THE A-Z OF PARENTHOOD - G is for GRANDPARENTS
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GETS GOING...TO THE GRANDPARENTS
No, not all the time. But this is a salute and a huge thank you to the grandparents. When the lack of sleep just gets far too much, when you physically and mentally are unable to cope anymore or when you’ve been asked to go on a very rare night out with friends - the grandparents are there and are an absolute godsend.
On my side, we have my Mum. When I was pregnant with Vincent, I lived with my Mum during the pregnancy and for the first 18 months of his life. My Mum had a pivotal role in his life and still does – she was there during his birth and through every up and down since. It must have been such a huge upheaval for her to go from living on her own to welcoming me and my bump (and then baby) into the house, but she would just say, ‘you’re my daughter, you always will be and that’s what you do for your children when they’re in need.’
But Mum did go above and beyond during those 18 months. During the early days, she’d help rock Vincent to sleep when I was physically unable to keep my eyes open anymore. She played with me, fed him, changed him and bathed him. I couldn’t have done it without her. It wasn’t only the physical help that I’m grateful for - she played a vital role in his upbringing. In instilling manners and reading to him. Vincent is a bright, smart, intelligent and sensitive little boy and much of that is to do with the lovely environment he was raised in. So thank you Mum. Thank you very much. I’ll never be able to repay you for that.
We still have days where we go round to Nannie’s house and both Vincent and Noel love spending time there. Her house is like a nursery – full of toys and books – with a huge garden for them to play in. Going to Nannies offers a huge helping hand for me; it’s a bit of a time out (although I still don’t really stop there), but it’s company and sanity when I need a few hours to just reset the batteries. My Mum and I have a wonderful friendship now and this is enjoyed even more so when together with the boys.
On his side, we have Grandad Stephen and Grandma Ann. They welcomed me and Vincent with open arms and have always treated Vincent like their own Grandson, something that has really touched me. As soon as Noel came along, they were both there for him straight away, with offers to babysit instantly. They have even offered to mind both of them. We’ve been able to enjoy weekends away due to their generosity of minding Noel for a couple of nights and that’s something I never thought would ever happen. It isn’t abandoning your child when he’s with his Grandparents and looking after Noel is always something that both Grandad and Grandma are thrilled to do. We’ve been away with City, had a few weekends in London and Scotland, breaks that are still always filled with phone calls to Grandma to check up on the boy.
‘Of course he’s fine, he’s with Grandma. Enjoy yourselves!’
Sometimes you don’t realise just how lucky you are.
I don’t believe I could ever leave my children with anybody other than the nursery and their Grandparents. Obviously, Vincent does have another set of Grandparents on his Dad’s side and I’m sure he spends time with them as often as he can (he sees his Dad every other weekend). They are wonderful people and think the world of Vincent.
Other people may have individuals in their life who operate in such a role as a grandparent, perhaps because their grandparent/s may not be around to help. Always appreciate and cherish the role these people play, not only in your life, but in the upbringing of your child/children. Never take them for granted. Thank them every time they help you out. I am incredibly lucky to have a man in my life who has taken on the role of being a Stepdad to my first born – but we’ll save that story for another day.
Grandparents are a rare breed: I rarely see joy like I do with my boys when they’re spending time with their Grandparents. They adore them. It’s not an obligation for them to look after our children – they do it out of the kindness of their hearts. Babysitting isn’t a job that should instantly come with Grandchildren; it’s an activity that happens because Grandparents want to spend time with them and help their children out. Nothing is never too much for Grandparents – they play a pivotal role and are creating an everlasting legacy in my children's lives.
Like I say, I’m lucky. Grandparents are a rare and wonderful breed. Thank you for being there, thank you for helping and thank you for maintaining my sanity (most of the time!)
I know you get to give them back, but it’s always the time you spend with them that really matters.