10,000 Miles Is Not Too Far For This Grandmother
By Mary G. Bennett (Denmark)
At 37,000 feet on the second half of 20 hours of flying to reach my destination, there is a lot of time to think. Happily, my thoughts are all good and filled with anticipation. I am on my way to see my grandchildren who live in Australia. My last two visits (2014 and 2016) were good, lots of fun and good memories. I just know this one will be a great visit as well.
“Now, they are full of all the vim and vigor that goes with their years and living on the other side of the world far from me in New Jersey.”
Yet, I am feeling a little anxious. They are all teenagers now, ages 13, 14 and 15. All three are in high school because the Australian high school system begins in grade 7. So, my dynamic trio includes a seventh grader, an eighth grader and a ninth grader. The time has passed so quickly. I remember seeing all of them when they were newly born or no more than two days old. Now, they are full of all the vim and vigor that goes with their years and living on the other side of the world far from me in New Jersey.
I have learned from previous trips not to look at my watch. I usually busy myself with reading a book, magazine articles or watching movies. I decided to watch Black Panther. Although I saw it once, it was so full of concepts, issues, costume, incredible settings and good acting. I decided I needed to see it again. As I watched, my mind drifted to my grandchildren again. They had seen the movie and we had talked about it in one or two telephone calls. I also sent them clippings from two US newspapers and the article from Time magazine about the movie.
Although I try not to think about it, the trip itself is a reminder that their father, my only son, passed away in 2013 when they were 8, 9 and 10. They, their mother and our entire family were devastated. Their mother is Australian and all of her family lives there. They relocated and now Australia is their home. So the joy of the trip is seeing them, and at the same time, the sadness of the trip is seeing them without their father.
About two hours before we land in Sydney, the pilot announces that we will be landing soon and we need to fill out customs form or download the app on our phones when we land. My excitement returns and I take a few moments to look at their photos that I carry in my wallet. These were taken in February or March. How much will they have changed since these were taken? I wonder and smile to myself.
“They are all I have of my son, I loved him and I love them.”
When I tell folks, especially friends and colleagues, that I am going to see my grandchildren, they always ask where the live. When I tell them that they live in Australia, the response is that is an awfully long way to travel. I usually smile and say only about 10,000 miles and about 20 hours of flying one way to get there. Usually, there is a pause. Knowing that I will hug, talk, laugh and catch up with them and see, in the flesh, who they are becoming, this is travel that I must do. They are all I have of my son, I loved him and I love them. So 10,000 miles may be a distance to travel, but it is definitely, not too far. After all, I am their Grammy.
We salute this devoted grandmother and hope to hear from other long distance grandparents. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org