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.
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.