We watch her grow from a distance.
Stealing photos from facebook, saving them to the computer and pretending they’re mine—long distance grandparenting leaves a lot to be desired.
She reminds me so much of her daddy when he was small—her red hair long enough now to be caught up in a waterspout ponytail on top. Ever smiling and charming me with her mother’s beautiful eyes. We’re crazy about her.
We saw her crawl at Christmas. She learned to walk after we went home. By the time we see her this Thanksgiving, she'll have a little sister. I've never seen time fly faster. Time makes Facebook my best friend.
Sometimes we skype, so I can frighten and fascinate her with my monitor-sized face and unfamiliar voice. Still, I’m so grateful to live in an age where watching her imitate my waves and hand claps is possible through the miracle of computer phone calls.
Why is Kentucky so far away?
These aren’t the days of the Waltons. I used to love that show when I was a teenager. They made the Great Depression look like fun. Grandma and Grandpa Walton lived in the attic where they belonged—close enough to babysit, old enough to ignore. Still, they had the chance to know their grandkids, befriend them, and share secrets kept from their common enemy, the parents.
Oh. Maybe that’s why Kentucky is so far away.
We’re not those kind of grandparents, though. We have nearly three grandkids who live seven miles from us, and we get to be part of their lives a lot. That’s one reason I know what I’m missing by living eighteen hundred miles from our little redhead.
So I buy clothes and toys and spend more money on postage than it cost for the gifts. I could just mail a check, but what’s the fun in that? This way, when the tacky little dress I picked out arrives in the mail, at least they know it’s from me.
Someday we’ll have more freedom to travel, when retirement cuts our tether and we buy that fifth wheel we’re always talking about. We’ll park it on their lawn, steal their electricity, and sleep outside in our mobile bedroom. That way they'll still have their space while we make extended visits to play with the grandbabies.
Hey. Fish and company begin to smell after three days, you know. And I don’t want them to suddenly take a job in Taiwan or something.
You can’t drive a fifth wheel to get there.