I look around my life and I find that there are so many people that I know that are grandparents and they are raising their grandchildren. Where are the parents? Sadly, this is the world that we live in, we see more and more families with this situation. I never thought in a million years, that I would be joining the ranks of this group of grandparents, but here I am.
I have 2 beautiful grand daughters, ages 8 and 9 that I love with all my heart. I have been in their lives since the day they were born, in fact my husband (Papa) cut the youngest ones umbilical cord. They were at my house as much, if not more, than they were in their own homes. You see, they lived right behind me in an apartment that my husband and I own until last spring. My daughter decided to move and shortly after that , the girls came to live with me.
I have 3 children, the girls’ mom (31 yrs old), a daughter (19 yrs old) and my son (16). I have basically raised all my children and now I feel as though I am starting over. With the situation the way it is with my oldest daughter, I wouldn’t have the girls anywhere else, but that doesn’t mean that it is easy by any means! I just don’t have the energy I had when I was younger and raising my own children. I became disabled several years ago, and due to that I just don’t have the physical ability to do things with my grandchildren that I would like to do. Since I am the parent at this stage in their life, it does require things like doing homework, bath time, school functions, sports, etc. All of those activities, take a toll on my husband and I physically, emotionally and financially. I mean something as simple as getting dinner on the table, doing homework, making sure they are brushing their teeth and taking showers, and then bedtime prayers, wears me out! I am not old by any means, but I am not a spring chicken anymore either.
I admit, I find myself getting mad or frustrated because while I want to be the grandparent that spoils them , fills them with sugar and sends them home, I don’t get to do fun stuff like that. Instead, I have to be the disciplinarian in their lives, and teach them the life skills that a parent should be teaching them. There are challenges involved with the girls , simply because of their emotional state of mind. I found that on days they are missing their mom really bad, they each react in their own different ways. While one of the girls gets sassy and starts acting out, the other one seems to internalize it and gets emotional and clingy. I have sat them both down and talked with them, telling them instead of “acting out” and getting into trouble, to come talk to me. I have given them both journals , so they can write their “feelings” down. However, they are 8 and 9, and they just don’t know how to handle the emotions they are feeling. Prior to coming to live with me, their mom was a single mom for most of their lives. Their dad has been in and out of their lives since the day they were born. So, when they are missing somebody, it is always mom. All I can do is pray over them and be the best parent I know how to be.
I am hoping by writing this post there will be other grandparents out there that are in the same shoes as me, to at the very least know that they aren’t alone. In fact, I looked up some statistics and I found some shocking numbers. In 2010 about 1 in 14 children in the US lived in a household headed by a grandparent, 7% of the children in the US. According to the articles I have read on this subject, that is approx. 4.9 million children. About 920,000 children were living in a grandparents home without one of their parents. How crazy is that statistic!?
I said it before and I will say it again, I LOVE my granddaughters with all my heart and I am so thankful that God has placed them in my home, so I know that they are safe and have a stable home. I hope that as the girls grow up, they know that their Papa and I have done the best job we know in raising them. I pray constantly and hourly for my oldest daughter that she will “wake up” and realize that her girls need her more and more with each passing day. I hope that one day, I will get to be that Nana that spoils the heck out of them and sends them home to their mom, in a loving and stable home. I hope that in some way, I have opened my readers eyes to the joys and tribulations to Grandparents raising grandchildren.