Dear Grandparenting: We had our health and our house in 2016 when our daughter gave us our first grandchild without bothering to get married. That didn’t go over well but we got over it. Then we invited her to move in because we felt it was the right thing to do and of course we could help with the child. She liked that deal so much she went and did it again, so we had two small grandchildren underfoot 24-7.
They say no good deed goes unpunished. First off, we have nothing bad to say about our grandchildren. Sometimes they were a joy and sometimes a pain, two little people trying to make sense of the world. We watched them grow and become their own self and that’s pretty cool.
But we sure bit off more than we could chew. It wasn’t working for us anymore. We felt our daughter was taking undue advantage of our hospitality to put it mildly.
Grandkids need the kind of supervision and stimulation that we were unable (and frankly unwilling) to provide. We pay for their day care now while their mother works to make rent.
It’s great to have our house back and have all our memories of the grandchildren. But we wouldn’t do it again and I bet you see why. Right or wrong? Dede Wang, Salisbury, Maryland
Dear Dede: Your letter speaks well for itself, and no doubt reflects the sentiments of grandparents hither and yon. Caring for children can be taxing at any age, but often exacts a far greater toll on grandparents, physically and emotionally.
The common infirmities of old age — less energy, impaired hearing and vision, cognitive decline, physical ailments — make it difficult to keep up with small grandchildren. Some research indicates that grandparent caregivers suffer higher rates of depression and high blood pressure than non-caregivers.
More than 10 percent of grandparents live under the same roof as their grandchildren according to the last U.S. Census figures, but hardships imposed by the COVID pandemic can only increase that number. Many more grandparents routinely pull long shifts as caregivers. As grandparents look after the grandkids, who’s to look after the grandparents?
Grand remark of the week
Grace Brock from Everett, Washington “was seriously tickled pink” by the compliment she received in a birthday card from granddaughter Bella Ann:
“Dear Grandma: You are a little bit teacher, a little bit parent, and a little bit my best friend.”
Sounds about right to us.
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.