Monday, November 9, 2009

Grandparents Who Get It Right

Grandparents are more in the spotlight today than they were years ago and I honestly do not remember ever hearing about grandparents raising their grandchildren when I was growing up.

Oh sure, there were the families that farmed and all the family members lived on the farm and in separate houses, there were the grandma's that lived with families because they were ill or lost a spouse and there were the grandparents that babysat as mine did occassionally but had their own home to go to in the evenings.

Growing up, we had my moms parents and my step-dads parents and we visited both sides at least once a year and many times my moms parents went with us when we went to visit the other side because they had known each other for years.

While my grandparents loved us and spoiled us, I never remember either side trying to outdo the other or trying to win our love over the other side or keeping us from visiting the other side. We spent holidays with moms parents because they lived closer to us and summers vacations in Washington with my step-dads parents and we had a blast on both sides!

What I do not get is when grandparents are awarded custody as we were and other grandparents are, why so many of the other side just want to turn their back on these children or worse yet, want to take the grandparents to court or teach the children to take sides. How sad is that?

Why can't all of us see what is best for the child and do our best to reach out to the children? Is it so difficult to send a card, letter or call the children even if they are living with other grandparents?

For our family, the other side really didn't care to see the children (they had aunts who did) and when they did it was sad. If we had birthday parties for the kids everyone was invited. If they had them, our side wasn't invited. If we needed a sitter on an occassional week-end many times we were told no and forget if we wanted to take a week-end trip anywhere.

Then, my husband got a job offer out of state and before accepting the offer, we asked the kids mom and maternal grandmother to meet with us and discuss this as we wanted them to be involved as well. They never did meet with us, but when I had to notify the court, they made sure they hired an attorney to fight us every step of the way. That little stunt cost us over $5000 and I still don't understand why with the exception of control.

I have another granddaughter I haven't seen in years and while I would love to see her, her mother has placed every type of roadblock known to man in our way and in her fathers way, she has hidden out for years and not even contacted her own parents (one day her mom and I went looking for her all over a few towns away), when she was located by a PI, she ran again and it took more money and two more PI's to find her. While the courts have told her she needs to do certain things, she doesn't and never gets into trouble.

What bothers me so much is how the other grandmother and I became friends (or so I thought), we talked, we prayed for each other, we encouraged each other during our back surgeries, we prayed for our grandchildren and then miraculously several days before a telephonic court appearance, her daughter (after 3+ years) showed back up. While she told the court she would allow my husband and I to see her daughters, she has not.

What saddens me is that her mom has now decided her daughter should be left alone (meaning my son shouldn't try to see his daughter anymore), that she is going to school full-time (so is my son), that she has changed (so has my son), the only difference is, my son is paying child support and cannot see his daughter and is not even allowed to send her birthday gifts until she goes through court ordered reunification counseling and her mother has decided she isn't going to play along. So, more money is being spent for court costs.

Several other grandparents I know are raising grandchildren on fixed incomes and while the other grandparents live close by, they also choose not to visit or help out at all. Another grandparent told me she recently ran into the other grandparent while she had the grandkids at the local fair and they looked right at them and walked by.

What is up with this attitude? Is it jealousy? Is it anger? Why punish the children?

Still, there are the other wonderful side that help each other when and where they can. Recently a friend of mine moved and the other grandparents helped pay for the move so she could give the children a better place to live. My sons father-in-law, helps the kids when and where he can...babysitting, helping with clothing, etc..

I know a situation in where two wonderful sets of grand parents are working together to raise their grandchildren. While one set is raising the grandkids and are still working full-time jobs, the other grandmother isn't and she babysits, picks up the kids from school, helps with laundry, etc. They have made this concentrated effort to be part of the kids life!

My point here is these kids hurt when they loose their parents, why make it worse by keeping them from grandparents or shunning them when you can still be a part of their lives. It doesn't compute in my brain that anyone would hurt these wonderful children by making their lives more sad.

Our grandchildren receive birthday and Christmas gifts from their maternal grandmother, but rarely do they hear from her in between these times. It is sad, but it is their choice. In the meantime, we will continue as all grandparents raising their grandchildren are to love and protect these precious gifts from God.


Jeannette said...

Great comment on society today, we have come so far from what a extended family can mean to something that is quite heart breaking.

Paula said...

I too am raising my two grand daughters ages 2 and 1. Their mother, my daughter, rarely sees them and the father has been banned from seeing them. I share custody of the youngest one with the paternal grand parents, it did go to court but we eventually just agreed to get along, much better for the kids. Its has been rough as I still have one kid at home, an 18 year old son. Now that I am unable to work things get pretty tight, but it is worth it for those two beautiful girls.

Melinda Cornish said...

I bet I know who the friend is....I was blessed with great grandparents that all got along...I wish it was always that way!

karen hopkins said...

I did not have a set of parents who were the proper role model for me, or my siblings. I chose, as a young woman , when having children, that I would be a role model for them, and other children who did not understand what parenting should be . I wrote this poem, the day my father died suddenly. I had it printed out, and I put it in a rian proof / weather proof plastic sleeve, and it hangs on his creamatorium urn thing at the cemetary wall. Others have seen it, as I have found over the years, pieces of paper with comments about the poem, and thanking me for writing it. I wrote it not as a honor to my father, but as a request for men to see thier children as chilren, and not as possessions or even worse, non existent. Here is the poem.. * I am seriously proud of you, too, sister, for being the example to your grandchildren. A legacy of Love they will never forget in you, and your husband..
Reflections of a father,
Walking hand in hand
Sharing secrets of a new romance,
Or building sand castles in the sand.

Tea parties with a daughter,
Or taking a son for a spin in his new car
Reflections of a father,
Bright or dimming like a star.

The privilege of raising a child is an honor given you
But it’s also something that your children will teach their kids
And that’s a reflection of you, too.

You’re teaching lessons of morality,
Or sharing mistakes in life that you have made
Showing your kids you are an adult,
And don’t measure love with a passing or failing grade.

For you see, your example in life
Is all that your children might hear or see.
You shape their mind with every thought
That ever comes to be.

For, your life is their reflection,
of all that your children are
Your children sometimes become like you,
And are sometimes left with painful scars.
I, sometimes, stop to wonder,
what runs thru a parent’s mind?
When all of a sudden
you have a child to raise -
after 9 months of not knowing
what you’d find.

Will you be there for your child,
Ready to listen to all their worries and cares?
Or, will you turn your back on them,
teaching them they have nothing important to share?

I hope as a Father,
You teach your child to be giving, helpful and strong
And as you walk along life’s roads with each one
the reflections of you, their Father
has taught right from wrong.

Judy said...

I'm not raising my grandchildren, and I am thankful for that. I pray their parents will always keep it together. It is so sad to see what the children go through when their parents split up. I don't understand grandparents who aren't willing participants in their young lives. It truly is the loss of the their shame...though the ones hurt deeply are always the children.

Jean, may your blessings be rich and abundant. You have a very special calling.


PS...I am anxiously awaiting my Tea Time fat quarters. I can hardly wait. They have been shipped so maybe tomorrow will be the day. :)