This is a big birthday week for me. My youngest grandson Dylan turned four this weekend, and my older grandson Renton will be hitting the Big Seven in a few days.
I face a dilemma common to many Baby Boomers these days. My grandchildren live across the country.
Our way of staying in touch is through Facebook and sending gifts a couple times a year.
I have made the newbie mistake of buying little hockey sticks to be mailed across the country. No, I didn't think about the shipping when I bought them. The hockey sticks are adorable.
It's no substitute for spending real time together but it's better than it would have been BI (before internet).
I didn't have grandchildren back in those olden days but I remember what it was like to try to stay close to people I cared about. Something was definitely lacking no matter how we tried.
I remember with fondness the abject failures of trying to put a child on the phone thinking they would have a nice conversation with their aunt or grandpa. (They did not.)
I will admit that even hearing the snuffles and mumbles was still pretty darned cute. But the phone company was lying when it used to say it was the next best thing to being there.
And there were letters -- of a sort. My sister-in-law used to send pages full of colorful scrawls to me and mine, including translations for my wee nieces' hieroglyphics -- "Dear Auntie, We love you."
Sometimes there would be alleged pictures that may or may not have had faces, eyes and limbs along with rows of wobbly X's and O's for hugs and kisses. These scribbles were enough to re-kindle a longing for family far away.
Now my grandsons can pick out the photos they want their mom to put on my Facebook page. I can swipe photos from her collection and make them my own. I can "see" what they're doing and how much they've grown.
Still I wish for the chicken noodle soup lunches and peanut butter snacks they never get because they live so far away. They miss out on the cat that won't snub them and the dog that won't make them squeal and run.
There are birthday cakes, Easter eggs and Christmas dinners they can't come over for.