It’s not always easy when you have a child with an absent father. Not only is there so much emotion, tension and baggage but there is also the other grandparents to go with it. When my eldest’s father left us at the age of 8 months old, I made the decision that I wouldn’t allow myself to be the parent that stops all contact. It would have been incredibly easy for me say, “Wait, your son abandoned his own flesh and blood, and hasn’t bothered to see him since. Why should I let you do the same?” but I didn’t. From the get go I decided to put my son’s needs first and agree to him having contact with his other grandparents.
It was slow going at first. As we adjusted to life with just the two of us and then suddenly a complete family of five, my eldest’s birth grandfather had to go through the pain of seeing his own son and ex wife, ban him from having any contact with them. I can’t imagine the pain that deep down he must have felt. We all knew that his son struggled and had issues but to go that far, with little reason must have been devastating.
I’ve questioned my decision many times over the last three years. Why would I let someone into our lives, who could potentially abandon my eldest like his father did? Surely he had been though enough? Although I questioned these things and reasoned with myself, I stuck to my decision and slowly the visits, though sporadic have been genuine and lovely to watch.
This Saturday saw the most recent of those visits and while I sat inside with the twins, chatting with his wife (who I get on with well), my eldest and his grandfather played outside in the beaming sunshine, or in the kitchen with the finger paints and colouring books, or back outside with the sandpit and then back inside for drinks and play dough. The house was full of laughter with little gifts for the twins, so as not to exclude them and an extra something for the big boy and his love of animal figures.
It was then that I realised that, that was why I’d made those decisions all that time ago. To see my son excited at the prospect of a visit from his other grandad and to hear the joy in his voice while they played, was priceless. He deserved that happiness, they both did – regardless of the actions of absent people.
Do you know what the loveliest thing was? To hear that we were doing an amazing and wonderful job of raising his grandson, despite everything.
What kind of relationships do your children have with their grandparents? Sometimes it doesn’t work out as well as we could hope for, but then we do the best that we can in difficult circumstances. I would love to hear your thoughts.
photo credit: Kalexanderson