Dear Grandparenting: I thought I was so on top of this. My Fabulous Family Vacation would rock! I would dig deep into my pocket and treat my daughter, her hubby and my two little grandkids an all expenses paid one-week trip to the Disney World resort in Tampa.
So I picked up the phone and called my daughter’s place. Her husband answered. I told him I was ready and willing to book any week in Disney this summer. He said they would talk it over.
Next day my daughter calls. She basically said thanks but no thanks. Her husband “doesn’t do vacations anymore.” I said Disney is the vacation-of-a-lifetime for the grandkids. She was firm so it’s back to the drawing board.
We live on opposite coasts. The last time I visited I felt like I was in their way. They’re both tired after work. He works overtime Saturdays while she drives the kids to sports and other activities, and there’s church on Sundays.
That’s why I had high hopes for Disney! It wears me down trying to be a long-distance grandparent. I don’t see how I fit in. Sure didn’t plan on being just another stranger to my grandkids. Any ideas? Anita Edy, Thousand Oaks, CA
Dear Anita: You’re dealing with another overworked and overscheduled American family that has a problem with the down time they are due.
Every year, the great majority of America’s workforce decides not to use all allotted vacation days, driven by ambition, getaway guilt, fear of being replaced or because they feel indispensable.
Family time suffers when two-income families are tied down by their daily commitments, and it poses special challenges for those far removed geographically. Grandparents need to brainstorm alternatives that better meet the wants and needs of the gatekeepers – your daughter and son-in-law.
If it’s family vacations you want, come up with a better offer. Does a three-day weekend or four-day trip hit the spot? What’s your son-in-law’s weakness? Golf? Fishing? Maybe a weekend trip where he can indulge his passion?
Trips that leave the parents behind while grandparents and grandchildren travel together are picking up. Cruise ships, amusement parks, beaches and national parks are popular destinations, while some travel companies offer travel packages geared to grandparents traveling with grandchildren.
When you really want to keep in touch, Internet technologies are any grandparent’s best bet. Memories and photographs fade. An investment of time and money to get up to speed on technology soon pays off. See and talk to grandkids in real time, just like that. It’s the best way of keeping it fresh.
Grand remark of the week
Cathy Lopez from The Villages, FL likes wearing her black T-shirt with “TGIF” inscribed across the front in white lettering.
For many, TGIF stands for Thank God It’s Friday. When Cathy wears it on a different day of the week, people will try to set her straight.
“Perfect strangers come up and tell me it’s not Friday,” she says. “Then I inform them TGIF stands for This Grandma Is Fabulous.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.