Having family that live across the world isn’t easy, we all miss each other and although we FaceTime and have family WhatsApp groups to share pictures and videos of the goings on of our little ones, it just doesn’t always cut it. The build up to visits is filled with excitement and the hellos being happy tears but the goodbyes never get easier.
Dad moved back to India 5 or 6 years before he died so I got used to my daily life not including him as I am used to my brother, sister-in-law and nephews not being a regular feature in day to day life. That doesn’t make missing them any easier, in fact it’s the day to day musings with them that I miss.
Granny T arrived back yesterday after 6 weeks with little L and O, who both have loved their time with “Graaannnnneeeee!!” We decided to make mum’s return a little less emotional, knowing that as much as she was sad to leave the precious boys, she would also be excited to see her still fairly new granddaughter. She thought that my husband was picking her up but knowing the journey to the airport was long enough for baby P to have a nap, I fed her before and then used mum’s must have pre-Cat journey coffee as an opportunity to feed her again and have sometime out of the car seat before returning home. Mum came out of the arrivals lounge to be greeted by the three of us and despite her lengthy journey and jet lagged state, she was overjoyed to see all three of us standing there excitedly.
After some obligatory caffeine, excited snuggles, nappy change and baby filled with milk, we returned home. The journey was filled with stories of how my family overseas are getting on and how the boys are growing up and developing their personalities, senses of humour and mischievous natures! Mum told me of how little L declared that he was “sad” because Granny had to go home and it pulled on my heart strings. There’s no easy way to deal with family being so far away and one of our coping mechanisms has been to make the goodbyes brief and casual, a quick wave, hug and kiss, then a “see ya later” as though we’re just nipping to the shop. We have to do this for the sake of the kids as well as ourselves. If every time we left we said an emotional goodbye then it would be too difficult for us all, especially the little ones. Having said that I usually still burst into tears and spend the journey to the airport sobbing-last year I at least managed to get round the corner of the street before starting though!
One thing that dies please me is the relationships we are managing to form with my nephews despite the distance, growing up my brother and I were so close to our Granny that we both want the same for our kids and there’s no doubt about the bond my mum now has with L and O and is developing with P as they all get to know her, play with her and snuggle her. She’s becoming a bit of a legend with the kids to be fair with little L telling my brother that what he likes about Granny is that she’s “fun”. Well who can argue with that when your Granny gives you horsey rides, piggy backs and plays dinosaurs with you!
I’m glad too that the boys are developing a bond with me, my husband and our children. Little L refers to his cousin P as his sister, says he loves and only she can go to visit next time-god help the airline with a baby under one journeying on its own!! He jokes with us on FaceTime bringing toys and food to the screen for us, asking to see our pets and playing magic tricks as he turns us on and off screen.
It’s not the same but it makes the distance seem smaller and thank goodness we live in a era of such technology. For now it’s our turn to enjoy Granny T until the next time we have to say “see ya later” whilst she has quality time with her grandsons. It won’t be long before we too are making our way over (yes all of us despite L’s demands of only Baby P going) and we do our giddy hellos and attempt a breezy goodbye.