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    Tuesday
    Feb242015

    When grandchildren move away: 10 things to send with them

    Sometimes, regardless of how much we wish things could be different, grandchildren and their parents move away from Grandma and Grandpa. Perhaps there's a better financial situation for Mom or Dad farther away, or maybe it's a marital split that results in beloved grandbabies being relocated farther from grandparents than ever before.

    I have always been a long-distance grandma—my grandsons have never lived near me. So I can only imagine how heartbreaking it must be to learn grandchildren who lived nearby will soon live miles and miles away. Such a transition is surely hurtful not only for the grandparents, but for the grandchildren, too.

    when grandchildren move away

    As a longtime long-distance grandma, though, I do know there are a few things that can make the distance a wee bit less painful. The separation will still stink, I won't lie, but these ideas can go a long way toward keeping grandparents and grandchildren connected despite the distance. 

    Spend some time before the grandkiddos hit the road gathering together the following items for them to take when they leave, perhaps in a special bag for easy access as well as safekeeping:

    • A photo album or framed photo of a special times shared.
    • A laminated card that includes your phone number, email address, mailing address so they will always know how to reach you, whether they need to or not. This is mostly for older kids, but younger ones will feel special simply knowing they have the info on hand.
    • A folder with paper for notes or drawings along with several self-addressed, stamped envelopes (use the "Forever" stamps as rates will surely increase). Let the child know he can write or draw pictures and mail them to you any time.
    • Add your Skype user name to that laminated card then ensure the child knows how to Skype (with Mom or Dad's Skype account as well as their permission and/or assistance).
    • Honor the child by giving him or her one of your special possessions for safekeeping and remembering you. Perhaps a piece of jewelry, knick knack, fishing lure, handicraft, or such.
    • A copy of a book you enjoyed together. Or maybe the very book you often shared.
    • The recipe for one of your homemade treats or eats the child especially enjoys. Consider one that older kids can make with supervision from a parent or that a parent will make now and then when requested by younger kids.
    • A blanket or afghan the child can wrap up in when needing a hug from Grandma or Grandpa.
    • Agreement on a "thinking of you" trigger: Choose something specific—a road sign, color, type of tree, animal, song or something else that you both agree on—that will remind you both of one another each time it's encountered.
    • Knowledge that regardless of the distance, the child will always be in your thoughts and heart, that exciting things lie ahead as together you make a pact to seek unique ways to sustain and strengthen your bond til you see each other again.

    Today's question:

    Been there, done that? What would you add to the list?

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    Reader Comments (45)

    Just the thought of my grandkids moving further away makes me sad, but this is an excellent post.

    Big hugs again to all the long distance grandparents!

    February 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNonnieKelly

    My grandkids are all grown up, some even have children of their own-my great-grandkids! I wish I could see them more often as they, the new generation. But, families are more spread apart these days (remember The Waltons?) and locations for living and jobs for parents present situations that are best for that darling immediate family...sad that it separates generations so much of the time. Loved this post. Thank you.

    February 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    These are all great tips. My two oldest grandsons live far away and I only see them a couple of times a year.their mom also set up an email account where I can send emails to each other.

    February 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRena McDaniel

    This was beautiful and really would help anyone put in that terrible position. I'm just glad it has never been me and hope it never will be. I couldn't cope without Amara and I sure couldn't cope without her Mom close by!

    February 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    I appreciate the post as my daughter, husband and grandchildren will be moving in about a month. I'm sure I will greatly miss them and my 3 year old grandson will greatly miss everyone here. He is excited about his new house but I'm not sure he really understands that he won't get to see people he knows on a regular basis.
    Yes, Skype will be a big part of connecting. I also thought of something else....grandpa and I have made Fridays the day to spend with the grandkids for the past 3 + years. My granddaughter won't miss anyone seeing she is just 4 months old, but the 3 year old grandson will miss us. So I decided that every Tuesday or Wednesday I'll mail him something and he'll get it by Friday. It will help keep the connection going. And we plan on moving in their direction in 2 years after my husband retires, so we will have lots of visiting to see them but to also scope out the area that we will be interested to move to.

    February 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMandy

    I love the email tip, Rena!

    Mandy: I'm glad to hear this is helpful. A regular Friday chat session is a fabulous idea! It should help you get through til moving day for you and your husband.

    I appreciate the comments, fellow grandmas. (Even those of you who will likely never be a long-distance grandma. Yeah, I'm talking to you, NonnieKelly and Kc!) :-D

    February 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    Lisa, I am filing this away for future reference. No grandchildren yet, but I know that when I do have them they will be living a plane ride away. I'm already sad about that!

