Second time around parenting

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by HereWeGoAgain, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    This was the time in our lives when it was supposed to be just the two of us, travelling, pursuing our adult interests and hobbies, and doting on and spoiling our granchildren. Instead we drew the "go back to start" card and are doing it all over again -- from the diapers and all-nighters (thankfully once again we are past those) to PTA and teacher conferences, children's toys and TV, to (in the not-so-distant future) the boys calling and us being the most ignorant, squarest, strictest puritans on the planet, bent on destroying her social life and keeping her locked in the basement. Our little easy child 1 doesn't get to have grandparents, because we are instead the parents. We can't indulge her and then hand her back to mom and dad, because we are mom and dad. Her great-grandparents, those that are still alive, have to fill the role (and they're doing a fine job in the doting and spoiling-then-handing-back departments) but they are getting up there in years; my grandparents were in their forties and fifties when I was her age, hers are in their seventies and eighties. Most of our friends are twenty- and thirty-something first-time-around parents, not part of our generation -- it would be nice to have more friends our age, but not so many of them are anxious to go out with the couple who have to get back home to pay the babysitter and put the kid to bed.

    Then again we have a chance to do things differently this time. I now realize how precious these years are. I try to get in as many hours a day playing with and doing things with easy child 1 as I can because I know how quickly her childhood will pass and fade into memory. And lets face it, I was 42 when she was born (young for a grandparent, fortunately) and the actuarial tables give me 10 to 20 years fewer to be a part of her life, if God grants me to live a normal life-span. Being veterans, wife and I are not prone to panic over every skinned knee and cold, and we do enjoy mentoring and being the go-to folks for advice among those first-timer parents.

    I guess the thing that most bothers me is to have difficult child just oblivious to all this. She doesn't see how her choices impacted wife and me. She can't understand the pain we feel, for both their sakes, when her daughter wants her to pay attention so bad and difficult child just blows her off, "Don't bother me! Go play!" She can't fathom the resentment that builds up over it. I step in and play and read with her and go fishing or bike riding and difficult child just assumes that I am happy to do it -- which I am, but I still resent having to do it because she won't -- which makes me feel guilty, since I shouldn't resent an opportunity to play with my granddaughter -- and the guilty feeling then adds to the resentment. Vicious circle. I can see what a waste it is for difficult child to squander the time that she could use to be bonding with easy child 1 on watching 10-year-old sitcom reruns on TV or sleeping. It is like being given a precious old book full of wisdom and tearing the pages out to use for toilet paper. And part of it is that I myself similarly wasted a lot of precious time on me when difficult child and the other kids were small. I know how desperately I wish that I could have those hours, days, weeks, months and years again to do what was important and not fritter away. "If I knew then what I know now", as the saying goes. But there is no way to make difficult child aware of how it is when you get up to my age and regret lost opportunities. I might as well try to teach the dog to read.

    I don't guess I had a point in posting this. Just rambling. Thanks to all of you for being here to post to. And to the other grandparents raising grandchildren, of which there are so many here in PE -- thanks for being here, and thanks for stepping up to the plate for your grandkids. I understand and appreciate you far more than others not in our shoes can imagine.
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I am one of the fortunate who happened to have grandparents who raised me because my bios were major difficult children who never got their lives together. Thank God I had the grandparents I did. Thank God they were willing to step up to the plate. It was often difficult---especially the teen years, but my appreciation for them has never waned. They lived to see their "greats" born. They never let my sister and I feel like we were a burden. We were theirs---and they were ours. God bless you and your wife. Poor difficult child---one day, years from now, she will "see" what she did to herself. She will "try" to be mom. But...granddaughter will never see her that way. That is the sorrow of my heart---that my biomom is just another poor woman who wasted her life....she's not my mom...and it hurts us both...but the pain that she must feel must be unbearable!
  3. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I understand your pain in a similar way as a single parent. I watch my son constantly yearn for his dad's attention and never get it, and then step in, and try to be both people to him. Of course, we as the loving, bonded parent, want to be there for them, and fill that gap that the other parent has created - but the resentment can build, deeply, towards the person that is supposed to be doing their part. In fact, I do not hold grudges, and generally try to live a fairly positive life, but this is the one area, where resentment has absolutely rubbed a hole in my soul. Seriously.

