By Karen Best Wright, www.RaisingYourGrandchildren.com
I receive many emails from grandparents who mention the bond they have with their grandchildren. Sometimes it is hard for a child to bond with someone if their little lives have been hectic and uncertain. So while I think it is very important to bond with your grandchildren, I am going to tell a personal experience that broke my heart. I do not blame my daughter at all, and I do take total responsibility for what happened to me...finally. It took me years to quit blaming my daughter. She was not responsible for my feelings.
Several years ago, when one of my daughters was pregnant and getting a divorce, I brought her home to live with me. She lived with me about a year after the baby was born. Now, since I am a real baby person, I bonded very easily with the baby. I adore babies. This baby girl went to church with me, sometimes even to class (I was a return to college single mom). Once she even went on a sort of date with me and a guy pal. We went to a home show and pushed the baby around in the stroller. I rocked her to sleep at night and loved her dearly.
I really knew this was not going to be a permanent situation and it wasn't. After a year, my daughter moved across country. I was devastated. I cried for months. "MY" baby was gone. It took me 3 months to even wash her fingerprints off of the living room mirror. I just cried. It took me a year to take her port-a-crib out of my bedroom. I just cried. I couldn't even wash the spit up on the crib sheet. I just cried. So I filled the crib with stuffed animals and dolls. After a year, I graduated from college and moved to another state. I finally began to heal when I was able to have a new surrounding and focus.
I was angry with my daughter for years because my heart had been ripped from my chest in a less than a pleasant way. But was this my daughter's fault that my grieving was so awful and took me so long? NO! it was not. I'm not sure what I should have done differently so the pain would have been less. Maybe I needed to go through the pain, so I could understand others or to prepare for other difficulties that lay ahead. I'm not sure.
What I do know is that I should have prepared myself better and kept in the front of my mind that while I loved this baby girl dearly and had a bond just as strong as when I had my own babies, this was not a permanent living arrangement. I knew it wasn't.
Sometimes temporary situations actually do turn into permanent ones and that is why many grandparents end up raising children for many years. But in this particular situation, I knew better. The problem for so many years was that I held resentment in my heart toward my daughter. She took away the baby I loved with all of my heart. But in reality, that is really what she was suppose to do, to move on. She was not suppose to live with me forever.
Do I resent the year I had with that baby. Never. I have wonderful memories. This baby is now a teenager and does not live near me and I rarely see her. I trust that one day when she is grown, I will have the courage and spiritual strength to rebuild that bond we once had. But my heart tells me to wait until she is grown. She is in a good situation now, and one day I pray that our souls will reunite.
Do I have any advice for anyone out there? Well, I don't know. I do believe that bonding is very important, but if you have to let go, try to let go with thankfulness that you had a short time to love a child. Trust me, if you hang on to resentment, you only heap more pain onto yourself.
Any thoughts from any of you on this topic?
Grandmother in love with her grandchildren