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.
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.