So, too, climate challenges may keep the extended family apart.Some people cannot bear cold temperatures and snow, others hate heat, and still others have no tolerance for high humidity.
Each child is different and each wants to feel special in his or her own way. They want to watch Little Mermaid 20 times, and read the same book over and over.
Taking a trip with each grandchild -- whether it be camping for a week or a quick trip to the grocery store -- is one way of forming one-to-one bonds. It's a rare parent who doesn't get bored after weeks of playing the same game. The movies, songs, books, and games that the child repeats endlessly at home are new and fresh to long distance grandparents.
Video chat is an amazing tool for long distance grandparents.
Grandparents can watch the children grow up, week by week, and in turn, when they meet face to face, the grandparents will not be strangers to the children.
Last month, my family celebrated a special Mothers' Day: my daughter became a new mother -- and I became a new grandmother, and my mom became a great-grandmother!
My little granddaughter was named after my grandmother and her father's grandmother. By recent census estimates, there are 70 million grandparents in the United States.
Extreme weather conditions can be difficult at any age but are especially problematic in the later years.
Some locations may be unsuitable because there are persistent allergens to contend with, from plant pollens to industrial pollution. The good news is that the lifespan is longer now, giving seniors the longevity to watch their grandchildren (and maybe even their great-grandchildren) grow up.
In a 2008 government census, 6.6 million children were found to live with a grandparent, with or without the parents in residence.
Other grandparents live within a few miles of their grandchildren.
And aging gives us the gift of greater patience, a slower pace, and appreciation of little things; the grandchild has the perfect audience in the grandparents.