Thursday, May 10, 2007


It hurts so bad when the NY Times steals my ideas...

The Incredible Flying Granny Nanny

Photographs by Michael Stravato for The New York times

THE HAND-OFF Angela Kim’s baby-sitting routine: On Tuesdays her husband, Augustine, drops her off at a Houston airport. She’s met at the curb in Dallas by her daughter, Andrea, and her son, Noah, 2. Then it’s off to the hospital where Andrea works, where Mrs. Kim takes the wheel. She heads for Noah’s preschool and after that, home for a nap. On Wednesday nights she makes the reverse commute.

Published: May 10, 2007

ANGELA KIM spends two days a week baby-sitting for her 2-year-old grandson, Noah, while her daughter, Andrea, a doctor, works nine-hour hospital shifts.

Only Mrs. Kim, 57, lives in Houston and her daughter and grandson live in Dallas — 250 miles away.

This long-distance child care arrangement means that on Tuesdays Mrs. Kim wakes at 4:45 a.m. to catch a 6:30 a.m. Southwest Airlines flight to Dallas Love Airport, where her daughter and Noah pick her up at the curb.

At the hospital, her daughter hops out of the car to make her 8 a.m. shift and Mrs. Kim slips into the driver’s seat. Then she and Noah drive to his preschool, and after that, home, where Mrs. Kim fills her grandson’s next two days with brown rice, seaweed and Konglish, a mix of Korean and English.

On Wednesday night, Mrs. Kim does the trip in reverse, catching a 7:30 p.m. flight to the Houston airport, where her husband picks her up.

Terri P. Tepper of Barrington, Ill., made a similar trek every week for a year to help care for her granddaughter so that her daughter could pursue her career. Beginning in 2001, Ms. Tepper flew to New York on Sundays and returned to Chicago on Thursdays.

“It was cheaper than getting a nanny,” said Ms. Tepper, 64. The round-trip tickets, which her daughter paid for, cost between $190 and $230. “I actually saved them a lot of money,” Ms. Tepper said. Her daughter later made partner in her consulting firm.

Even at a time when grandparents are more involved than ever in the lives of their children and grandchildren, the efforts of Mrs. Kim and Ms. Tepper are extraordinary. But many grandparents these days are making extreme efforts to help their children bridge the work-life divide.

“To me, grandparents are like the family National Guard,” said Andrew J. Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University who studies intergenerational issues. “They are ready to step in when there is a need, and as soon as that need is met, they are ready to leave active duty.”

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Blogger Donny B said...

Suzanne, I saw that article and thought of you! I meant to tell you about it but forgot. I couldn't believe it. I honestly thought they must have somehow heard you talk about while at your NY Times internship and stolen your idea. Seriously. That is a weird coincidence.

9:50 PM  

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