How Well Did You Know Your Grandparents?
I was born in the early 1960s. My grandparents had been born in the early 1900s. I can’t even imagine what their lives must have been like.
On my mother’s side my grandparents had had a limited education. They could read and write, but life was a struggle. There wasn’t enough money, and from stories I have been told children seemed to me to be a necessary burden that complicated and messed lives up.
My paternal grandmother was much better off financially. However, her life was made more difficult when she separated from her husband.
I don’t think they were divorced, but when she returned to England with the children he stayed in South Africa. As far as I know they never saw each other again, my grandfather dying over there from complications in his mid 40’s.
Gone and Hard to Remember
My grandfathers had both passed before I was born, and I only met both my grandmothers a handful of times.
These rather strange and distant women were aloof, and to be honest I was a bit scared of them. They didn’t attempt to relate to me at all. In their defense I was the youngest of all their grandchildren, and perhaps they didn’t feel the urge to develop a connection with me.
As well, they had financial constraints, and wouldn’t have realized the benefits of establishing solid relationships with family members that we do now.
When we immigrated to Australia in the 1970’s I was never to see them or have contact with them again. I have a photo of my paternal grandmother taken on her 90th birthday, but nothing else.
I Just Didn’t Know My Grandparents
Even today I feel that these people, who I owe my genes and history to, are almost as remote and distant to me as strangers I pass on the street. I know who they were, but I don’t know them. I also feel that they don’t know me because I wasn’t a part of their lives.
I’m Not Going to Make The Same Mistake
I have been busy writing a book to help myself and others be better grandparents.
You can read about it here.
What things do you do differently so as to build a stronger bond with your grandchildren?
What things do you do the same?