Friday, March 26, 2010

How do I prep the grandparents?




This was lunch for C. today. Creative, huh?
Who says I'm not using my expensive art school degrees?

Kiwi for eyes, banana and peanut butter for the mouth, with raisins for the teeth and eyelashes and jalapeno pepper jack cheese for the nose (w/ crackers too). My girl has a self-proclaimed "spicy tooth."
Here is C. reading about Syracuse and Cornell losing last night. "Why is he crying, Mama?" Well, let's talk about turnovers, honey.


So the three kids are going to my Dad and step-mom's again this weekend. My Dad has not said ONE word about the Foreign Service in months. It has been a noticeably absent topic of conversations with me. I think he disapproves. But he is not saying. He just keeps asking for the kids every few weeks. I think he's stocking up on kid-time.

How do you deal with parents and grandparents who may think you are abandoning them and taking away the grandkids by joining the Foreign Service? What's the best approach to take? My father says nothing. My mom has remained (outwardly) positive and encouraging. But I'm her only child. She's single. These are her only grandkids. So, I have guilt. Always with the guilt...

Advice? Teach them how to skype now maybe?

10 comments:

Digger said...

Invest in webcams for both of you. My boss in Jerusalem watched his grandson grow up that way, and when he came home to the states, his grandson knew who he was.

And call, a lot. I called my grandmother regularly (she had no living children so my leaving was hard even though she said she was proud of me).

David L. said...

Fortunately, I don't see my parents all that often as we live 500 miles away. But let's just say they wear their disapproval on their sleeves, and we don't even have grandchildren in the picture, yet. How do we deal? Positive reinforcement. Reassure that Americans dying in Mexico is a rare occurance. I don't think they are very comfortable, but we're getting there.

fsowannabe said...

My in-laws are very. very, very, very (I could probably throw a bunch more very's, but I figure 4 has the maximum effect) disapproving. They won't talk to me about it, but they let slip with the Mrs. quite frequently. It's difficult to deal with, but I'm confident it's a good choice for me and my family. Sometimes you just have to live your life and let others catch up to you. Digger is right, skype is the way to go. Be open about the positives as much as possible. I talk a lot about the education potential for the kids - they have a chance to be fluent in other languages, go to better schools, become world citizens, etc.

FS, here we come! said...

Digger- Yes, from what i can tell, the web-cam is the way to go. Then they can all se each other regularly.

David- We've been working with positive reinforcement as well. And I haven't even mentioned what happened in CJ.

Fsowannabe- I'm sorry your in-laws are "out"-laws. That can be hard. The disapproval is tiresome. We are also trying to focus on schools and opportunities that will be available for the kids. But the grandparents (understandably) just want to be able to get their hands on the kids often.

Anonymous said...

My MIL told me she hopes I don't get in! (I'm waiting for clearances now). I think all you can do is emphasize the positives and let people come to terms with it on their own timeline.

Anonymous said...
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Bfiles said...

hi there, I hear you on this one. This is actually one of the biggest cons for me. My parents live 5 hours away and see the kids monthly, and they are the first grandkids. My husband's family lives on the opposite coast and we only see them once/year anyway, or it would be a lot harder.
I definitely have guilt, though my parents are being pretty supportive. Would it be possible to send the kids to them for summers or other extended vacations? I don't have answers, just sympathy. In the end, it's your family's decision and you just have to go with what you feel is right for all of you. Good luck.

Ps I linked to your blog on my blog, let me know if you object...

Connie said...

My dad was in the Navy and loved to travel. He fell in love with Australia and almost moved down there. My grandmother got mysteriously 'ill' and Dad lost his chance. Probably good in one way, as he hadn't met my mom yet and I might not be here(!)... but he never got to do any more of the world traveling he wanted to do. He did get to the UK to visit us, but that's it. He was 100% plus supportive of our traveling. He said that it was our life, we should do what we wanted to do, and it was his place to be thrilled for the opportunities that came our way. He missed us. We missed him. We missed sharing our kids as much as we would have had we been closer. It was especially tough when he became ill and passed away, but he would have been upset if we'd thrown away our chances to travel just to live down the block from them. Mom dealt with it too, but not as happily. I think dad was right though. Parents live their lives and need to let their kids go live theirs... no matter where it takes them.

Bryn said...

We've been very lucky to have both sets of parents support us. They are going to have to opportunity to travel to countries they normally wouldn't think about visiting. And remind them of the MILLIONS of opportunities this job will open up for your children. They will get accepted to colleges AROUND THE WORLD and will have more scholarship opportunities. Your disapproving family memebers will come around when they see how happy your family is in the FS.

And webcams help too!!

Daniela said...

As someone who moved across the ocean to be with my American husband, this rings very true but the world has changed a lot in the last decade or so.

When I first came to the US from Bulgaria in 1997 I used handwritten letters to stay in touch with my family. Email was available but they didn't have a computer, so that wasn't an option for us. Eventually, we got them a laptop and we taught them how to use it initially for email and eventually for internet telephony (with video).

My parents are now huge Skype fans. They call me daily to see our daughter and hear her silly stories. Skype and similar services have really made a difference in the lives of separated families across the world.