TAMMY Sep 07 2023 The Ultimate Sacrifice - grandparents raising their grandchildren.

The Ultimate Sacrifice - grandparents raising their grandchildren.

Be careful what you ask for, in my case I got exactly what I asked for and a bit more. I always knew that I wanted to be a really involved grandparent, and I wanted to build strong bonds with them. I wanted my home to be a safe place for my grandchildren, a home away from home. The universe threw me a curve ball that I never expected. Sometimes I wonder if there is a higher power watching over us, do they just sit up there with a bowl of popcorn while they watch us trying to figure out how to navigate these trials and tribulations they throw at us? If you are unfamiliar with my story and how I came to be in this situation, you need to go back to the beginning of my journey with ashes to awesome . My interview is where I share the experiences we’ve had along the way and I explain how we got here.

It seems that it is far more common that grandparents are having to step up to the plate again for round two of parenting, a side effect of the opioid epidemic. Some might consider this a burden but I don’t look at it that way, that isn’t to say there aren’t days where I am overwhelmed, exhausted and feel stressed but these feelings do pass. Raising children is hard for anyone, life is hard in general for all of us. I don’t feel bitter or resentful about raising my grandchildren, I am grateful that I am able to do it and I want to see them thrive. My grandchildren bring so much joy and love to my life and the distraction of raising them keeps me busy and I don't have time to worry about things out of my control. 

Sleepless nights, teething, separation anxiety, night terrors, potty training, the terrible two’s, the everyday worries about future struggles they might face and preparing for what that might look like. The lost time for ourselves as a couple, lost time for social connections and time with friends because we are back to square one of raising a young family. A shift in retirement planning changed to education saving planning instead. Naturally that is disappointing, I had great plans for early retirement and my husband and I could really start having fun and have more time for ourselves - my plan remains the same, the timeline may have changed and maybe our grandchildren have to tag along whatever crazy adventure awaits.I am okay with however it plays out, as long as they are happy and healthy.. 

As a family we have become skilled at adapting and overcoming life’s challenges.Every second of the hard times is worth it and I wouldn’t change a thing. Watching my grandson grow into the caring and kind soul that has so much gratitude for his home and family, that is a true gift and I am so proud of him, every day. When I lay down at night with my granddaughter and she sings me "twinkle twinkle”, with a “nite nite I love you Nana” - that's a win every time! In these moments the daily challenges don't seem so hard at all. Some people may think we saved these children but my husband and I often ask - who saved who? Maybe they saved us!

My message to the grandparents reading this: we are kindred spirits, I see you, I am there with you, I know your joy and pain inside and out. The bonds that we are building with our grandchildren is something to be cherished, we are the lucky ones that get to experience this kind of unconditional love. Enjoy the moments because there will come a day that we will surely miss all of it.