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Love Far From Home

By Stephanie Olsen

"What shall we make grandma and grandpa for their anniversary?"

This question is repeated throughout the year, whether it's a birthday, wedding anniversary or some set calendar holiday; and despite the highly commercialized nature of many of these celebrations, they are still a nice way for geographically separated families to touch base.

Although e-mail is invaluable, homemade cards from grandchildren - gluey, misspelt and smudged, delivered in crumpled envelopes with upsidedown stamps - are the wishes that will be caressed by gentle hands, hung on the fridge under hatted cow magnets, and proudly shown to passers-by.

My young daughter knows that her grandma is a jigsaw puzzle expert, so she glued a teddy bear picture to a red construction paper heart, with little messages of love written around the periphery. With great care, tongue tip protruding to steady her hand, she cut the artwork into several large pieces. Proudly dumping her homemade puzzle into an envelope, she and I went to the post office hand in hand.

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We press flowers, collected on warm walks and summer picnics, haphazardly collecting them in any book on hand. It's always a lovely treat when fragile petals float from a page we're reading, and sometimes we glue these decorations of nature to homemade Grandparent's Day cards sharing colorful memories of spring.

Children grow up fast, and grandparents miss little things - like a first lost tooth, a new smile. One fun way to send pictures is to decorate cards with sunshines and flowers, replacing round centers with cut-out faces of the grandkids. There's no better way to wish the folks 'happy birthday' than to have a garden of your children's faces beaming up at them.

© Stephanie Olsen
Stephanie Olsen is a published writer, homeschooling mother of two and ESL teacher currently residing in Europe, is also owner of the expatriate site Family Life Abroad: the expatriate place,, where you will find informative articles by experienced expatriates on all aspects of living abroad.


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