Globalization and Grandmas

October 20, 2007 at 4:48 pm (parenting) (, , , )

These days, especially in Vancouver, it seems just about everyone I know is from somewhere else. In fact, Eleanor is one of the only Vancouverites I know to actually be born here. Since moving to Vancouver, I have met people from all over the world. I used to joke that the bakery where I was working was Canadian-owned but internationally-operated since employees came from places as scattered as the Philippines, Japan, Bosnia, England, the US, and Mexico. This state of affairs is probably exaggerated in Vancouver, as it is a world-class port city, but it is by no means unique to Vancouver. Moving all over the world, or at least across a continent, is a pretty common occurrence in this era of globalization.

Of course, it wasn’t always like this. Presumably, people didn’t move far from home because they lacked the opportunity or the means to do so. But, I know better. This whole experience of raising a child far from home and family has really made me see the value of grandmas!

When I was a kid, my family was only a thirty-minute car ride from my grandparents’ house. I used to think it was so cool that my brother and I could visit so often, even for trips of a week or more in the summertime. I figured my mom was being really nice to allow us this privilege. Now, I know better: she didn’t do it for us; she wanted some time to herself!

This childcare thing is relentless, especially when you don’t make use of a nanny or daycare. Yes, believe it or not, Stephen and I take full responsibility for Eleanor 24/7. What we really need is a grandma or two. Some grandpas would be nice, too. And, maybe even an aunt or an uncle.

Someone should come up with a meet-up service to match lonely parents in need of a break with lonely empty-nesters whose own children and grandchildren live far away like us.  I’m thinking “Rent-a-Granny” or “Grandma for a Day” or some such business idea.  Any takers?



  1. writinggb said,

    When we moved to New England (Massachusetts) from the west coast (Washington State), we felt the same way. It wasn’t just hard on the kid to be stuck with us all the time, but as you say, it’s hard for parents not to have a break. Plus, I always felt that our son was missing something not just nice but crucial — the wisdom of elders. I grew up (after my folks divorced) spending a lot of time with my grandparents, and thank goodness. They were a life-saver in a troubled time.

    If you seek you will find. Look around for surrogate grandparens and make your wish known, explicitly, to those you meet and like, and you may be surprised that you find some wonderful people who are quite willing to become a part of your family! We did 🙂

  2. kelseywood said,

    Thanks for the comment! Having a baby in a foreign land has actually been a great way to meet other couples my age with children. The local community centers offer some wonderful classes and programs like tot gyms where they have all kinds of toys I’d never have the money or the room for. But, like I said, the people I meet on such outings and at the playgrounds already have their own children:). Grandmas are hard to come by!

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