I found myself bothered the other day. Bothered because I was whining (in my head), and muttering (silently) about how it isn’t fair. Both things that bother me. I really don’t like hearing it’s not fair, especially when it’s said with a high pitched whine which, have you ever heard a sentence so likely to be whined? It’s not fair that we’re out of grandparents.

Here I am, surrounded by kids accompanied by fit grands, ones that are able and willing to take the kids to roller skate or gymnastics. Who take the kids out for dinner and ice cream. Who are generally present in their lives. Who appear to be putting the kids first without having made the day about themselves. So now you can see where I’m going with this.

We’re not totally out of grandparents, we still have one – my mother. But I think it’s well established that she’s not up to doing any of the above. Especially the bit about putting RR first. RR never knew Debra’s father although time has shined up his memory for all of us. He was probably the most fit to be a grandfather, even though he would have been quite elderly. Then we lost Debra’s mother, who would have been great at hanging out with RR at home but wouldn’t have been up to excursions or stepping in to help out if needed. My father followed her – the first grandparent RR really got to know before losing. Still, his last two years were filled with cancer and she was so little. And now we’re left with one. And since she moved away and isn’t the best communicator (especially with me) we’re out of grandparents altogether.

I do sound like I’m whining, I know. It feels like the only place where it’s halfway acceptable. It’s not fair. I’d like a grandparent like the ones I see holding hands with their grandkids. Just one would be okay.

12 Responses

  1. I sooo get this. My dad passed away years before my girl was born, my mother is so toxic we had to cut that tie, so that leaves my in-laws. Who live 9 hours away, put the onus on visiting on us (although they claim they are coming for the upcoming graduation), so at best, they see her once a year and their general demeanor is cold and conservative. I was terribly close with my grandparents and I wish I could give my girl that, but I can’t. We’ve told her though, that should she have kids, we are gonna be all up in that kid’s business. Wherever she lands, once she has kids, we’ll be moving nearby just so we can be those super involved grandparents. Doesn’t fix it for her though.

  2. I think my parents would’ve wanted to be attentive grandparents if I had conceived, but they were crappy parents. I would’ve probably recruited a couple of my aunts for that kind of a role. Having a decently sized extended family is nice sometimes.

  3. I know what you mean: we have three who would all be great but my parents are a gruelling journey away (they are in northern England; we live in Southern California) and my mother-in-law is several states away. As much as I would enjoy having additional practical help, it’s the loss of that particular relationship that hurts the most. Of course we skype and travel when we can but it is not the same as having that general presence in our kids’ life 😦

  4. Completely relate to this. Dead mother. Alcoholic and estranged father. I did end up with an amazing stepfather who is an amazing grandfather…but he lives 2 and half hours away and in another state. Mother in-law is a great Nana but we have to limit and supervise contact with her because father in-law is a bonafide creep pervert and they are apparently a match set.

    I feel so much guilt for not being able to give my children that “always attentive, present, and loving” grandparental bond.

    They will learn to rely on others though, right? To make their own connections not based on biology. At least I tell myself that.

  5. Oh man, this one hits me in the gut. I feel deeply grateful to have the most amazing mother-in-law who is exactly that grandparent who does adventures and puts the kids first. She’s healthy and active (somewhat shocking since she smokes like a chimney!) and so fun. She also lives in Florida and still works, so while she’s incredible when we see her, it’s not very often. My parents are alive, but absolutely NOT the grandparents who can do much of anything you mentioned. They are both physically unable to keep up, and my mom is unable to think about anyone but herself and my dad is painfully introverted. L’s dad is also totally checked out. None of them live anywhere near us. I mourn the amazing grandparent relationships my kids don’t have all the time.

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