When it comes to good grandmas, my son, Emmett, hit the jackpot. Twice. He inherited not one but two nurturing grandmothers who ooze affection for him and are thrilled to spend every waking moment giving him attention and endless snuggles.

But where Emmett’s winnings failed him is that both of his grandmothers live TOO FAR AWAY.

Neither is within a distance to pop in for playtime or stop by for an evening. When my mom visited last week, Emmett’s first question to her was, “Grandma, do you want to have a sleepover?” If only we could bottle those adorable words…

Based on Emmett’s absolute infatuation with his grandmas, I would love if he could spend far more time enjoying their company and having sleepovers.

In the meantime, we’ve found a few ways to bridge the gap. We make phone calls and send videos and photos. We’ve used FaceTime so much that Emmett can pull out the iPad, navigate to the app, and call Grammy without any adult intervention (which of course means he occasionally FaceTimes –and awakens–a random friend at 7 am!)

Books, too, have proven a wonderful way to shorten the miles.

Here’s how we’ve used them to make connections:

  • Recorded storybooks: A number of titles are available in this pre-packaged format where all one has to do is hit record and read the story’s pages. Grandma sent On the Night You Were Born, and Grammy gave him Together at Heart, both of which he loves to pull off his shelf and read independently while listening to those familiar voices.
  • Duplicate books: Occasionally we’ll call or Skype with Grandma at bedtime and invite her to read Emmett a story. So while she reads her own copy of Goodnight Moon, we flip the pages of our book, and he delights in having Grandma read him his bedtime story.
  • Read about Grandma: I can only imagine how hard it is for a toddler to conceptualize physical and emotional distances from the ones we love. One of the best books that touches on these emotions is The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster. Other great books on grandmothers include The Grandma Book by Todd Parr, In Grandma’s Arms by Jayne C. Shelton, and I Loved You Before You Were Born by Anne Bowen.

Photo credit: Junior Bonner Photography

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