Connecting with a grandson

Several years ago, my oldest son had a meltdown.  He was in a marriage with a young son.  He descended into a personal hell of depression and addiction.  During the first 1 1/2 years, he managed to keep his job without actually going to work.  That may have been the worst thing that could have happened to him.  He could continue his poor lifestyle choices and support those choices financially.

After living through a year of hell, my daughter-in-law moved four hours away to be closer to her sister who helps her with childcare for this precious and beautiful grandson.  I believed it to be a wise choice although it left holes in me that has taken years to heal.  I don’t know if complete healing is there although I think I’m getting close.

I am deeply  impressed with how my daughter-in-law has handled her life since then.  She bought a house, my grandson is in private school, and she has a great job.  She juggles the decisions, the finances, the discipline, and the lifestyle choices of my grandson.  He has emerged unscathed from the divorce as far as I can tell, has immersed himself in the world around him, plays sports, has very good grades.  In essence, they have made the successful transition to another life.

Last night she told me that she wants my son to be happy.  I have no relationship with this son.  This is not by my choice.  He has distanced himself from our family and that is how it needs to be for now.  I have also done my own distancing to preserve sanity in my own life and to keep the drama to a minimum.  I hope that distancing will no longer be necessary one day.  But I am so impressed with her growth.  She doesn’t harbor anger and hatred.  She wants him to be stable and have a calm life.  Much of this is because she wants that for her son – and to have a relationship with a healthy father.  Again, I’m impressed.  Having gone through a divorce with my son’s father, I never quite reached that mature point.  Perhaps I will work on it more now.

Being a grandmother brings a host of issues.  One is that I am not in charge of my grandchildren‘s lives.  I don’t get to make the choices that I did as a mother.  That took a great deal of getting used to.  I have two other grandchildren who belong to my middle son and his capable wife. Learning that I am not in charge when I used to be so terribly in charge has taken years of changing.  Now, I try to appreciate the love that these parents use in the raising of their children.  I’m getting better at it.

I’m humbled by the chance to spend time in my daughter-in-law’s home caring for my grandson.  Her willingness to allow this is the stuff of appreciation.  I’m sure this is a lesson that will continue to develop for me.

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The First Day of the Year

Here it is – 2013.  The Mayans were wrong.  Wait – actually, the Mayan Calendar Doomsday Interpreters were wrong.  I imagine the Mayans are sitting somewhere around a warm campfire laughing at anyone who believed the world was ending.  Their world ended, but not ours. So what do we now do with that world?

Will you be a participant or a watcher this year?  Will I choose to do more or to sit back and watch others do the work?  I want to be hands-on involved this year.  In 2012, I took a backseat.  Some of that was necessary.  Health issues were at the forefront of my thought and action processes.  But this year, I am past most of that and plan on doing a lot more than by standing.  I am making my opinions (quietly) known on social media.  I have donated (a little) to those issues that I feel are important.  I will continue that.  It makes me feel involved.  And good.

I will write more.  That also makes me feel good.  I will begin yoga.  I need exercise and I need a change.  I will seek to prioritize and focus on people and events that are meaningful – and fun!  I need more fun!  I will work harder on allowing people to be who they are and not trying to change those I see need changing (in my opinion).  I will send more thank you’s and notes of appreciation.  I do want people to know when I feel that way.  These are not resolutions.  They are going to become habits.  Gratitude will be at the top of the list.

I want to travel more.  Not necessarily big places which take long periods of time to get there, although I’d like a couple of those.  Just get out and experience more people.  That is what the world is about to me – other people.  And to maintain my sanity, I need more people.

Other things come to mind – read more, cook more, eat more healthily.  But instead of overloading my plate so that I end up doing none of it, I’ll be selective and stick with the first group.  I’m deeply glad to see 2013 arrive here and I’m ready for the challenge.  Happy New Year to everyone!