Separation By Distance
Many families must work hard to sustain a strong link over long distances. According to research done by Dr. Strom, when grandparents live less than 200 miles away, it is usually easier to keep in close contact. A separation of over 200 miles, however, does not allow for as committed a relationship.
John and Cindy Norton will be flying from the East Coast to Colorado this month to meet their first grandchild. "It's very hard to be so far away," says Cindy, "but we have a goal to be very involved with our new grandchild." Cindy began a journal for the baby as soon as she heard her daughter-in-law, Laurie, was pregnant. She sent books, inspirational tapes and music to the expectant couple for them to share with their soon-to-be born child. "We want to invest in a camcorder as a form of communication. We plan lots of phone calls, letters, and pictures and we want to visit as often as possible," says Cindy. "I feel very sad that I can't just rush right over to see the baby."
Kelly and Earl Franklin are finding the separation from their 2-year-old son's grandparents unbearable. They are leaving New England this month to return to Washington State to be closer to their extended family. "Even though Earl has been offered a job here it's important to both of us that we go back home," says Kelly, who is pregnant with their second child. "When I was growing up we didn't live near my grandparents, and I felt very isolated from them. We want our parents to be involved with our children and have a positive influence on them. I want our children to learn to love and respect their grandparents. We all share the same values. I think it will be helpful for our kids to hear the same messages from a different set of adults. And it will be nice to have built-in baby-sitters occasionally!"