The babies who are quickly becoming not-babies-anymore are on their way to Grandma's house as Grandma sits here typing this RIGHTNOW. I cannot wait to see them and hug them and laugh at/with them and grow exasperated by them and play games with them and make things with them and visit the museum with them and eat turkey with them and all of that stuff and more!
I have to cram weeks worth of fun into our visits, you see, to make up for the days in between, when texted photographs and the occasional Skype visit must suffice. It's the lot in life of the faraway grandparents who can't offer to babysit at the drop of a hat or have them over for dinner on a night when there's way too much to eat or attend every pre-school play/church program/soccer match/dance recital because of distance vs. practicality.
I miss them every day.
My husband likes to tell me that we are the "special grandparents." He explains that this is so because every time we see them, it is an event or a production involving packing, travel, a holiday or other special moment full of excitement. He likes to tell me this to make me feel better, because he's kind and he loves me, but still.
When our own kids were small, we were in nearly the same situation on the grandparent front. His mother lived in town, nearby. She babysat, baked cookies, took them shoe shopping, attended every childhood rite of passage possible, including pre-school "graduation" ceremonies, and was always just a phone call away. My own parents lived three hours down the road in Kentucky. We saw them fairly often, but still. It wasn't the same. They missed out on a lot, and so did my kids.
The saving grace I take away is that my kids and my parents were/are very close. And it was/is true to a degree...going to Grandma Tucky's house was special. Having them come stay with us was special. Going on week long vacations together were always billed the "Big Trips." Any time or place we were together was a celebration, outside the norm, filled with joyful excitement, if not entirely free of being fraught with expectation.
I take heart in knowing distance didn't diminish the grandparent effect then, and I'm doing my best to make sure it won't now, either.
So, anyway. It is what it is, things are what they are, and I refuse to "settle" for the time we get to spend together.
Instead, I choose to relish it - with glee and gusto! - and do what I can to make memories, for them, for us, for all concerned. Memories that will live on in their hearts and minds, to be relived with fondness with their own children and grandchildren when the time comes.
Isn't that a spectacular thought? That the moments we are most present in this very week, as we gather together, might be the ones that help us live on in the hearts and minds of generations to come?
What an awful lot that is to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.
Forever blessed, forever thankful, from our home to yours.
*Title quote borrowed from Walt Whitman, who goes on to say a whole lot more about 'The Body Electric,'
but whose words I'm using here today as stand-alone thought. Because I can.