There are many blessings that I think about often. Such as this house, my husband, my children, living in America, having food, being able to pay bills. I have a lot to be thankful for. And I am. But something was brought to my attention some time back that I think I took for granted.
Here it is:
My mother and step-dad LOVE our children. I mean they really like having them around. If they don't get to see them at least once a month they are calling and asking to see them. They also call and ask if the kids can come and spend the weekend with them. We have to say no to them quite often just to have the kids at home sometimes!! This is the way it has always been. I don't remember a time when they weren't asking to keep them overnight or to just come and babysit so dh and I could have some time alone. They have actually driven from over an hour away just to babysit for a few hours and then go home again so we wouldn't have to pay a babysitter. I have never known a time as a mother that I could not call and get immediate help and relief from a trusted source.
Now the confession. I did take this for granted. It was just part of my life, it was normal. I didn't realize that other grandparents didn't do this! I assumed that all grandparents were like this and so when I ran across some friends who had NEVER had a weekend alone since their children were born (over 7 yrs ago) I was amazed. I asked about the grandparents and they had never even offered. I was incredulous. How could they NOT want their grandchildren for the weekend, and especially to give the parents a break and time with just each other? This family actually had no one willing to take the kids for any length of time to give them a couples time together. No, the kids are not bad, they are great kids.
Enter another couple I know. They have three great kids and have to practically beg the grandparents to take the kids overnight and then arrange for all kinds of activities to keep the kids occupied at the house. They also have to be on a tight schedule as to when they will leave and come back home. I am sure they are grateful for the time away, but is it really restful to have to watch the clock like that?
Countless other couples I have come across look at me like I have grown a new head when I tell them that the girls are gone again to my mother's. I hear constantly that they don't have anyone in their lives they can call to take their kids and not have to pay for it. I am starting to feel guilty about this.
But, it got me to thinking. Not only about the blessing that I have in this situation, but about the families out there going it alone. Where has the older generation gone? Where are all the substitute Grandma's and Grandpa's that used to litter the church and come along and mentor the young families? I had several sets of 'adopted' grandparents when I was growing up. I remember that they would babysit us and we would go to their houses constantly while our parents were working or what have you. They would sit with us in church and if they saw us doing something we shouldn't, they told us about it. Where are the grandparents who will call up the new parents and volunteer to sit with a baby so the momma can sleep or run errands or go on a date with her husband? Why have we lost this connection with the past? How can we get it back?
If parenting is the hardest job in the world, why are we backing away from those in the trenches? How many of us volunteer to watch someone else's kids to give them a break? How many of us come along side of a new mother and guide her through the wonderful and painful adjustment period of becoming a mother? What about a new dad, does anyone even remember him? Where is all the wisdom of the years that our older generation has gleaned from years of experience and why are they keeping it to themselves?
Could it be that this generation of people think they already know it all? We have all the books, have seen all the DVD's, and listened to the experts with the letters behind their names; so, Grandma and Grandpa, thank you but no. We have been fed lies for so long about parenting and family life that we can no longer even see the side of Truth. If you have just started on this journey of parenting or marriage, how can you have all the answers already? That is just dumb.
Am I the only one who thinks this way? I miss having older wisdom around me. I want my children to grow up hearing the stories of days gone by and knowing that you get wisdom by life experience and that no matter how much you think you know, you still need the Lord. I want young families to be supported by the older generation. I want the Church to support the WHOLE family and not just cater to the kids. Am I asking too much? I usually do!