Monday, May 16, 2011

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren - What We Can & Can't Do....

I would like to welcome you to my blog if this is the first time you have stopped by and if you are a grandparent raising your grandchildren. I want to let you know you are loved and appreciated and I understand how difficult it is for you at times, because I too, am raising my grandchildren.

I would say most of us have wonderful memories of our grandparents as we grew up. I know I did. My grandmother sitting and sewing new clothes for my sisters and I, doll clothes, my sisters prom and wedding dresses, spending summers with my grandparents in San Diego, Reno or where ever they was just s0mething I did and something I wanted to do for my grandchildren.

My first Slurpee was with my grandparents in a small burger stand between Reno and Fallon, Nevada. My first cream soda, trip to a public library, trips to Sea World and Disneyland, learning to shop sales and with coupons were all learned with my grandparents.

Most of all, I learned to enjoy the company of my grandparents and while they spoiled me in some ways, they were very set in their ways, loved us very much, but we minded our manners.

I was thinking yesterday about my granddaughter who recently turned 10 and all we did to make her day perfect: She asked for new clothes and a day at the movie with her friends. My hubby and I spent hours shopping for the few things we got her because she is very particular. We got her an ice cream cake filled with Roses for her birthday cake since her middle name is Roze and she had her best friend over. Her gift bags were uber pretty and she loved them and saved them.

After the celebration, she, her BFF and myself went to see Rio. Being a cool grandma, I sat in another part of the cinema...I could see them, but I wasn't intruding. Five minutes into the show, they came to sit by me. After movies, we walked through the mall and headed out to WalMart where she purchased these glasses.

She stayed home Friday night, we attended a special church even on Saturday and from there, she spent the rest of the week-end with her friend. Last night she was happy to be home.

So, I was able to give her happiness on this evening. We can all do this for our grandchildren whether they live with us or not. But I worry sometimes about what I can't give them.

1. I can't give them the time back with their parents. Their parents are walking down their own path (in our case it was drugs and prison). But I can do my best to let their parents stay in contact with them as often as the choose to.
2. No matter how much I tell them their mom is busy and loves them, I can't make her call and talk to them, all I can do is remain positive. We are NOT their parents!
3. I can't give time to them as a grandparent would spoiling them to pieces because I have to give them direction, rules, hugs, love and so much of my time is spent parenting them. But I can make sure each one has alone time with me so they feel special!
4. I can tell them how wonderful and great they are, but I can't tell them why certain people in their life have pulled away from them. I do tell them that we have no power to make others do what they don't want to do!
5. I can tell them none of this is their fault, but I can't make them believe it...I know they believe it, but I can't make them.
6. I can't and won't ever lie to them. If we lie to them, then they will never trust us. The truth may hurt but we need to know what to say, when to say it and how much to say. As they get older, they will see court documents, letters, etc. to back up our truths. Make sure it is truthful!
7. I can't say bad things about their parents and those who close them out, it isn't good for them, so I do my best to say nothing at all or just tell the truth. These children no matter what, still love their parents! Don't try to take that away from them, they have lost so much already!
8. I can give them freedom to be children. But I can't make them free from their worries of someday being taken away from us.
9. I can educate them about the ills of drugs, but I can't be with them 24 hours a day to make sure they don't use them...prayer comes in during the times we are apart!
10. I can give them the best part of me I can...that may mean no trips to Disneyland, Paris, Acapulco or any of the other places their friends go, but where ever we go, I can make it fun and memorable. I can dance with them in the living room in our pajamas, play chopsticks badly on the piano, make up songs, bake cupcakes, cookies, read stories and pray with them before school and at bedtime and any other times.
11. I can and do let them know they are special, they can accomplish anything they want and I know they will come through this with some scars, but they will find their way and it will be good!

I hear words like: Mature, happy, calm, peaceful, insighful, loving, kind, special about all three of my grandchildren that I am raising. This tells me, they are happy and feel at peace. That is what we as grandparents give to our grandchildren we are raising. PEACE!!

Peace from the unknown, the fears, the chaos, the hunger, the fights, etc.

Hug your grandchildren today, let them know you love them and if they don't live close as mine do and some don't, send them a card and say, I am thinking of you!

We can't protect them from what they have lived through and already know. But, we can love them and we can reach out to other grandparents to make their journey easier.



Scrappy quilter said...

Beautifully written. So many grandparents taking care of their grandchildren in today's society. I applaud them!! Hugs

Brenda said...

you are awesome! well said

autumnesf said...

I know I've told you before how wonderful I think it is that you raise your grandchildren. Too many people will let them go into the system and just say they are too old, too broke, whatever. It is a hard job and takes true love and determination to carry out.

As an adoptive parent I agree so much with what you wrote. I will add though that I envy you the biological connection. This cannot ever be overstated. That is the one thing I can never give my daughter. I don't even have any information on her family whatsoever. I ache to be able to give her more information but it just isn't there to be had. We even paid an investigator to see what else he could find out...the the police paperwork gives no info.

So even if you did everything else would still be able to give them one of the things my daughter will always search for....biological/family roots.

Good bless you and your husband!