Trials and Tribulations of Raising My Granddaughter
I was there the moment she was born, helping my daughter bring this little beauty into the world. Never did it occur to me that my husband and I would end up raising her, but here we are.
She came to live with us when she was about a year and a half — this tender-hearted little girl. When I brought her home, she had been living in a car with nothing but a diaper and no clothing. I was starting over from scratch, a new mom all over.
My granddaughter quickly began calling me mom, which over time, with some prompting, I switched to Nana. I was at the stage in my life where I was focusing on my career after raising my five children. I had to secure daycare, and I was responsible for growing this little gal into a polite young lady.
“Love is the greatest gift that one generation can leave to another.” — Richard Garnett
Luckily the time where she was homeless was a very short stint, and I got her out of a bad situation quickly before there were long term side effects.
We set up our guest room to become her room, I found childcare, we got into gymnastics, and we started the whole process over again.
My relationship with my daughter, her mother, has become estranged. I show her pictures of her parents, but she doesn’t know them. She can point out every other family member by name because she knows them. I had to teach her who her birth mother and father are. It is a strange place to be in as a mother/grandmother.
She is my first grandchild, and some of what I am supposed to be enjoying with her has been taken away. I don’t get to spoil her, because I have to set the rules and boundaries. I already know what the future holds with teenagers and into adulthood because I have been there, done that. Maybe this is my chance to do it better?
https://medium.com/helping-grandparents/what-do-you-do-when-your-granddaughter-is-in-danger-63f521638105 (another of my articles discussing this topic)
Our granddaughter is easier than any of our other children, and that is hard to differentiate if it is due to us already raising five children or if she is just the easiest child ever.
For me, as an introvert who relishes in alone time, this has been an adjustment. I have a shadow now who is watching my every move to learn and look up too. She is so pure and sweet; she also looks like me with a lot of the same likes and dislikes. We play with sharks and dinosaurs, which I love that she appreciates them.
“Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.” — Alex Haley
The downside is that I can’t give her siblings; she will be an only child. What I try to remember is that neither she nor I asked for this situation, and we are making the best of it. Having her with us is a far better option than her parents and foster care.
I hope that I can still find time to be alone with my husband because we haven’t had a whole lot of that. I hope that we can also intergrate her completely into our little family. When my daughter and her partner get their life back on track, I hope that we can navigate that with my granddaughter’s best interest at heart, on both ends. I also hope that I have enough years left in my own life to see her grow up and become a flourishing adult, with some years to spare.
As much as I am embracing this, I am also scared out of my mind. We are starting the process to adopt her, and that makes it official.
If you find yourself in this situation, gaining guardianship should be your first step. You need to obtain rights for many reasons.
The main reason you need to seek guardianship is because you need to be able to make decisions for your grandchild. You need to be able to make medical decisions, schooling decisions, and you need to have the ability to determine if their birth parents are a safe option in the future. Without guardianship, the parents can take the child back legally at any time.
My granddaughter will be 4 years old soon. Time with her is already moving so quickly and she is a polite little angel, who I am really enjoying. We are all finding our way through this. We are embarking on pre-school and kindergarten is right around the corner. I still can’t believe I am doing this again, but hopefully I find some other grandparents out there who will want to join forces in the near future.
If you are a grandparent who finds themselves in the position of raising your grandchild, see my webpage www.helpinggrandparents.com hopefully it will be a place of refuge for you.