Family from Germany visits

Last month, our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter traveled from Berlin, Germany, to visit us for a week. It was only the second time I had seen my granddaughter, Livi, who is now 14 months old.

Seeing our little German family melted my heart, and it was difficult to wave good-bye as they drove off on the next leg of their trip.

Being long-distance grandparents is much harder than Randy and I thought it would be. My biggest fear is we won?t be able to form a close bond with Livi because we see her so seldom.

I just hope quality can make up for quantity.

One way we work at having a quality relationship with her is by using Skype. It?s something our daughter has repeatedly asked us to get set up. (I hope grandpa is reading this.)

Tracy is employed with Lufthansa Airlines, which allows her and the family to fly at reduced rates. In fact, they were talking about a return trip this fall.

While reading some literature on the subject of long-distance grandparenting, one author said a child needs repetition.

This is great news because Randy always accuses me of telling the same old stories or jokes. But with Livi, I can pull my old stories off the shelves, dust off and share them with new appreciation.

Instead of hearing, ?You told me that already,? I can call or Skype Livi and hopefully she will enjoy her goofy grandmother.

Each of my children had a favorite song growing up. For Tracy it was, ?You Are My Sunshine,? and for Joey is was, ?My Favorite Things.?

We had the same routine every night. One of Joey?s favorite parts of the song was ?when the dog bites and the bee stings,? and he would get ready for a tickle-fest.

As for Tracy, she would beam knowing she was ?my only sunshine.?

It was a special time we shared and I just hope I haven?t lost my touch when it comes to our little Livi.

Something that wasn?t around when our children were growing up was the iPad.

But when Livi, Tracy and Stephan were visiting, I was introduced to some children?s apps and I think I was more mesmerized with those than Livi.

The iPad app at bedtime called ?Nighty Night? was precious. The animated bedtime book starts with a panoramic view of nightfall in a quaint little village town with little cottages sprinkled along the countryside and grassy hills.

Adding to the peaceful atmosphere are chirping crickets and one house with lights still on.

My smart little granddaughter began touching each of the lights and we all watched cool things begin to happen.

For example, when Livi touched the dog barking outside his doghouse, he would wag his tail and then lay down in his doghouse and go to sleep.

The voice on the app would say: ?Good-night, dear dog.?

The same would be true for each of the other animals: a pig, dog, cow, goat, pony, cat, chicken, fish, spider and a few other colorful characters.

Once all the lights were out, everyone was asleep and there was a lot of snoring.

?But someone is still awake,? the voice said, ?and that is you.?

Such an imaginative way to have interactive communication with a child.

I was so impressed with it, I wanted to have our daughter do it again?for my granddaughter and me, that is.

It was so cute to watch Livi touch all the lights with her little chubby fingers and watch each animal tuck itself in.

OK, maybe it doesn?t take a whole lot to impress me, but I thought it was pretty sweet.

Technology has some drawbacks, but the iPad is a good tool when parents and children can sit down together and enjoy it. Grandmothers like sitting down and enjoying it, too.

Happy Mother?s Day to all of us mothers and congratulations to our graduates.

These are exciting times.