Grandparenting Is Risky

Why we sign up for it anyway

People say being a grandparent is the best. In a lot of ways this is true. You get to spoil the heck out of the kids, jack them up on sugar, and then hand them back to their parents for bedtime.

In our case, though, we do a lot less "jacking up" of our grandson—at least not before bedtime. For the past few years, he and his dad have been living under our roof. Just when our nest was nearly empty, we've been thrust back into the days of grade school artwork, trips to the playground, and stories before bed. It's the best.

What isn't the best is not knowing how long we'll be doing this. Not because I'm anxious to get back to my life as I knew it. And not because I mind answering 473 questions a day from a curious seven-year-old. What's difficult about not knowing is the thought that one day, we'll need to let him go. I'm crazy in love with this child, and in so many ways, I wish I
could raise him as my own.

But I'm not his mother, and my husband isn't his father; we're his grandparents. This means we share some of the responsibilities of Mom and Dad without the authority to determine what happens next—and when.

My husband and I feel blessed to be able to give our grandson a safe, secure, loving place to live for as long as needed. But there's a huge emotional risk involved.

The two million other grandparents in America who are raising their children's children know what I'm talking about. My husband and I feel blessed to be able to give our grandson a safe, secure, loving place to live for as long as needed. But there's a huge emotional risk involved. Eventually, he'll move out. We could lose this little boy who has our hearts wrapped around his tiny fingers.

Knowing the emotional risk involved, why would someone sign up for a gig like this? In many ways, God has been grooming us for this role over the past 27 years. We've raised four sons of our own. It's a rare opportunity to be called upon to use all of your life's training and experience for the good of another human being. Getting to be part of shaping our grandson's life at a time when he needs stability and security more than anything is a privilege beyond words.

Our grandson's life got off to a bumpy start. But in the midst of so much change and
uncertainty, our home can serve as an oasis where he can know with absolute certainty
that he is loved. We're not going anywhere.

Marian Liautaud

Marian V. Liautaud is director of marketing at Aspen Group. Follow her on Twitter @marianliautaud

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Family; Grandparents; Love
Today's Christian Woman, July Week 3, 2014
Posted July 16, 2014

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