Attitude Matters

On the West Coast of Canada, by mid-April, the trees are already laden with beautiful blossoms.

And, every street boasts a canopy of green…

A leafy green canopy shaded every residential street in the area

Every garden already offered a plethora of blossoms, common and exotic, to titillate the senses making every breath a sensuous experience.

Arriving in Vancouver after a 12-hour trek from the still-chilly Maritimes, finding Spring in full swing was a delight. Weary from the trip itself, I was refreshed by the warmth, colours and scents.

Normally, when I make my annual trip to Vancouver to see my son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren, I camp on their hide-a-bed couch in the living room. But, since this year’s trip was to be a full ten days (less two travel days), I decided to splurge and stay at the Greystone Bed & Breakfast. This would accomplish two things – I could retreat and rest in comfort, peace and quiet (thus beginning each day refreshed and ready to go), and my family wouldn’t have the additional strain of having ‘Mom’, ‘the MIL’, Gramma underfoot 24/7 for 10 days in an already full apartment. The idea worked well.

My hosts at the B&B, Graham and Lee Laxton, were gracious and accommodating. Their 100+ year old home exuded charm and old fashioned comfort. Breakfasts were generous; the gardens gorgeous. My room was both cosy and efficient. The B&B is located in a quiet, residential neighbourhood making it ideal for my purposes – and only a pleasant, five-block walk from my grandkids!

The door to gracious living

A peaceful respite before, or after, a busy day

Charming from any angle, inside or out

Each room uniquely decorated. Mine was built around a ‘frog’ theme

The room across the hall sported a bright, floral and teddy bear theme

A comfortable home away from home

With these details out of the way, the scene was set for a great vacation in Vancouver. Previous trips had begun with unrealistic expectations about my role in the lives of my grand kidlets. I expected (and hoped) that they would respond to me with affection and enthusiasm. So I was sadly disappointed when this didn’t happen exactly as I had dreamt.

On this trip, I set out with an adjusted attitude: I was going to Vancouver on vacation – and that vacation included visiting the kids and grandkids – to relax and have fun. To my total surprise, and delight, it worked! I spent time with the family, some time with the grand kids both with, and without, their parents, time with friends, time exploring the city and time alone – all of it good. As a result, I was probably more relaxed around the grandkids and consequently we had fun together and perhaps built a bit of that bond that, as a grandmother, I crave.

Being “East Coast Gramma” (as the kids now call me) is tough. I’m too far away to be involved in their daily lives; too distant to be called upon to help or babysit; too far away at the end of too expensive a trip for them to come and visit me. So we have to define a slightly different relationship – one punctuated by an annual visit, cards and gifts on appropriate occasions, and periodic webcam visits via the internet.

How did distant grandparents cope before the advent of the internet and cheap long distance telephone rates? It is beyond my imagination!

We don’t connect often. The time difference and busy schedules at each end of this too-vast country makes it difficult to find a mutually convenient time. But we do connect one way or another.

Bi-coastal grandparenting is challenging at best – but it can be done and it can be satisfying when approached with the right expectations and a solid attitude adjustment.

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One thought on “Attitude Matters

  1. So very true about our roles as far-away grandparents. It is hard because we want it to be different, we want to be someone special in their lives and to be part of their growing. You are wise to make the best of what each visit brings…and each one will be different from the last.

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