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    « Picture this: Colder than expected | Main | My daughter the marathoner, plus the GRAND Social »

    Don't speak: When silence refreshes relationship between Mom and Grandma

    mother and sonMy daughter recently emailed me the ticket confirmation for my next visit to the desert. The trip is set for the latter part of April.

    I, of course, must work to contain my excitement and anticipation as I look forward to soon spending ten days with my grandsons.

    I also look forward — sans the fanfare and excitement, I admit — to the days after the trip, the days when I’ve returned home and my daughter won’t be speaking to me.

    Yes, when I get back from that trip, I’m sure my daughter won’t speak to me. Which will be okay, though, for I surely won’t speak to her, either.

    That may seem odd, considering I have no doubt we’ll have a delightful time in April. The first few days of the visit will be spent with my daughter, son-in-law and my precious grandsons. Then I’ll have nearly a week of serving as sole caretaker of Bubby and Mac, as Megan accompanies Preston for an out-of-state conference. Then Megan and Preston will return home, and we’ll have even more time together.

    That time together is precisely why my daughter and I won’t be speaking afterward.

    You see, somewhere along the line of my daughter becoming “Mommy” and me becoming “Gramma,” we fell into the habit of not calling, texting, e-mailing or connecting in pretty much any way whatsoever for a few days after extended visits with one other.

    We didn’t plan such a tack; it happened naturally. It’s a natural progression of the ways our roles and connection to one another have changed. And it’s been a boon to our relationship.

    My daughter and I thrive on the times the miles that typically separate us geographically are erased, and we strengthen our connection with hours upon hours of real face time. We come together with much to share about our jobs, hobbies, anxieties, accomplishments, family updates and hopes for the future. And, of course, there’s always much to discuss about her children, my grandchildren — how to care for them, grow them, love them best.

    We share it all, accompanied by hugs, laughs, tears, good times. Intense times that can be exhausting — in fulfilling ways. Eventually, we've filled up the nooks and crannies of our hearts and souls, the spots that often feel empty when loved ones live far away.

    Then, as luck would have it, that’s usually about the time the visit is over. So we separate. And we stop talking.

    The mother/daughter relationship is one of those tangled webs we unwittingly weave. The web only grows tighter, more tangled, the more time we spend together, especially when we’re used to having our own space, our own place. It takes time to untangle, to return to our separate realities.

    After a few days, we'll little by little start conversing again. By text, by phone, maybe through email. Now that I have FaceTime on my iPhone, it may just even happen in a pseudo face-to-face this time.

    However it happens, it happens naturally. More importantly, it happens to work — for us and for our relationship.

    Today's question:

    How often do you communicate with your children — in person, by text, by phone, etcetera?

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    Reader Comments (11)

    Your post reminds me of post-visit communication (or lack thereof) with my oldest daughter when she lived half a country away. In our case, two strong willed women with a need to reclaim personal space after sharing so much together .

    Both of my daughters contact me daily.. most often by phone and sometimes several times a day. Since they live nearby, it's a rare week that I don't see one or the other...or both. It just depends what's on the family agenda for celebrations and outings.

    I think technology has made a huge difference in the frequency of mother/adult daughter contact. My Mom lived 3 hours from me, but we would only talk once a week since we couldn't afford the long distance phone bills!

    March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNonnieKelly

    I rarely talk to my children or my mom when I am away from them. We just aren't "phone people." We text or email occasionally. We see each other as often as distance and budgets allow.

    March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGinger Kay

    I think that, after you and Megan have spent time together, face to face, you've both satiated yourselves with answers to questions and answers to any that you've had for each other and curiosity and sharing thoughts is all full up for a little while; that's why you can both devote time, for a little while, to your own lives, independent of one another.

    My contact with adult children varies according to each one's situation and location, sometimes once or more a week, with others, it's just once every two or three weeks. I'm just happy when any of them can fit me into their busy, hectic lives, however often it is.

    March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    Lisa -

    Thank you for this wonderful post. My daughter lives a mile away and we see her 5-6 days a week. I envy you having a whole week all to yourself with your grandchildren. I cherish those babysitting times when "Grandma Rules" and I'm not subject too my daughter's constant input about what we can and cannot do and eat.

    You have mastered being both the involved grandmother and the grandmother who lives far away. It's a big accomplishment and you are a model for many grandparents dealing with that separation.


    March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarion Conway

    Communication with mine probably averages out to about once a week. Sometimes more sometimes less. I wish it was more often but they have busier lives than I do, so I'm happy to take what I can get!

    March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette

    You're so right about the need to reclaim personal space, NonnieKelly.

    I'm with ya on the not being "phone people," Ginger Kay. We all do love texting, though.

    I do get fully satiated while there, Ann, at least enough to last a little while. :-D

    Marion, I must say you have totally and completely made my day with your sweet, sweet comment. And you made me look at my long-distance status in a whole new way. Maybe I do have the best of both worlds, in a way I never considered. Thank you so much for such a thoughtful comment. Truly, you've made my day. ♥

    Annette: Taking all we can get really is what it's all about. (And so many think the hokey pokey is what it's all about. Tsk, tsk.) :0)

    March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    I am SO not a phone person. I relate. One daughter and I speak almost every day - well we text or email or call - but she is single. My other daughter is married with 2 little girls and we are lucky if we talk once a month. Lots of texts and instagram pictures and emails. But she's busy. I get it. And I'm with you - I say, whatever works, works.

    March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

    Hmm..every few days or weekly / depends on what they want or need me for, lol

    March 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdebra

    SO funny the rhythms of families and in some ways so mysterious. You are so good at trying to explain something I have never really been able to put my finger on. One of my boys doesn't call after I have seen him and it has taken me some time to understand that he needs to reestablish his adult self away from me every time he leaves. Thank you for this, Lisa

    March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrown and Flown

    There are times that others accuse Jenna and I of being joined at the hip. I am OK with that and it does work for us. In some ways we are making up for lost times and it amazes me that we got to where we are. I am very thankful!

    March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    I live near most of our children but our son is over a thousand miles away and we visit by webcam occasionally. Our daughters and son here call about once a week. Sometimes I would love to call them more often but they are so busy I just try to be sensible.

    March 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterQMM
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