Finding Time for Each Other While Grandparenting

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

One of the hardest things for grandparents raising grandchildren is finding time to focus on their marriage. Bruce and I started our marriage with five children, but we knew in a few years, the children would grow up, leave, and we’d have time for each other. I’ve  mentioned before that we experienced a few years of an empty nest.  We loved it; however, part of those years found me taking time out to help care for my parents as they got older. Then, there were the two times when Victoria lived with us before, once with her mother.  (Yes. This is Victoria’s third time living with us.)

When my children were young I could send them to my parents’ house if we wanted a break. My parents are gone, now.  Bruce’s parents aren’t at a point in life where that’s feasible for them. Our children have their own lives and families and work. The opportunity to get away doesn’t present itself often. Even babysitters are hard to come by as they get older and start work or go off to college.

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:9

Those of you who have raised children recognize this problem. Some of you, maybe, didn’t have parents or family to fall back on either. You need to find time for each other. This is difficult.

We manage the best we can.

But, this year our family made an effort to help us celebrate our 25th anniversary. Everyone contributed to the costs, and our eldest daughter agreed to stay with the children while we took a trip. You might think this isn’t that hard to do, but she lives in LA, so she had to find a way to take off work and fly across the country. The other kids work or have small children and couldn’t commit to more than a couple of days. Still it worked out.

Bruce and I, three months after our anniversary, spent six glorious days away from the kids. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana. (Yes, Punta Cana.) It was lovely. The people are friendly and very welcoming. The transport driver from the airport asked us if we wanted some water. I said yes, assuming he had it in the vehicle. He did not. He stopped at a convenience store and bought us each a bottle of water! “A gift from me,” he said as he handed them over.

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

When we reached our resort, one of the quieter ones on the island, we were greeted with what we learned was the typical greeting, “Welcome Home.” Every moment of every day, they made us feel special. Our maid service (performed 3 times a day) always left some surprise in the arrangement of the bed. I should have captured photos of all of their creations, but I didn’t think of it every time. The picture at the beginning of this post is one I did take.

If we wanted something, all we had to do was ask. They got it for us. The servers learned our names. They recognized us and knew our preferences.  If we couldn’t decide between items on the menu, they reminded us it was already paid for.  “Order both.”

What did we do? We spent time with each other. Just us.

You have no idea how hard that’s become in the past four years. We lazed on the beach, swam in the ocean, and dined on incredible food.

I doubt we’ll get this opportunity again anytime soon, but we made the most of it. We really didn’t want to leave.  Who would? When I told our personal butler (yes, we had one of those, too) this, he reminded me, “You can’t come back unless you leave.”

Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. Psalms 8:2

If you know someone raising children later in life, you can do them a great service by offering to watch the children. Maybe it’s a few hours, a day, or longer. If the children don’t know you, take the time to get to know them first. Grandparents and other family members taking care of children will not willingly hand the children over to just anyone. Plus, by getting to know the children, you provide someone else they can turn to and trust. Children whose parents have failed them need to know adults they can trust. In the end, you’ll be doing something incredible and caring. And you might find you get a lot out of it, too.

Advertisements

The Medical Challenges of Disrupted Lives

Image courtesy of ElisaRiva on pixabay.com

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4: 13

I’ve spent the first half of 2019 on the go. Going to work, going to the kids’ schools, taking them to appointments, trying to keep up with family issues. Mostly, I’ve been carting the children back and forth to medical appointments.

It’s been tough. I’m stressed out.

It wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t have so many appointments with the kids. I’m serious. I sat down this morning and counted all of the medical appointments from the first half of this year. The numbers are shocking and unusual for our lives.

Amari had 22 appointments between 5 kinds of practitioners. When children don’t live with their parents, they need counseling, so we have those appointments. We switched to a new counselor, midway, so he’s having to learn to trust the new counselor, too. Then he has encopresis, so he sees a gastroenterologist for this issue plus a counselor who helps us devise ways to retrain his body to learn to function properly. In February, we finally got him an appointment with a developmental behavior doctor who diagnosed his ADHD and Anxiety/OCD. The follow ups to that appointment have been time-consuming because we’re still trying to find the right balance of prescriptions to help him focus and not be paralyzed by the anxiety. (The good news is that treating the ADHD has helped with the encopresis to some degree.) He, also, sees an allergist due to his respiratory issues. (If you smoke around your children, please stop. His parents both smoked, and doctors tell me he’ll probably always have sinus issues since he lived with this the first four years of his life.) Then, of course, there’s our pediatrician who’s seen him twice this year so far.

Despite all of this, Amari remains a fairly happy guy…when his anxiety isn’t getting the best of him.

Victoria had 19 appointments and only saw 3 kinds of doctors:  a counselor, the behavioral doctor, and our pediatriction. BUT, not to be outdone by her brother, during the last week of school she ended up in the hospital with walking pneumonia. She’s fine and bounced back quickly, but what a ride!

It’s not a competition, but our dog must have felt left out. She had two surgeries during this period.

You may have noticed I didn’t mention the dentist or the eye doctor. Those appointments are coming up soon. Yay! Some one put me out of my misery, please.

My own medical needs have taken back seat to the grandchildren, but I’ve had my own appointments scattered throughout the last six months. My fibromyalgia and plantar fasciitis made sure I didn’t forget about them during these months.

Whew! It’s exhausting when you look at it this way. None of these appointments are superfluous. It’s been tough fitting them into our schedules. In fact, I decided to cut our their after school activities to open up their schedules. Hopefully, we’ll see a decrease in visits over the second half of the year. I really want to get them back into activities once school starts in August, but there’s only so many hours in a week. If this doesn’t level out soon, we can add a new doctor. One who’ll put me in a padded cell!

Thank goodness for insurance!

And most importantly, thank goodness for the Great Physician who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (from Psalm 147:3). We never could have survived this without our faith.

 

PS:  A special thank you to our family who gave me and Bruce the opportunity to get away for a week recently. It was paradise…and we really didn’t want to come back.

Memorial Day: Respect and Acknowledgement

Sometimes others say it better than me. I ran across a moving story today and decided to share a link to it instead of my own post this week.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but the one in this story has generated much more than that. It’s a story about an impromptu photograph, a veteran’s grave stone, and an eagle.

See it HERE.

Hope everyone has a safe and blessed Memorial Day!