no substitute for unhurried time spent with a young child. And often grandparents are the only people in the grandchildren's lives who have the peace of mind and focus to be totally with them. No matter how wonderful their parents are, they are in a place in their lives where they're pulled many directions. Grandparents aren't so splintered.

    Although I didn't realize it at the time, both of my grandmothers had an enormous impact on me. I recognize that more and more as I age. (My grandfathers each died when I was an infant, so unfortunately I grew up without grandpas.) I only have 2 grandchildren, and they're ages 15 and 10 by now. I am fortunate they only live 45 minutes from us, and since their dad is a tenured professor, they're unlikely to relocate until they're on their own. When we talk about living somewhere else, which is fine with me, I usually say I would like to stay put until the grandkids are a little older; that's how important they are. So I hear ya with your dilemma about where to live when you have grandchildren in more than one location.

    You are fortunate to have 4 little ones assigned to you - and maybe more to come? Something to revel in, for sure.

  2. Kathleen, how nice to be living just 45 minutes away from your grandchildren!

    When my children were young, we lived a half-day's drive from my hometown. Every summer holiday and Christmas holiday, and on many long weekends, I made the drive to go visit my parents. So my kids grew up being very close to their grandparents. My parents were also a tremendous support to me as a single parent, something I was grateful for.

    Our recent visit and chance to help look after our two young grandchildren reminded me of those incredibly busy years when my kids were young, and how nice it is to have family nearby. Grandparents certainly can play a special role.

  3. Great post and photos, Jude! We had a similar dilemma to you and finally settled on Oceanside, BC (where neither Richard or I had lived before). That (currently) makes us two hours away from all grandchildren which helps us easily be able to attend most family events. Our first grandson has his First Birthday Bash tomorrow -- we can't wait to be part of it.
    PS - My next post, which is ready and waiting to publish on Monday, is about grandchildren. Once again, great minds think alike!

  4. Donna, your solution sounds like an excellent one. As one set of grandchildren is in Nanaimo, we are really thinking of settling on the Island, a place that we both really like. That would also put us close to my other daughter and many friends in the Vancouver area. As long as we are near enough to a place with an airport, we can travel to visit everyone else. On the other hand, we both lived for many years in northern BC and the pull to come back is strong. Maybe a home on the Island and a recreational property in the north?? If and when I retire of course...