Publication:

Hastings Leader - 2021-11-24

Data:

Help for distance grandies

BOOKS

Being A Distant Grandparent By Helen Ellis MA, CopyPress, $38 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Occasionally along comes a book which has a potential reader declaring “surely this was written for me”. Certainly that was this reviewer’s reaction when Becoming A Distant Grandparent came my way. It’s a situation I know only too well. My daughter and her husband are born and raised Kiwis. Their girls, a newly minted 9-year-old and one not far behind are Londoners by birth. It’s three years since we were together, six since they were home. And if I thought I was alone in this state of severance I quickly learned I most certainly am not. Herself a distant grandmother, Ellis’ thesis on the topic of global grandparenting was based on interviews with grandparents whose children and their children span the continents. This work grew from it. Anthropologist Ellis subtitles it A Book for ALL Generations, it is. Neither side of the geographic divide finds it easy being apart from the traditional role grandparents play in family dynamics. For those she terms the middle generation, having family support reasonably close by is no longer there. Among other difficulties Ellis highlights is the seemingly simply time switch from daylight saving to standard time and vice versa. What may have been a convenient time to make contact one day will be out of the question the next. Remember the distance dwellers are off to work or school when we are ready for bed. Admittedly modern technology has made it much easier to remain in touch, gone are the days of costly international calls booked weeks ahead. Based on the how, why and what if questions distance grandparents struggle with, Ellis offers eminently sensible solutions. As she frequently reiterates, it is what it is. It’s up to us and our offspring to adapt and live with this new age order. — Jill Nicholas

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