    February 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHelene Cohen Bludman

    Awesome post. Pinned and tweeted. We love to party with you, so I hope to see you tonight at 7 pm.. Have an amazing day! Lou Lou Girls

    March 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLou Lou Girls

    Great list, although I hope I never have to use it. ;)

    December 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPatti

    Ay mujer, this post needs a Hanky Alert sign on it. Babushka's a long distance grandma now, but there was a blessed time when she had El Dr. living with her...

    ♥ the "thinking of you trigger" and will most definitely be using that now w/all 6 Grands. Gracias again for another great linky fiesta. BB2U

    December 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBohemian Babushka

    My son and daughter in law will be moving a little further north in Colorado and although we are still in driving distance it feels far away. My older grandsons enjoy things I send through their mother's facebook page--I'll send a funny video or photo and an "I love You" to them. I always try to show up at all their special school shows and kararte demos.

    December 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPat @Mille Fiori Favoriti

    I ebb and flow as a long distance grandma with one set and mostly with another but God is good and, like you, I do get to visit lots. These are such sweet ideas. We didn't do anything like that but I do have "our" fave games at each of the homes so when I visit we enjoy our sweet rituals of digging them out and playing together gleefully. :)

    Kaye

    December 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKaye Swain

    I'm also a long-distance grandma, including two one-year stints of my Grand (and my daughter, son-in-law and grand pup) living in Berlin. We used Skype a lot but your suggestions are wonderful because they're in play even when we're not online.

    December 30, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterpenpen

    I'm so grateful I found this page. My son informed me yesterday that he will be moving his family in July to Texas for financial reasons. I have 2 granddaughters 8 & 3, and a grandson 2. I haven't stopped crying since then. I miss them already.

    February 28, 2016 | Unregistered Commenternorcalsyl

    I can relate to all of this. My granddaughter who has lived with me since age 4 months is 2 now and moving 7 states away. I haven't stopped crying. I can only describe the feeling as grieving. Just reading the tips make me heartbroken . I don't know how I'll get through this.

    March 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHeartbrokengramma

    We just found out our 15 month old granddaughters mom is taking her to To another state to live, we have her about every weekend and i cant stop crying, i dont know what to do, she is so little i dont want her to forget us, i feel like my heart just got ripped out.

    March 21, 2016 | Unregistered Commentersadmimi

    I'm in that devastated state. My dtr and son in law are moving across the country with my 5 month old only grandchild. I've known for almost 3 weeks and have been crying or on the brink since. They are moving in about 9 months which is like knowing your arm is going to be amputated. Yes, I'm being dramatic! How can they do this to me!!?? Don't say it! I know it's not all about me. I'm tired of feeling so sad and depressed and I want to stop crying! How can I refrain this to cope?!

    April 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Mayne

    @ Linda Mayne, we are all going through this which doesn't make it any easier but you aren't alone :( My grandprincess left 2 days ago and took my heart with her. You are welcome to contact me at dogscrafts@aol.com for support xoxo .

    April 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHeartbrokengramma

    I also just found out a few days ago that my three grandchildren will be moving away in a couple of weeks. It's so hard for me because I've kept them five days a week while their parents worked. They've each been with me since they were 5 wks old. My heart is so broken, and I can't stop crying. This is such a horrible feeling.

    April 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

    @Donna I feel your pain. Mine moved April 2 and I burst out in tears all day long. Everything reminds me of my granddaughter. I feel so dark inside like I'll never get over this. I've skyped her but it just isn't the same. She is and was my main focus :( I'm having a hard time coping

    April 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHeartbrokengramma

    I'm bawling reading this. My son and dil are moving from 10 min. away from me to the other side of the country with my 3 grandkids. 10, 8 and 6. And my youngest son is going too. The kids spent the night every weekend and I'm going to miss them so much. I feel like my heart has been ripped out. I have no idea how to do this by myself. I was a single parent and family is everything to me. Now I'm alone and not sure what to do.

    May 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMombo

    I think this is a great post. My daughter is moving 2000 miles away with my grandson who I've had every weekend since he was newborn thru age 9. I felt like my world came crashing down, my only daughter and grandparenting was my life! Still have few weeks but time will fly, cried first few days and know it won't be easy to adapt...family is everything, not in budget for either of us to travel and technology is great but the hugs and kisses are priceless. It's her life, just never thought she'd ever move away. Not an opportunity of lifetime but also know it's not about me, wish I wouldn't of embraced the role of grandparenting just to have my heartbroken. Have no choice but to adapt and detach!

