Tag Archives: grandchild

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.

Blessing or Tragedy?

When acquaintances learn of my role as grandMOM, there are two basic reactions. Some people express delight. “Oh, how lucky for both of you. You get to spend those precious moments with your grandchild!”

The other reaction is horror. These people see my responsibility as a huge burden. They pass on sympathy as if I have lost a dear relative or friend. Their angst over my loss of freedom is overwhelming.

The truth of my situation is really a bit of both. True, I don’t have the freedom that an Empty Nester enjoys. I can’t pick up and go have coffee or take a weekend jaunt without pre-planning.  Quite a lot of pre-planning.  And the responsibilities are constantly in my face. Anyone who has raised kids understands the enormity of what their care involves. And unlike other jobs, this one is indeed 24/7.  So it is exhausting. (When I was thirty and raising my family, it was exhausting. Now it is exhausting times 3!)

But, I love spending time with my GD. She is lively and funny, smart and interesting. She’s good company. And now I cannot imagine life without her being my little shadow. I feel thankful and blessed to have her with me.

So it those who are horrified that my life is over, I say, “Oh, it isn’t so bad.” And to those who say, “Aren’t you lucky?” I say, “I am. I’m very tired, but I’m lucky.”