Hello, Good-bye


Hello, Good-bye

Boomers Are Discovering The Joys and Sorrows of Grandparenthood

By Barbara Graham

September/October 2009


My son has just sent me a video shot moments before on his BlackBerry. He's poised on the banks of the Seine, and in the distance the sun is beaming off the fabled rooftops like flares. The action stops, and then starts up again near the Eiffel Tower, where my 2-year-old granddaughter howls with glee as she runs away from my son. Every so often, she stops and turns around to make sure that her father is still there. Thrilled as I am to see Clay and Isabelle, awed as I am by the technology that transports them in a flash from Paris to my computer screen in Washington, D.C., the sight of them fills me with more yearning than joy. They seem so close—and yet really they're so far away. Instead of bridging the miles and time zones that separate us, the immediacy of our communicating does the opposite and underscores the distance.

Here, but not here!

I feel the same way when I "visit" with them on Skype in "real time." Even as I delight in watching Isabelle take a bubble bath or dig into a croissant (the good kind), I'm painfully aware that we're on opposite sides of a vast ocean. I'm left feeling unsatisfied, as if I've been invited out to a fine restaurant and then made to leave just as the main course arrives. My longing to be with Clay, his wife, Tamar, and Isabelle—see them, touch them, laugh with them in real real time—only grows stronger. I'd love to join them for an impromptu dinner or a lazy walk by the river, instead of the scheduled visits that…

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Topic: Aging | Families

Tags: families



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