    July 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAcer

    I am on the 2nd day of saying goodbye to my daughter and my 3 beautiful grandchildren ages 9 to 5. They have always lived across the street which has always been a blessing and is now a curse. The dreaded empty house I feel at this point I need to move. I just don't know what to do with the grief.......

    August 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPenny

    Penny, that really has to be difficult to adapt to and can only imagine your pain. I'm sure those kids and your daughter will miss you too. I'm still counting down and already started exercise program, diet change, and meditation to get ready for what is coming. A few friends who've been thru same thing say it gets easier, we build up our lives and stay busy and take care making the best of technology and other modes of communicating.
    I will pray for you and hope you feel better.

    August 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAcer

    Thanks Acer.....I appreciate your prayers. It is getting easier and we Skype and text so it's becoming easier with each day. I will have them for Thanksgiving so that is how this new landscape looks. Live one day at a time and get in as much time as I can before they slip out of childhood. I also see how important it is to support my daughter and I try very hard not to play the sympathy card....LOL....thanks again

    August 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPenny

    My daughter and grandson are moving 9 hours away. It is killing me I have had him every day of the week since he was born. She is a single mom and I have been there to help her pick up the slack. She things she can do better fiancially there. He has been my whole world for going on 5 years now. He knows they are moving but he doesn't understand that Gigi is not going to be around the corner anymore. They will be leaving this weekend, I fill like my heart is breaking! THings will never be the same! Gigi is going to miss her little monkey!

    August 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGigi

    My parents have stopped talking to me over 3 years ago, and I have slowly been excluded from my family. I was a single parent for 23 years and done my absolute best, my eldest daughter has since moved up to where my parents live and for the last year has stopped talking to me, and is now arranging her wedding with my so called parents. And my youngest daughter whom I have always been extremely close with has announced that when my grandson is 4 months old they will be moving up to where my other daughter and parents live. I'm absolutely heart broken as although I want to enjoy the baby whom is due in December, I'm scared to bond as he will be taken from me to...... I'm frightened and feel sooooooo alone. Not only have I lost my girls which is hard enough, but now my new grandson... And they are moving to my parents and all having family days out and bonding. This thought is eating me up inside, and I can't think about anything else, I have gone from a fun loving lady, to a withdrawn, crying, moody mess but I don't care. I want to get happy and positive but I can't seem to shake myself out of it. The hate and anger I feel towards my parents is unreal, they have my entire family, and I have nothing.

    September 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJo

    @Joe maybe you could try to reconcile with your parents...I'm not sure the reason why you moved away and why your kids want move where your parents are so hopefully they will all consider the pain you're feeling. We can't control others actions once they're adult, only our own. I'm sure your parents have a void from not having you in their lives just as you feel that with the possibility of the same.

    September 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAcer

    Thanks Acer for your message it meant a lot that someone answered. I often feel very alone and no one to talk to. I dint move away Acer, my parents moved away about ten years ago, and my children always went to visit, as it was important to me that my children had their grandparents. They were always very controlling over me as I was a single mum and I think they thought they should take charge. I have always worked and provided a nice home for my 2 girls so I don't understand why they felt this way... But the fact that my daughters want to go and live up there, tears me up. I have done everything for them. I even brought them both their first car. It seems they need my parents more than they need me. I was soooooooo excited when my 20 year old daughter said she was expecting, I was over the moon. Now she has stamped on my heart by saying she is moving 2 hours away to my parents area. It's not the distance so much that worries me, it's she will need my mum for help and guidance rather than me. I want to be the one that she turns to. I really don't know what to do as she has asked me to be at the birth and be a big part in the babies life, but only till he is 4 months and then they are moving....... I have red all the other messages on here how all the ladies hearts are breaking, and how they cry all the time. Which I fully understand. So do I put myself in that position in the first place. What I don't have I won't miss....so to speak. I'm hurting so bad already and little man ain't here yet.

