Where would we be without grandparents?
Stuck. That’s where I would be if hadn’t been for the support of my parents when my children were little. As my granny moved into a care home this week and my mum becomes her main spokesperson and carer I have been pondering how the tables have turned. Where my granny once cared for my mum, and for me in the summer holidays, we are now caring for her.
And that maybe one day the same roles will be reversed for me with my parents. They might be sprightly now (still skiing on an annual basis for instance) but old age comes to us all, doesnt it? And it stands to reason that at some point in the next twenty years discussions will have to be had about how to care for them. Or indeed amongst my children about how to care for me.
When my children were little I was a single parent trying to hold down a full time job. I often remarked how I had 15 days holiday whilst they had fifteen weeks. Even sharing holidays between myself and my ex husband left my childcare cover woefully short and my parents didn’t hesitate to step in. They took all three of my children for the entire summer holidays to help me. Being totally hands on grandparents despite the fact they were also working at running their own business. But they were there for my children and did all they could to support me and I really couldn’t have done it without them. The cost of childcare if I had to find a nanny or holiday camps would have been astronomical.
I laugh now at how my mum would fly back from France where they lived, with all three of them in tow and land at Southampton and jump on the train with them. All part of the adventure of having grandparents who ran a vineyard! I would be standing on the platform at Basingstoke, ready to spot which door they would fall out of, cases and hand luggage flung behind them and as I grabbed them and hugged thanks to my mum the train doors would close and she would carry on up to London for an overnight stay before flying back to France the following day. It seems crazy now but it was what we did so that my children could spend long summers in France, running through vines and riding their bikes with total freedom. It was all thanks to my parents that any of that was possible.
Even Mr B’s parents have stepped in as the best step-grandparents a child could ever wish for. In fact they aren’t referred to as step grandparents at all, they are just granny Pat and Papa Jim. My children were 3, 6 and 7 when I met Mr B and right from the word go his parents were there for us all and made us feel very much part of the family. Lessons in sewing, hockey, pooh sticks, trips to National Trust gardens, daft presents at Christmas, they have done it all. In bucket loads
Things have changed now and clearly as my children have grown up they don’t really need the hands on approach of grandparents during the summer holidays but that doesn’t mean they don’t still love spending time with them on big family lunches or over Christmas.
Or indeed vow to go with them when my parents announced this Christmas they were going to Ibiza for a week this year because they have heard so much about it and thought it might be fun.
And now here I am getting ready to become a grandparent myself. Gosh that feels weird, but unbelievably brilliant
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