    I guess, all we can do is be thankful, someone is there in these kiddos lives to fill the gap. And that person is us.

    I also think, that in retrospect, I have tried too hard to wash away the pain, for my son's void. I think I have created blurred boundaries, and not allowed him to breathe though the pain. Sometimes we have to accept that life is really really hard, even for our kids. Yet, most kids, in the end, are stronger, deeper, more introspective, because of hardships, whatever they may be.

    Good post, good to think and ponder these things.
  4. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    You are making a huge difference in their lives. It's a sacrifice on your part...and it's critical in theirs.

    Thank you for being there for your grandchildren.

  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Ditto - you are creating memories that will bring you peace and joy in your old age and your little easy child will cherish these years spent filled with your and wife's love and tender care. You are contributing to a positive future.
  6. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    What a tremendous responsibility and joy to parent a grand child. You have the incredible wisdom that only perspective and experience provides.

    What a gift you are giving to your daughter and your grand daughter. Blessings!!
  7. KFld

    KFld New Member

    I give all of you who are raising their grandchildren so much credit. I really don't know if I would be able to step up to the place and take that roll at this place in my life. I guess in a way that makes you much bigger people then I.
  8. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    Oh, no, no! I am very sure you, and everyone here, would be willing and able to do whatever was needed. Look at what you have done over the past few months/years and think if you would've thought beforehand that you could come through with flying colors. You're one of the "biggest" people around.
  9. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    You have no idea how nice your words are to read. I am positive the reason your grandparents never made you and your sister feel like a burden is because they never thought of you that way, but rather as a blessing.

    It didn't come out so much in my post but that is how we feel about easy child 1. She is the greatest blessing in our lives, and I am sure that God's plan was for us to be her surrogate parents as well as her grands. Even if I never envisioned this life the way it is, and even though I complain at times, I wouldn't take a different path now, if it was offered.

    I am sure that a big part of difficult child's distance from easy child 1 is just because of what you say, the pain that she wasn't there to be mom when it counted and now never will be the true mom. I try to remember that when my frustration begins to rise.
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    HWGA, I had never really considered the part about these kids not having grandparents. That is really just very sad.

    Of course, without grandparents like you who step in, these children probably wouldn't have parents, either. You all are very dear, wonderful people.
  11. Anna1345

    Anna1345 New Member

    And just remember, even the most crazy, tiresome, battling, draining day you have with easy child 1, it is still 100000 times better then what it could be. You make her life wonderful and will give her everything she needs emotionally, mentally and financially. HAng in there !
  12. Penta

    Penta New Member

    My granddaughter is 19 and I have raised her practically all her life. We have been through many ups and downs, but now have a strong bond.
  13. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I am another one who was raised by my grandmother, and my parents were (still are) major difficult children. My grandmother was my best friend and confidante, truly a wonderful woman and a blessing in my life. Your granddaughter is very lucky and blessed to have you and your wife. It makes me happy to know that your granddaughter has parents/grandparents like you to turn to. And your youth and health are a huge blessing. She will have you for a long time.

    My grandmother was very ill and died when I was 12, and I was pretty-well on my own at that point. Although I lived in my parents' house (until I was 17 and able to move away), once my grandmother was gone I truly did raise myself. But, my grandmother taught me how to be a parent, even if I was parenting myself. Without her love and guidance in the early years, I think I would have gone much farther down the difficult child road than I did.

    You are doing a wonderful thing.

    All the best,
  14. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I was also raised by my grandmother. :smile:

    She was an awesome woman who stepped up to the plate after raising 7 of her own kids alone....and I was the next to the youngest of 17 grands.

    I cherish every memory of her. I am who I am because of her, I have no doubt. And although she passed some 28 years ago, there is not a single day that goes by when I don't think of her at least once.

    Only now that I'm a grandmother can I completely understand what it took for her to do that, and I only love her all the more for doing it.

    Your grandaughter is one very lucky child, and so are you.