    September 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJo

    Thanks Acer for your message it meant a lot that someone answered. I often feel very alone and no one to talk to. I dint move away Acer, my parents moved away about ten years ago, and my children always went to visit, as it was important to me that my children had their grandparents. They were always very controlling over me as I was a single mum and I think they thought they should take charge. I have always worked and provided a nice home for my 2 girls so I don't understand why they felt this way... But the fact that my daughters want to go and live up there, tears me up. I have done everything for them. I even brought them both their first car. It seems they need my parents more than they need me. I was soooooooo excited when my 20 year old daughter said she was expecting, I was over the moon. Now she has stamped on my heart by saying she is moving 2 hours away to my parents area. It's not the distance so much that worries me, it's she will need my mum for help and guidance rather than me. I want to be the one that she turns to. I really don't know what to do as she has asked me to be at the birth and be a big part in the babies life, but only till he is 4 months and then they are moving....... I have red all the other messages on here how all the ladies hearts are breaking, and how they cry all the time. Which I fully understand. So do I put myself in that position in the first place. What I don't have I won't miss....so to speak. I'm hurting so bad already and little man ain't here yet.

    September 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJo

    Joe, I'm so sorry you're going through this and even more so now that you've provided more detail. If your daughter wants you in the room when she gives birth, that is one of honor ...she asked you not your mom. The experience is worth so much for all three of you. Maybe moving ,she wants to give you a break after all the years you've sacrificed. I have learned mindfulness, this is focusing on the Now ...the present , not looking at the past and not creating anxiety thinking too much into the future. She says she will move after baby is 4 months, do what you feel you can live with....either savor every moment and be there with your daughter or chose not to...which will you regret? Unlike your parents controlling behavior, we can't tell our kids how or where to live their lives when they become adults. Your daughter doesn't sound like she's cutting you off...maybe let her know you'd like to keep in touch, be in her life and the baby, then you'll find out if she wants the same. Life's too short to wonder...my daughter moved 2,000 miles away, two hrs is workable. Don't give up hope, keeping busy with things you like doing, networking social circles, meditation, and excercising helped me get through accepting we need to let our kids live their lives and we must carry on and make the best of our won lives. I don't worry about the things that may not ever happen....only about the here and now within my control. May things work out for you...stay strong and God bless!

    September 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAcer

    My son and dil and 4 grandchildren have lived near me since before my 8 year old grandson was born. I have babysat for them the past five years from two to five days a week my dil decides now she wants to move near her family in Nebraska. They give me 3 weeks notice they are leaving. My grandkids are 8, 6, 3 and a new little granddaughter 5 months old. All I do is cry I miss them so much, will it ever get easier? I and my husband both work so just going up there every other month is impossible and my husband has bad eyes so driving is not possible we have to fly or take a train which is fine but to bring the kids back with us for a week would be so expensive. So sad here all I do is cry!

    October 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDarlene

    Darlene, my daughter did the same thing back in July. I too had a strong bond with my nine year old grandson and a one year old. I had to make the best of four weeks and savored every moment. Video taped lot, did lots of fun things and laughed a lot with the kids. I'm not going to lie, it was really hard at times not to hold back the tears as the days drew closer, but I kept straight face for the kids sake.we as adults have other challenges to compare in our lives knowing it's not the end of the world, kids don't have that experience. So when they left, I cried randomly, cried when I needed to and then started to schedule the times because I needed to carry on. It gets easier if we don't allow ourselves to wallow in self pity, create a different routine of our own "new life", take care of ourselves, and adapt to the change without obessesing. I get sad from time to time but mostly I'm at 85% content and look forward to my life. I miss my grandkids but will in few months go see them ...thank god for technology. Prayer helps and keeping busy with hobbies and social networking. Good luck, hang in there, it will get better.

    October 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAcer

    My daughter and husband are moving away from me and taking my 5 grandchildren. I feel broken. Please tell me it will get better.

    January 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJose

    I am so relieved to have found these posts, as they (sadly) prove that others are in the same boat as I am. Briefly, I am 74, single, and just retired (which I prefer to call "reinvented". Son, dil and 8 and 9 year old grandchildren live fairly close by so I'm with them often. A week after my "reinvention" my son told me he may transfer to another state and I cannot stop crying at the thought of their moving. The good news is that both son and dil want me to move also, which I would consider if it made financial sense on my limited ssa/pension income. I feel so lost and sad right now and see that many of you have felt the same way, and would love to know how any if you have dealt with similar transitions and turned the tears into smiles?

