Friday, February 29, 2008

On Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

...or in our case, helping out as much as possible with our grandson who, with his mother (our eldest daughter), lives with us.

Here is how it all came about:
We sent our daughter off to college. She had always been the "rebellious one" of our children, distant, almost impossible to reason with at times. We got the news in early 2006 that she was pregnant. It was one of those moments that seem to stretch an eternity, when I felt God watching and waiting - what will you do? For Paul and I, the only right, loving, and moral possibility was for her to continue the pregnancy and to keep the baby with the family. We promised her that we would do everything possible to allow her to continue with her hopes and dreams, while helping to raise the baby.

It is a very odd thing to raise a baby again after your youngest child becomes a teenager. Interestingly enough, I did have this thought in late 2005 that I would love to have a baby again, and even briefly thought about adopting. I am quite sure that this was God's way of preparing me for my new role: A grandmother helping to raise a grandchild. The adjustment has not been easy. I have been dealing with some health issues, and it was all just such a topsy-turvy change of lifestyle. I had different plans and dreams. It made for frustration and often depression, even feeling trapped. I had to remind myself long and often about the bigger picture and that I was working for a greater good.

However, in spite of the difficulties, our grandson is a complete blessing. I am so grateful that we are managing to do what we set out to do - help raise Tyler and help Julie achieve her dreams along with it. Some things that have helped are having family therapy, getting needed rest, and eating properly. Finding a new doctor that is addressing my health issues has also brightened the horizons significantly. The most wonderful change has been in Julie. The once rebellious teen is turning into a lovely young woman, a good mother, a loving daughter, a sibling who is also a friend, and a grown up. Our life has altered quite a bit. I also am needing to reassess working. As it is now, I am doing a lot of baby care while Julie works part-time. But Paul and I discussed how since I am a Registered Nurse that I could earn more in the same amount of time Julie is working, allowing her to be with her son more. We have spent time in prayer, asking for God's guidance on this issue.

The Important Thing:
It can be done. It isn't easy, but God gives us the strength. When Julie was pregnant and considering adoption, I was so dismayed. I didn't want to lose this precious family member, however lovely any adoptive family could be. Even in my most depressed times, I have never regretted our decision to keep Tyler in our family and home.

He is a blessing. Thank you God.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Without The Dark, There Is No Sunrise

Today I was in my doctor's office getting treatment. I have been down and out with a sinus infection (that finally required antibiotics), and just in general poor health. The snows in our area along with the long days of winter have also deflated me. But the doctor said that he never looks at the winter in bad terms. He feels he can't truly enjoy the spring and summer without this season of quiet and rest. He said to me, "Without the dark, there is no sunrise." This made good sense to me.

I walked home today because my daughter needed the car and dropped me off at the doctor's office. It is a somewhat long walk, but today I welcomed it. It is a comparatively warm day, with the huge snows we have had recently beginining to melt. The sun was bright. I was grateful for the sun and fresh air and exercise. My doctor had given me a hot cup of green tea to go, and I sipped it all the way home. I paused only once to look at one of my favorite home gardens along that pathway. I often walk past this neighbor's house to admire the beauty of his garden vision. Once home I soaked my feet in a hot bath.

Simple pleasures on a winter day, knowing warmth will come in its time!.