My Medicine Cabinet Makes Me Cry

by Kay Lynn

long distance grandparenting

Every time I open the medicine cabinet I see the items in the photo and while I don’t literally cry, I am sad. You see that little Sesame street toothbrush and paste. They belong to my grandson who recently moved across country.

It was a good move for the family. Alex’s mom got a great job and the cost of living is much more reasonable there. Instead of getting sad every time I see his things, I decided to think about ways to still be connected 2,000 miles apart and came up with some ideas.

Visit as Often as Possible

This isn’t the most practical idea but it is coming from my heart.  I miss the sweet hugs and kisses that can only come from a child.  I plan to use those mileage awards as soon as I build them up to keep in touch.

Alex will come spend longer visits with us as soon as he’s old enough; I think it would be hard at two but maybe in a couple of years.

Read Books via Video

Alex loves “reading” books.  I plan to make a video of myself reading the book and then ship both the book and DVD to him.  He can listen and see me read the book over and over again.

You don’t need to be a long distance grandparent to use this idea.

Send Photos

Make sure grandkids have a picture of you they can hold when speaking on the phone or just to keep you in their memories.  I think we’ll send Alex a photo of us in a kid-friendly frame.

For older kids, I read a suggestion to send disposable cameras for them to use and send back for development.  It’s a way for long-distance loved ones to get a peak into their lives and a conversation starter with the child.

Skype Chats

Our grandson walks away from phone conversations; it just doesn’t hold his attention….yet.  But he is a video chat user.  He’s been using Skype to chat with my son for a few months.

We haven’t had one yet since they just got their household goods delivered a few days ago but I plan to get a call scheduled soon. Getting a kiss onscreen is almost as good as the real thing.

Send Mail

Kids love to get mail.  I carried on a long-distance pen pal relationship with my grandmother for 30 years until she passed away.

Once Alex is a little older, I’ll start writing him letters. In the meantime, I’ll make a point of sending cards for each and every special occasion and for those just because days.

Facebook Photos

It’s easy for Alex’s mom to post photos on Facebook and update all the family on moments in their lives.  Whether it’s a snapshot of sleeping in the car seat or exploring a new park, it helps me feel a part of his life.

I can’t wait to see the photo of his Halloween costume!


As Alex grows and technology advances, I’m sure there will be additional ways to keep connected.  Distance doesn’t mean grandparenting stops.  We just have to change our methods.  I also need to move that toothpaste and brush!

What’s your tip on staying connected with a loved one long distance?

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krantcents October 17, 2011 at 12:07 pm

We just recently created a virtual visit using Skype. My daughter visited us via Skype for about an hour and a half during dinner the other day. It was a a great use of technology.

Jon - Free Money Wisdom October 18, 2011 at 6:06 pm

I love Skype, Krantcents. My fiancee and I technically met via Skype and it has continued to help our relationship flourish. I’m sorry to hear about losing your grandson across country. Hopefully you will be able to visit one another frequently!

Kay Lynn October 23, 2011 at 5:54 pm

@Evan, hopefully we won’t be in the market for a new TV for a while but I am thinking about a tablet in the near future which would fun to use with Skype.

@ Justin, you are so lucky to have your grandparents close while growing up. I’m glad you’re able to stay close.

@ 20’s Finance, I like the idea about carrying around the laptop (that’s why I need a tablet).

@ Julie, thanks for the kind words. It was like a virtual hug!

@ Jon, it’s great to hear how technology keeps people close.

Hunter @ Financially Consumed October 17, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Our family stays connected via Skype. It’s such an amazing resource. It has taken some fine tuning over the years to get it just right but now we look forward to special chats, like Christmas day. Still nothing like being there.

Evan October 17, 2011 at 7:33 pm

My Son (who is only 10 months) gets excited to see his Grandma on Skype so I could only imagine how excited an older kid may get.

Is the job completely permanent?

Maggie@SquarePennies October 17, 2011 at 7:35 pm

This really touched my heart. We have two grandsons who live a day’s drive away. While there’s nothing to replace a real hug and kiss you have some good substitutes. We gave a photo of us hugging the boys to them as a Valentine’s gift. It is in a child-friendly frame. Our son said that every night they to want to look at that photo as the last thing they do before sleeping. Who knew a photo would be so appreciated.

Judith October 17, 2011 at 9:18 pm

I have grands on both coasts. I read nightly to them, we conference call. Not only does it keep me connected but it keeps the cousins connected. I have been doing this for 5 years. If there is a night that someone can’t make it we discus either the current book or a book we just finished. We started with baby books (step books etc) and moved to chapter book (magic tree house series etc) Now we read Harry Potter, Help etc.

Juhli October 18, 2011 at 5:26 am

I raised my 2 sons across the country from my parents. I think you have listed great ideas. I would only add to visit as often as you can afford!

Kay Lynn October 18, 2011 at 5:54 am

@Krantcents, what a great idea to use Skype during a meal. I will definitely try that sometime.

@ Hunter, I know you must have to work at keeping in touch with your family since it so far away. Thanks for the validation about Skype.

@ Evan, the job isn’t permanent but I don’t think they’ll move back to Southern California. The cost of housing is just too high compared to the salaries. Although my grandson has family here, his mom’s family is mostly in Washington state.

@ Thanks for letting me know about your success with the photo. We’ll definitely get one made of grandma and grandpa soon! When we relocate for retirement, I’ll have to aim for a day’s drive.

@ Judith, great idea to read a book nightly. Right now he goes to bed before I get home from work, but I think when his bedtime is later that would work great!

Evan October 18, 2011 at 7:32 am

I know on our next tv we are going to get one with smart apps so it can work as our skype…this way we can have a huge screen to look at. This may be a great option for you or them.

Kay Lynn October 18, 2011 at 5:55 am

Juhli, I will definitely visit as often as possible. I’m waiting a couple of weeks for them to get settled to start asking about a good date!

Justin @ MoneyIsTheRoot October 18, 2011 at 9:00 am

Sorry to hear about the distance between the two of you. I was fortunate to have my grandparents close to home until I graduated from college. They then moved to California and have been there for the past 12 years now. I still miss them even now, but facebook, email, skype, are all amazing ways to keep in touch!

20's Finances October 18, 2011 at 9:45 am

I also skype long distance my young nephews. One thing that I do with my nephews is to play hide and go seek. Basically, my wife and i take turns hiding and the other person carries the laptop around asking the nephews where they think the person who is hiding actually is. Every time we bring up skype, they scream “hide” before we can even say hello. 🙂

Julie @ The Family CEO October 18, 2011 at 10:49 am

That picture makes me sad too, Kay Lynn. I feel for you. I love your ideas for staying in touch. You’re a good grandma!

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