When I had a son and when he was little, I couldn’t give him enough, buy him enough, do for him enough. Looking back I wish we had done more together. But now I need grandchildren, and since he didn’t provide me with any, I have “found” a couple through one of his best friends. They are wonderful and beautiful and I feel like they are my own. Unfortunately they live in Great Britain.
This is cool when I am aching for a trip. Free food and lodging, and tons of entertainment. But I miss them more and more, and now wish they lived nearby. As they get older, and I get younger, I crave my time with them. So I need to send them things; tangible proof of my affection and love. But holy smoke, postage prices to Europe are almost untenable. I can spend $50 on gifts and another $75 to send them. It makes no sense.
So this year, after sending their Halloween present of the book Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, (which if you have not read, you must for the following reason: I bought the book, and read it aloud while my husband drove us home from the bookstore. At the end he said, and I quote: “Read it again!”). He loved it. I loved it. They loved it. I am looking for my own copy now. And in the process of searching the Net, I came across an advertisement for the live theatrical version which is now playing in England, but has not yet come to America. I called their mom. I mentioned the theatre. She said it was close, just across the river, and I asked that she buy tickets “on me.” She did. The whole family went. They loved it. It was the perfect, and easiest, Christmas gift.
The best part of this story is that while the kids were waiting for the show, they kept asking “Where’s Patsye?” Apparently little children perceive “Patsye is sending us to the show.” as “Patsye is taking us to the show.” They wanted to see me. They missed me. And of course hearing this made me cry with joy.
The money was sent as a “gift” on PayPal between our accounts (way easier than a trip to the post office), and the exchange rate was done automatically – all for a very reasonable fee.
This was such a fun thing for them, as well as their parents (who had no idea that the show even existed.) They think the boys will remember the night forever, especially since their dad reads the book to them almost every night. So the policy is in place. Because the world is so small, and my Internet is their Internet, I can simply look up fun things for them to do with “my grandchildren” and of course wait for approval – then just send the money. These are memories, not toys. And they’ll never get broken, tossed, or find themselves on a conveyor belt to be compacted.