To Honour Grandparents

Contributed by Shirley Price
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Grandparents play a major part in the lives of many children. There is a wealth of wisdom, and a ton of love that many of these children get in addition to that of their parents. It really is a two way street because as much as the children can benefit from their grandparents, we grandparents gain so much pleasure from our grandkids. Grandchildren also give us a great excuse to do things that we would never otherwise do at this stage of our lives because we think we are too old.

Not all grandparents and grandchildren are so lucky. Distance can put a bit of wrench in the relationships to some degree, yet in other ways theses grandparent-grandchild relationships may still thrive very well. It’s possible that they may get to spend as much time together but less frequently and in longer chunks of time. When it comes down to it; the main thing is the quality of the time spent together.

In many families Grandparents play a major role in helping take care of the children. In some cases they are the full time care givers. Even when everything is as it should be, bringing up children is a big responsibility and often challenging. When there is health or other issues added it can become totally overwhelming for parents and grandparents.

Especially when there are challenges, parent`s need extra emotional support as well as physical support. In more recent years I have become so much more aware of the challenges that many families have had to face, challenges that they could never have imagined. There was a time when we as a family felt so fortunate that all the children were healthy and that we had not had to deal with the issues so many other families have had…but it all changed overnight.

My grandson passed away very suddenly almost 4 years ago and life for our whole family changed in an instant. Life has never been the same since. It is something that you cannot comprehend or explain and something that you wish no-one would ever have to go through. Unfortunately, these things do continue to happen on a daily basis. As parents of parents it`s a double whammy when something happens to a grandchild, we feel our own loss, sorrow and pain; in addition we also have to try to come to terms with seeing and feeling the pain, sorrow and frustration of our own children. There are times when we feel so helpless and hopeless because we can`t fix the problem.

Within a week of my grandson passing away; my brother’s daughter in the UK gave birth to a baby boy. Little did they know at that time that this baby was born with Kabuki Syndrome? None of us had ever even heard of Kabuki Syndrome before, let alone know anyone that knew anything about it. Like so many disabilities, illnesses and challenges there are various degrees, unfortunately this little boy is severely affected. Besides some of the less apparent medical problems, he cannot walk and he cannot talk. When something like this happens in a family how can it not change everything?

My niece and her husband are wonderful parents to their little boy Toby. They are very pro active regarding his therapy and anything that can give Toby as normal a life as possible. Toby is a happy little boy; he loves animals so they have a little puppy in the house for him. One of the biggest issues with having the pup in the house and having little ones on the floor is the importance of house training puppy. They love Toby dearly and continue to have hope and research any and all options of new therapies they may help Toby.

My brother and sister-in-law are amazing. They help out a lot with financial, physical and emotional support. Their life in retirement will be different from how they could have ever imagined. Their plans to travel to far off places, and finally getting those golf lessons and other retirement plans have all been put on hold. Rather than travelling abroad they are now planning to buy a trailer to locate at a seaside resort within easy reach of where they live; where they will be able to take their grandchildren (Toby now has a little brother Max) and continue to take little breaks as a family. They are spending some of their time on their home and making do with other things like getting around to adding the outdoor water fountain that my sister-in-law has wanted for their home and various other projects around the home.

I`m sure we can all think of someone we know of with a child in their family that is dealing with health or learning challenges. It is always more difficult to accept when it is a child that is suffering. A couple of years ago a friend of mine had a little granddaughter. They discovered at just about 18 months old that this little girl has Down’s syndrome. Her physical symptoms are not that obvious but she needs regular trips to Children`s Hospital and has already needed to have heart surgery. This family live far away from the facilities of Children`s Hospital so they have made the choice to move closer to the facility which means they also have to leave their career`s behind.

These children are special and very much loved regardless of all the challenges. Any parent, grandparent or other family member that is dealing with a child with autism, epilepsy, seizures or any other health challenge; as difficult as it sometimes is we learn so much from it. We become more human and compassionate towards others.

Thankfully many Grandparents today are healthier and much more able and willing to be involved in their grandchildren`s lives. I think many parents will agree that grandparents can be a godsend.


In Honour of Grandparents Everywhere!

Author Bio:

Originally from the UK Shirley moved to Canada in the early 1982 with her family. Shirley is a mother of 3 and a grandmother. Shirley is the author of LifeByDesignOver50.com a social website for those 50 plus. Shirley welcomes you to check out her site and invites you to become a part of the over 50s community. Shirley is a trained coach, workshop leader and facilitator; she facilitates a program once a week at a local community center where she teaches little ones and their parent/grandparent songs and rhymes.

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About Arlene Martell

Arlene Martell is the publisher of EpilepsyMoms.com and the author of Getting Adam Back – A Mother's triumph over Epilepsy and Autism. She resides in a seaside suburb on Vancouver BC Canada with her husband James and their four children Adam, Justin, Shelby and Victoria.