When The Dreamer was very young, I heard a speaker on a Focus on the Family radio broadcast encouraging grandparents with tips for fostering close relationships with grandchildren who lived at a distance. One suggestion was to read stories to their far away grandchildren on tape so that they could listen to the voices of their grandparents and feel the love and warmth of that special relationship. I told my mom about this plan and she got right to work - even roping Poppa into the fun sometimes!
We have lived 4 to 12 hours by car away from my family for all of our children's young lives, so these tapes have been absolutely precious to our children! My parents have selected Bible stories, animal tales, hero's of the faith, biographies, silly stories, seasonal stories and many others to read to the children, and quite often they give the book along with the tape. The children have many tapes that include special messages from their far away cousins, musical selections on the harmonica from Poppa and special stories that Grammy shares with her Awana Club kids.
I can honestly say our children adore their Poppa and Grammy. They talk about them, pray for them, pine for them and smother them with hugs when we are together. They love to listen to their tapes during play, at rest and often as they go to sleep at night, though A Visit with Mrs. G Bible stories are the top favorite for bedtime! I don't know how many afternoons I have been busy around the house during quiet time and wandered into the hall between bedrooms only to hear my mom reading one story to one child and another to the other! It is very special to me too!
The only time we cannot have Poppa and Grammy stories are for the few days immediately following a visit, when the longing to be together is just too fresh and the miles apart too real. Often we have come to The Dreamer's room and watched as tears flowed freely down her face as she listened to Grammy's voice and wrapped herself tightly in her soft knitted Grammy blanket. That's when we have a good cuddle and get on the telephone for some first hand 'hugs and kisses over the phone', and everything is right once again.
With Christmas coming, I just thought that I'd encourage you! If you are a long distance Grammy, or have a long distance relationship with any special child - read on tape, digital recorder, or cd, I guess, now that many have the technology for that sort of thing! It's certainly not an expensive gift, but what a treasure it will be to the children who hear the voice of someone who loves them!