Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How Messed Up is That?

Quite a few years back I took a job as a rural relief carrier for the post office. I wasn't looking for a job, I didn't have to work, but the opportunity came and it was good money.  Within a couple of months it would turn into a very part time schedule. It would just be a one day a week job that would give us just a little more play money in our budget. The schedule to start with was 10-12 hour days and six days a week. The full time carrier was having surgery and then taking an extended recovery period before she would be back on the job. I was the relief carrier so there was no one to give me a day off.

At the time I had two kids in school and a toddler at home. My mornings were super early, finding day care and being a working mom was something I had never done before. There were days that my husband and I had to juggle the needs of sick kids and doctors appointments, It was my first experience ever to miss school field trips with my kids and I had many sleepless nights where I had to head off to work whether I had slept or not.

My rural mail route took me deep into an Indian Reservation where life was very different than how I lived. People still lived in mud houses, did their washing by hand it tubs outdoors, no signs of ac units in the hot deserts of Arizona, shopping was miles and miles away, and they cooked their tortillas daily over open fires.

One day as I approached the mailbox of one such house a young Indian woman with a barefoot and very dirty child toddling behind her came out of her front door carrying a bucket of dirty water to dump outdoors. Despite her tattered screened door, her dirt yard, and a house lacking much of what I enjoyed at home I looked at her and my eyes filled with tears. In that moment I wanted her life.

How messed up is that?

Now, I am a grandma with all ten of my grands living within 10 minutes of me. I am a fan of other grandma bloggers.  Some are long distance grandma's who have hundreds of miles between them and their grands. The distance, the things they miss, and the time between hugs and kisses creates an ache that only long distance grandparents know. My friend Lisa over at Grandma Briefs did an excellent post on this topic today.

These long distance grandma's do so many fun and creative things for their grands to help build bonds and memories over the miles. They read books and visit with their grands on Skype. Some have provided special grandma mailboxes in their grands homes where the mail from grandma gets delivered and notices for packages sent from grandma are found. (With mommies help.) They are always coming up with amazing ideas that I know their grands love.

Please know that I don't ever want my grands to move away. But, those cute ideas that long distance grandmas have that are so much fun and so creative sometimes bring a tinge of..... oh, that would be so much fun to get to do those special grandma things!

Just like years ago when I envied the Indian woman who was home caring for her home and her children I sometimes forget just how blessed I am. So today, I am very thankful for Lisa's beautifully written and heartfelt post. It was an excellent reminder to me. It gave me a clear perspective on just how messed up those tinges of me feeling like I am missing out on something are.

Please forgive me my long distance grandma friends. I deeply admire all you do for your grands and the strength that you have to endure the miles. And most importantly please know that I know how truly blessed I am.


  1. Very well put. I know Lisa appreciates what what you wrote. I am a follower of her blog also. I am so proud of her being so honest about her feelings. :)

  2. A sweet post, Shelley. Thank you for mentioning me (and my heartache). :o) Yes, you're truly blessed, and I'm sure your grandkids have no doubt what a blessing you are to them.

  3. You are correct that being a "close by" grandmother and a "far away" grandmother are two different experiences. Like you, I'm a close by grandmother who would not want to change my lot. But my far away grandmother friends get to visit their grandchildren and actually live in the same house with them for days or weeks at a time. They get a different perspective than I'll ever have. Still, I'll be happy with shorter but more frequent visits.

  4. After moving nine months ago, I am still making the transition into being a long distance Nana. I admit there have been days when I have cried buckets. Still, though, Monday I received the very first handwritten I have ever received from my 7 year old granddaughter. It is precious beyond words. To know that to her, I am still very much a part of her life helps heal my aching heart.

    Thank you for pointing out Lisa's post. I'm off to read it now.