Controversial Topic: Is It OK For Grandparents To Be Absent Too?Christine Coppa
Today is Grandparents Day at JD’s school. The grandparent-themed muffins, tea, and art projects got me thinking about the absent grandparents. When I was pregnant with JD, I had a few email exchanges with his father’s mom and they were cordial and sweet. She was excited to buy “little person” clothes. When dad was on board with my pregnancy, so was she and I assume his adoptive dad as well. Things quickly changed when dad bowed out. His parents did chose that decision too. I’m not exactly surprised. A lot of my friends are baffled and plain old angry about this, but I’m just kind of whatever about it. They live states and states away and I mean, I’ve never met them myself. One of my mom friend’s moms said: “You couldn’t keep me away from my grandchild even if my child wasn’t involved.” So that’s one opinion. I called JD’s grandmother after he was born. She calmly and casually told me she didn’t think it was a good idea if she or her husband meet JD. And then she coolly and quickly hung up on me. It was an emotional moment, but I had a newborn to take care of, post-pregnancy hormones to breathe through, so it was kind of pushed under the rug. It’s 5 years later and JD has never received a card, a gift, or any type of acknowledgment from his paternal grandparents. They are standing by their son’s decision not to be involved. But they are also enabling and agreeing with it. It’s a gray area, not necessarily black or white. I get it. People act differently in situations. I can say with certainty, my parents would force my brothers to be involved in their kids’ lives IF (lol) they pulled some crap about not being involved and my parents would love that baby up. They just would. Period. But, my brothers wouldn’t abandon their kids. Period. I know this is all “rah-rah my family,” but it’s the truth.
I grew up with two sets of active, loving grandparents so sometimes I do have a hard time dealing with this. I also have a best friend who had no relationship with her dad until she was well into her teens, yet her father’s parents were always emotionally, physically, and financially involved. Personally, I’m just numb about it. I have no serious or strong feelings about my son’s other grandparents. I’m sure this is my subconscious protecting me or something, maybe I’ve unhealthily blocked it out, but whatever gets ya through the day, right?
JD is lucky to have my dad, my mom, and my dad’s girlfriend Karen too. They are all active in his life. So while I have memories of sleepovers, sitting on the counter at my Nanny’s bakery, getting my sneaker stuck in a hole while feeding ducks with my Poppy, and of the Grandparents tea at school, so does JD. Just via my side.
He’s not really missing anything and he’ll always have the option to reach out to them in his own time. I would never stand in his way. I unfortunately have no idea what they are privy to when it comes to the real, legal agreement I have with their son or if they in fact know he’s permitted visitation. I’m sure they got some story, but which one I can’t say. Here’s what I know. The brief exchange I had with my ex’s mom wasn’t bad and I’d be open to meeting her. I understand this is weird for them.
Anywhoooo, JD is at Grandparents Day 2012 with Poppy so all is right in the world. Thanks Dad. (My mom is at the Jersey shore, but visiting this weekend.) Poppa Coppa just texted this photo:
Should the absent parent’s parents be involved in their grandchild’s life? Share your thoughts!