Monday, October 22, 2012

Emotional Jet Lag: What Happens After Good-bye

I "lost" two hours in air travel this weekend.  I'll be additionally fatigued for the next few days. All of us who fly through time zones feel it to various degrees. 

The bigger adjustment for me will be the emotional lag, the living in one frame of feeling, while reliving the one I left. I think it's like jet lag. Plane trips disrupt my body rhythms.  The longing for my loved ones interrupts my thoughts, and takes longer to subside.

 It doesn't matter if you're the traveler or the one staying behind, the separation tears at your hearts. You have to adjust to the loss of immediate stimulation and response. Knowing you can't "play doctor" one more time, or hear the giggle of the one you cherish feels like an amputation.

We grandparents know the relationship can survive.  But we will miss the sweet sensation of  the child's hug, the little hand in ours. We crave the face to face chatter which Skype can't replicate. 

Despite technology distance makes communication lopsided. I can initiate calls or write to the kids, but they need their parents' help. And mom and dad are up to their eyeballs in the demands of the moment.

Virtual fun can't compete with roller skating or painting a bird house. And there's just no way to gather the kids from two families together via email or snail mail.

        How do I adjust to "love lag?"  
  1. Be thankful. Savor the fun and joy we shared.
  2. Chronicle the trip. I like to cement the memories with books of photos and narrative using Shutterfly .  I send  favorite photos of us together as postcards using the sticky-backs from PhotoStix
  3. As a believer in God's "social media", I pray. Better than I, He can guide their school situations, shape their characters and meet family needs. 
  4. Get busy. responsibilities eventually fill in some of the hole left by the separation.
  5. Share the highlights. I brag about our adventures to my fellow grandparents. They empathize. 
  6. Plan for the next visit! 

I bet you have other ways to cope, and I'd love for you to share them. If you don't see the comments box, hit "No comments" and see if the box opens. 

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