Grand Love

The grandparent support group is helpful. Guest speakers talk to us each week and there is time to chat about whatever is on our minds.

The chats always revolve around our challenges. Despite the ages of the children we are caring for, there are common threads. We all have sad tales of families that are not functioning, for a variety of reasons. Not surprising – if the families were not in crisis, the children would be with their parents. We all are feeling overwhelmed, taking on child care duties in our golden years. Fatigue is a huge factor in our lives these days. We feel isolated from our friends. Going out for coffee or an evening of drinks, dinner and theatre are logistically daunting. We are struggling to find babysitters. For most of us, the financial strain of feeding, clothing and caring for a child is a worry.

The good news is that there is a sense of community among us and sharing our common concerns makes the load a bit easier to carry. We have found others in the same shaky boat we are in. We can talk to others who really understand what we are going through.

I am glad I joined the group. If I get nothing more from it than a chance to talk and listen, I will be content.


Group Therapy

I plan to join a grandparent help group next week.

Generally the idea of sitting in a circle with a bunch of strangers, talking about our feelings, does not really appeal to me.

But I am over my head, in the deep end of the pool, struggling to tread water.  And having a chance to connect with other people who are feeling the same way seems oddly comforting. I guess misery does like company.

I am hoping to find sympathetic ears in this group and maybe some helpful ideas. It gets lonely being in a different demographic than my peers. I have been thrust into a place where I need to interact with young parents (think about birthday parties, play groups, daycare events)and I feel quite out of the loop. Young moms and dads tend to look at me as a bit of an interloper, an unwanted chaperone. At least,  that’s how it seems. Conversations are stilted and brief. Invitations to join them on a park bench as the kids play just don’t happen. I am not part of the cliche.

And my peers find my circumstance a bit daunting. Planning a coffee date or an evening out is not simple for me. I have to plan well in advance, get a sitter, and be home early. Spontaneous shopping trips and glasses of wine aren’t possible for me right now. So I don’t get invited out very often to chat with people my own age.

So I feel a bit like an outcast, and I fear that my grandchild may suffer for that. Will she also be shunned because of our uncommon family situation?

And so, I am hopeful that I will meet other grandparents that experience similar feelings. And maybe we can make our own little community.