Years pass and disperse people. They pick them up and fling them to far corners. That may give too much responsibility to the years and not enough to individuals, but, still…

Chasing a dream
Chasing a dream

I seem to spend as much time in cars and planes as I do in front of my own fireplace. I have the desire and privilege to see where my far-flung family lights.

Spotting my grandchildren when they lived in Illinois for a time.
Spotting my grandchildren when they lived in Illinois for a few years.

While my home and garden cry out for attention I turn my back and head for the destinations my children and grandchildren have chosen. I can’t always keep up with changes in apartments, but I try. And I absolutely want/need to know the college, the town, the general location.

The cool thing about kid-spotting is that the destination isn’t important. Who cares if I don’t love Hollywood? Why not go to Claremont Village again? So what if it rains in Vancouver/Eugene/Portland/Coquille?

My granddaughter straddling the equator in Ecuador.
My granddaughter straddling the equator in Ecuador.

Even if Illinois is not a vacation destination, I’m not going in order to see the sites or enjoy the weather. I’m going for the joy of time with the people whose lives hold great interest for me. When I trail doggedly after them I can later visualize them as they go about their lives.  (Many years ago I could know where they were when they answered their phone. Those days are gone, gone, gone.)

I love knowing what posters are on the walls. I can picture where each grandchild is walking to class or throwing their coat when they enter their room. I know where they love to eat out and where they are cooking their dinner. If I send them a grocery gift card I can imagine where the fruit will be on the counter.

The latest college visit to Claremont. (Our second grandchild to take us there)
The latest college visit.

It can be a challenge. I can’t fly to Colorado or Arizona each time my granddaughter and/or grandson changes apartments. But I can make sure that I am familiar with the town where they live. If I’m lucky I have been to where they work.

Korea may have been the longest trip so far. My son and his family were there for a year.
Korea may have been the longest trip so far. My son and his family were there for a year.

Sometimes Skype works as a stopgap. In her Freshman year at Prescott, my granddaughter positioned her computer so that we could talk as she fixed dinner in her first house. (I didn’t make it that term. ) My son gave a tour from his rooftop in Seoul until I could fly there a few months later.

But I’m driven to see them in person. I visited Prescott for the next term. Another year my husband and I drove to Logan to pick up my grandson who was attending college at Utah State.

My spotting has taken me to some exotic places. And it has landed me in dirty cities, on dusty highways, and at crowded airports. It has provided me long days and short nights but has always given me joy. Holding those I love in my mind’s eye helps me feel close to them.

What a privilege to indulge this obsession of mine!


*This “spotting” urge is not limited to kids. I follow other members of my family, too.




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