16/09/2010 04:20 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Moments Like This: The Grandparent Gap

Our family life feels buoyant, full and happy except for one ever-present cloud. And that is the stark absence of any grandparents on the home front.

At school I watch other people's children wave cheerily at Grandma before assemblies start. I see grandfathers turn up at netball matches, nativity plays and school fairs. Friends always seem to have this safety net of help in the form of overnight stays, babysitting, a warm haven if one of the kids are sick and they can't take the day off work.

We have none of these things.
My 63-year-old father lives in the South Pacific and is married to a 27-year-old Fijian girl from a fishing village, who looks like something out of a Gauguin painting. You can imagine that grandchildren in England are not at the forefront of his mind. My mother lives in Canada and only gets over once a year. Each time she comes there are days of overlap. 'Oh, so you don't like Harry Potter anymore?'

My husband's parents live in Holland and France. His father visits us the most and we love his stays but none of it feels normal or everyday. The kids are on their best behaviour, there is always a pressure, an ever so slight sense of the artificial about it all. We never seem to get to a point where both the grandparents and the children are relaxed, at ease with each other.

Of course, families have to contend with much worse in life. And in these global times I know we're by no means alone. But I wish my children had a day to day relationship with at least one of their grandparents. So much can be gained from both sides and somehow skyping and emails just don't do the trick.

Do your children have a long-distance relationship with their grandparents, or are they close at hand?
Are you a grandparent who wishes you saw more of your grandchildren? Tell us more