What Surprised Me About Last Week

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

Last week’s post, Don’t Throw Me a Pity Party, generated a number of comments on this blog as well as on my social media sites. I appreciate everyone who commented and shared. I’m amazed at how many of you are dealing or have dealt with a family member trapped in addiction. I find the prevalence of this problem disconcerting. Yes, it’s comforting to know who understands firsthand, but I’m still concerned over the number of people affected. Please remember, you don’t know what someone else is dealing with so be kind and try not to judge them.

The surprising part of last week’s post was the volume of responses that focused on our daughter’s addiction rather than our current situation. Yet, most of the sympathy statements I receive relate to our raising grandchildren. Yes, it’s due to our daughter’s addiction, but that’s not what I hear about from most people. As I told one person on Facebook, I believe people focus on what they see—grandparents in a tough spot—and not the issue of what put them there. Maybe I’m wrong. It doesn’t really matter because the two issues go hand in hand.

Early in my writing career, I discovered that individual interpretation of what I write will vary from person to person. Sometimes, the insight surprises me. I don’t think that’s bad. When we read, we filter the information through our own perception, our own world. I’m glad my words resonated with so many people! Thank you for reading and sharing.

Next week, I plan to give you more insight into what grandparents in our situation often feel. So, get ready for some assistance on how to be empathetic with grand-parents.

 

PS:  You may have noticed I’ve been using the term “grand-parenting” in my posts. I made this term up because I believe it’s the best way to describe what we’re doing as we raise our grandchildren.

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Grand-parenting: What About The Other Kids?

And rejoice before the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name–you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites in your towns, and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows living among you. Deuteronomy 16:11

Last week, we traveled to Atlanta to celebrate our granddaughter, Riley’s, seventh birthday. Yes, we have other grandchildren. In fact, we have six! And we have five children.

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.
5 of our 6 grandchildren one year ago.

One of the hardest parts of raising grandchildren is trying to stay part of the lives of your other grandchildren…and children. The above verse from Deuteronomy instructs the Israelites to celebrate the Feast of Weeks. It proclaims a celebration. Celebrations and holidays tend to be the only times we get to spend with our children and grandchildren because of the responsibilities tied to raising two of our grandchildren.

Our eldest, Heidi, lives in California, so we don’t see her often. She has her own production company, Dweeb Darlings, and a web series that she writes, directs, and produces. She, also, works as a behavioral therapist for autistic children. She’s beautiful, smart, and talented.

Chris comes third in birth order of children. We went to Atlanta to celebrate his daughter, Riley’s, birthday. Chris completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree and has steadily climbed high on the ladder with his employer. He and his wife, Haley, have two daughters, Riley and Reagan. It’s hard finding time to spend with them when they live three hours away. Raising their cousins, makes it even harder. This week’s birthday girl, Riley, just finished first grade and, she’s already writing books. Reagan is a toddler and a very active little girl. We don’t get to see them enough.

Our daughter,Terri, worked hard to complete her Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Specialist degrees in order to be a school psychologist. Last year, Terri married Scott and became a stepmom in the process. It takes a special person to marry into a ready-made family, and I’m proud of her for embracing Brooks as her own son. He’s a year older than Victoria and coming into the family with two full sets of grandparents, already. It’s a bit harder to get to know him since they live four hours away, but I hope we’ll develop a relationship over time.

Our youngest is Nathan. He lives nearby and recently married Shannon. Both Nathan and Shannon have Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Shannon works hard at a side job while completing an internship for her final dietician licensing. Nathan is working several jobs trying to help them stay on top of school bills. We see a bit more of them than the others, but with their crazy work schedules, it’s still not easy

We have one other grandchild, Brandt. Tisha had him during high school and my brother and his wife adopted him. We’re so thankful he remained part of the family. He’s twenty-one! Yes, I have an adult grandchild! They live five hours away, so it’s hard to keep up with him, too.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

When you’re raising grandchildren, you struggle to stay on top of everything while keeping your energy levels up. We’re trying to raise two children who would be orphans without us. There’s a limit to how much you can do. Some of my work got shelved. Our relationships with the rest of our family took a hit because it’s harder to make the time. I know of some families where this situation creates negative feelings within the family members.

I’m sure the other kids sometimes feel slighted. I hate that. We love all of them and are so proud of the productive lives our other children lead.

The Forgotten On Mother’s Day

Image courtesy of Pixabay

This weekend, we celebrate Mother’s Day. It’s not my favorite day because most of mine have not gone well.

Instead of whining about my issues with this day, I want to encourage you to notice the women who get sidelined or find it hard to enjoy this day.

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.
Psalm 68:5

As you remember your mother, wife, grandparents, or any other women in your life who answer to “Mom” please try to share a kind thought or blessing with any you know who are:

Childless:  Many women want children and can’t have them. This can be a tough day for them.

Single Moms: Most children learn to celebrate Mother’s Day through their fathers. Without a father to guide them, children of single moms don’t always recognize the significance of this day.

Military Wives:  These women have the same problem as single parents if their husbands are deployed.

Stepmothers: They get a bad wrap thanks to fairy tales. Any woman who willingly marries a man with children does so with plans to embrace the lives of those children. That doesn’t mean those children remember them on Mother’s Day.

Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren: Most of them did not sign up for this. They’ve already parented one generation of children and were not anticipating doing it again.

Mothers Who Have Lost Their Children: I can’t begin to imagine the pain they experience.

Mothers Whose Children Don’t Contact Them: Estrangement from a child hurts. This is that little baby they carried and doted on.

Mothers Whose Children Live Too Far Away: They tend to understand the problems brought on by distance, but it still makes for a lonely Mother’s Day.

Women Who Have Lost Their Mothers: It’s been four years since I lost my mom and shopping for Mother’s Day cards is bittersweet. I, always, find the perfect one for her.

Single Dads: Single dads play the part of mom, they have no choice.

Widowers:  Whether their children remain at home or are grown, they miss the woman they used to honor on this day.

I’m sure there are others who belong on this list. Find them and wish them a good day. If you have time or the means, treat them to lunch or a mani-pedi or give them a break from the kids for a few hours. They will appreciate it more than you know.

A version of this post originally ran on May 5, 2017.