Dear Grandparenting: The problem with people these days is a lack of commitment to the state of matrimony. My kids have gotten married and remarried so many times I need a scorecard to keep track of who’s in and who’s out.
My oldest already has an exit plan and this is his third marriage. Love is a battlefield he told me. I threw one right back at him. It comes from a famous book called “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. The smartest generals are the ones that find ways to avoid fighting.
I’ve actually caught myself feeling like a stranger at the party during past family get-togethers. Kids wander in and out and I’m at a loss what to say.
I have been robbed of the normal joys of grandparenting because of this constantly changing cast of characters in my extremely extended family. I share this because so many other grandparents are in the very same boat. Judy Browner, The Villages, Florida
Dear Judy: Fewer than half of America’s children live in households with both biological parents under the same roof, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Families increasingly form alternative identities — reconstituted, remarried, cohabitating, blended etc. Whatever term applies, these arrangements commonly challenge all involved, collateral damage as they say.
We all deal with loss and change differently, some better than others. Grandparents typically feel sadness, disappointment, anxiety or even relief. Some rise to the occasion while others reject or resent new family members or side with favorites.
Grandchildren who have a secure emotional base make out best. With this in mind, grandparents should actively listen to their grandchildren’s concerns and do their best to maintain established routines and shared activities, while avoiding disparaging parental figures whenever possible. Now more than ever, there’s a need for grandparents to be the glue that binds.
Grand remark of the week
Louise Morningstar from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania was sharing afternoon tea with then four-year-old granddaughter Valera while discussing relationships when her granddaughter put her little pink tea cup down “and looked at me so seriously” before saying, “We’ve been friends for a long time haven’t we Nana?”
Louise reports Valera is now a doctor and is “so happy to say we have now been friends for a really long time.”
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.