Last week my in-laws came to visit from Ontario. No need to sigh deeply in sympathy, they are wonderful and in no way fit the meddling mother-in-law or henpecked father-in-law stereotypes.

This was only their second visit with Meebs, their first when she was just 4 months old. But with the countless photos and videos we send them, they feel like they know her. And, it didn’t take long for Meebs to warm up to Grandma. In fact, Meebs and Grandma were cuddling and “chatting” on the first day. Though, it took a few days before Meebs would voluntarily mingle with her white-bearded, 6’4” Grandpa! Grandpa was very patient and let her come to him in her own time.

This is exactly the approach we wanted!

Both MeebsDad and I firmly believe that children should not be forced or encouraged to hug strangers; and even though Meebs’ grandparents know and love her, she’s not familiar with them. Honestly, how would you feel if you were told to throw your arms around an 10-foot stranger? I don’t like hugging people I don’t know or care about, so I certainly don’t expect Meebs to.

We feel this allows Meebs to learn to trust her feelings and instincts, have control of her own body, and only be affectionate with those she trusts. It was actually a beautiful moment when she reached up for Grandpa; and it was so much more meaningful since it was not forced, but rather a gesture stemming from a genuine connection.

And now that she has a rapport with both Grandma and Grandpa, it’s time to get Skype up and running so we can keep that connection intact.

Because all of our family lives back East, we had forgotten how wonderful it is to have family close by. And, we certainly recognize how important it is for young children to be surrounded by lots of different people who love them. We have many good friends who play active roles in our lives, but no other relationship is like that of a grandparent. We absolutely wish they lived closer! Notice I didn’t say I wish we lived closer? We’re now British Columbians to the core, and while there’s little chance we’ll ever return to our Ontario roots, we do hope that once retired both sets of Grandparents will visit more frequently. It really isn’t about the “quantity” of visits, but rather the “quality” of each visit. And as far as quality goes, this last visit was exceptional. As she’s still so young the details of this visit likely won’t stay with Meebs as she grows, but I have no doubt that the love and sentiment will leave a lasting impression.