Baby Boomers have jumped into the grandparent role in the same way that they engaged in other phases of their lives – with enthusiasm and active commitment. They have redefined what it means to be grandparents. But how can you in the Sandwich Generation form and maintain a connection with your young grandchildren when they live thousands of miles away and you see them only sporadically? Use the same sense of creativity that you have mastered in other areas of your life to build a relationship that grows through the years. In this way you can give them the time and attention they deserve - without feeling like you have now become a Club Sandwich with another added layer.
Allan talked about his six-year old grandson, Jake, and the joy he felt whenever they spoke on the phone. "He called me the other day and said, 'Papa, I just saw the moon! It looked like a smile turned on its side.' I could visualize the big smile on his face and that brought an even bigger one to mine. When Jake was just three and we were visiting him, I had shown him the full moon early one winter night. I had explained to him that, even though we lived very far away, we saw the same moon in our home that he saw in his. We decided that the moon would be 'our friend,' and ever since then we have shared this special connection."
Even if you are living far from your grandchildren, you too can bond in a profound way. The legacy that you pass on to your grandchildren will be much more than money or possessions. It will be the priceless gift of yourself. Let them know who you are. You will enjoy the precious time you spend together and they will cherish the relationship with you for a lifetime.
This week we'll be looking at tips from other Sandwiched Boomer grandparents who found a way to develop meaningful connections with their grandkids. See what worked for them and let your imagination run free as you decide what works for you. And please share with all of us the special ways you have used to maintain closeness with your grandchildren.