    January 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Sally

    My daughter and grandchild are moving out of my home to live with her boyfriend in his home town. They are expecting a new baby. They haven't been together very long. I have been pretty much my grandchild's primary caregiver since her mother worked crazy hours for several years. They will be within driving distance but I won't get to see them very much. I haven't had much of a life of my own since they moved in and now am facing an empty house and no one left here. My daughter is all excited about her new life but a lot of that comes with comments about doing this and that with his family and his family taking care of my grandchild. I feel I am being replaced. I am lost, scared, and I must admit angry and resentful. There is no reason they couldn't move closer except she doesn't want to ask him to. So I am the one who looses. I too cry all the time and am so worried about my grandchild who will not understand and has not often been without me. I am glad I found this so I can put how I feel in words since I can't talk to my daughter without her getting angry with me for making her feel guilty. She has no sympathy or compassion for what I am going through. Someone above called it grieving and that is exactly what it is. I feel dead inside. I too hope this will get better in time.

    February 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLost Nana

    I have a 1 and 3 year old grandson. They are my world. I work hard and also take care of my aging parents. My one joy is watching these two angels once a week and now they are moving. I am so depressed and also can't stop crying. I don't see this getting better. I need to hold, hug and kiss them not FaceTime and Skype.

    March 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSad Bama

    A week before she left, my daughter told us that she and her husband had put a bid on a house in another state and they were leaving the following week so they could enrol the kids in school. Apparently, her husband said it was his turn to be near his family. His brother lives nearby and his sister is still far away, but the move makes them closer. They have put their house for sale however her husband still comes back one week a month since he is still working here. I might add that jobs and pay are much better here.

    We are deeply hurt by this move and miss our grandchildren. We are very angry at him and feel our family has been split apart. My other daughter who still lives here is upset too. It's been nearly eight months since they have left and they have been home once. I know lots of people face this situation, but we feel the reason for their move is selfish.

    April 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSad Grandparents

    O my, do I ever ache for my grandson. I just found out last night that my grandson's mom and boyfriend are moving by June 10 at the latest. I bought them a house to live in in November where I knew they would be safe and could have a big fenced yard--- they are leaving before the lease is up. It makes me mad, but the real problem is how my heart just aches since she told me. They don't have jobs where they are headed. but a friend of theirs won the lottery and has promised them a house- which has been verified by the other grandma. I am a young grandma-- I was trying to become pregnant when I found out I was going to be a grandmother. My husband and I quit trying to get pregnant or adopt and foster and have just embraced being grandparents to him with everything we've got. He lived with us for 9 months when he was 2 and his mom was at job corps, and he has spent at least 2 nights a week at our house (my son, his dad, lives with us again now). his mom wa very difficult as a pregnant teenager and I was never sure if I'd ever have a relationship with my baby-- I felt he was mine, misplaced into her womb!-- but things worked out. I made them. And they have been OK. Shes grown up a lot, has a new baby with her current BF and she and I get along in a way I didn't think was possible when we first met. I will miss her too. And her little baby-- but especially, my grandson, and knowing they are safe and warm in a cozy house where I can call or stop by. He just turned 5 in March and I guess the thing for me to do is be grateful that I got these 5 solidly good years with him. But I just feel cheated and I LONG FOR HIM, to hold him in my arms and read him a story, or hold hands and run a mile... or brush his teeth or put him on a stool so he can help me cook... or take him camping or to swimming lessons. just feels not fair. not fair. But I know it isn't about me and as selfish as I feel right now, I know his mom needs to thrive and get ahead. I was trying-- but-- I can't afford to let her live rent free. I knoiw it's important for him if his mom makes it in life. I just hope we can somehow remain close. being with hm is my favorite thing to do.
    Thanks for listening to me ramble. this is really fresh for me. I appreciate reading your words and knowing I'm not alone, and that this too is survivable. --- big hugs-- Lucy

    April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGrandmother Lucy

    @Lucy
    I too was a young grandparent so when my daughter moved away over nine months ago, I was crushed. Since then, I am able to breathe even though I fought like hell to hang on to the hope they'd be back. It's her life, her son. I visited him last week and Yes I cried like a baby when I got on the plane but then I was okay. We can't raise our kids and their kids....we need to make the best of how our lives will be. You were kind to help her out, lease her a house, but competing with the odd offer of someone buying them a house via lottery is not fair to you or your husband! She's an adult and that relationship with your grandson should not change things. You stopped trying to have kids should not have been a sacrifice to mention as being a grandparent is not a fair trade because there's no garuntee that adult kids will either move away or decide to enstrange themselves. You and your daughter seem close, use that to your advantage by focusing (not to be mistaken for obsessing) on your grandson. But Most Important....live your life...enjoy your marriage...you're off the hook of worrying about your daughter and can visit them when you're stronger. believe me, it gets better...how soon is up to you.

    April 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAcer

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