Hi everyone and welcome to Bristol Grandparents Support Group blog. Although we are Bristol based we have grandparents from all over the UK and beyond as members.

It is estimated that over one million children in the UK are denied contact with their grandparents due to family breakdown which may have been caused by divorce/separation, alcohol/drug dependency,domestic violence,bereavement or family feud.
Every child has the right to have contact with their grandparents
if they wish and unless proven unsafe for them to do so. To deny contact from a parent or grandparent has to become as socially unacceptable as drink driving.
I hope to keep you up to date with what is going on in BGSG and I shall continue to campaign for the rights of children to have a loving and meaningful relationship with both parents and their extended family. So please join in as good to hear your views, not just mine!
I also will support via Skype.
There is no membership fee to be part of Bristol Grandparents Support Group.
Esther Rantzen says, " To every grandparent, links of love can never be broken in our hearts."

Please contact during office hours.

Sunday 4 August 2013

What does it mean to be a grandparent?

Some of you will know that I have 3 grandchildren, my granddaughter who is 13 , whom we have had no contact with for 61/2years, and I also have 17month old twin grandsons.
It is such a privilege to be given the opportunity to be a hands on gran again, every time I see the boys my heart skips a beat.
I woke up this morning trying to think of what it actually means to be a grandparent?
Of course it all began long ago, 36years to be precise when I first became a mum to a baby boy, followed 6 years later by giving birth to my next son. So I have been surrounded by men most of my life.
My father was not a good role model at all, as I have written before he led a double life for several years, of which the rest of my family had no idea about, he decided to let me down and walk out of my life and my brothers when I was 15, after having been married to mum for for 32 years.
I suppose I never expected to meet a man who I could ever trust again, but somehow I did and we have been married for 41 years this month, quite extraordinary.
So we embarked on the pitfalls of parenthood!
I remember when my first son was born, it was such a shock that I could no longer do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it, that I was responsible for someone else. Someone who depended on me totally for all his emotional and physical needs, no-one can ever explain what a roller coaster it is.
Soon I had two children who looked to me for everything, gosh, scary stuff!
It wasn't just me,  my husband was also responsible for their needs. He worked hard, long hours leaving home when the children were still asleep and coming home when they were in bed again,  I will always be eternally grateful to him for his hard slog to keep as afloat. He took on several jobs in his 'spare time' as well.
I was so fortunate that I was able to be a stay at home mum, looking after the boys and by now my mum who was disabled and I became her full time carer.
My boys were so blessed to have their gran in their lives, her love for them was unconditional and total. However much discomfort she might have been going through was dismissed with a shrug, and small boys would light up her eyes.
She believed so strongly that family matters, even though her husband had been so disloyal, it was the next generation that she was interested in. Times to come.
Sadly mum is no longer with us, but I try to live my life by her values.
She said to me when I was having my first son, " you are taking on the hardest job in the world, and you will never stop worrying about them whatever their age!"
When our granddaughter was born, I was ecstatic, I had never felt emotion like it before, it was different from when I had my own children.
To try to define emotions is so difficult and I can only describe it as a overwhelming feeling of sheer joy, that feeling of when you are little, and you are being pushed on a swing that fluttering in your tummy as you glide back and forth.
I felt exactly the same emotion when the twins were born.
As a grandparent you have the most precious thing of all to give and that's time. Time to play, to get messy and to watch and listen.
When you are thrown into parent hood, you don't have time, life is hectic, so you tend to always be trying to move on to the next stage, missing those magical moments.
Since the twins arrived one of the best things is that now grandpa has retired, he has seen more of his grandsons growing up than he did of his own children. He has been there to witness the small things that make you go to mush. The squealing of delight when the boys see him, the amazing faces they make when wearing grandpas hat, the tinkle of laughter as he waves at them from the garden.
It has a tinge of sadness for us both of course, as we remember oh so well the wonderful times we spent with our granddaughter, felt the same things played the same games, made lots of mess and heard the tinkle of her laughter. Memories held so tight.
People will often say, " Well it is not so bad for you that you don't see your granddaughter now you have the twins."
My reply is, L.........., was our first grandchild and she always will be nothing can change that. There is a huge void in our hearts because she is not there.
Our hearts break to think that she is no longer in her Dads life or her extended family. A life that is part of her identity, her family history, and part of a family who would give anything to be able to share their love and care for her.
We, as all estranged grandparents are waiting for that knock on their door, it is always open ready to receive.
Being a grandparent is such an honour such a delight and wonderful to have another small person to love and care for.

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