We have just spent another amazing week with our granddaughter, lots of family time and the making of new memories.
I am only too aware that the road to reconciliation for some is not always as easy as people believe.
Every single one of us who have been through the devastation of being erased from our grandchildren’s lives dream of the day we are reunited.
There are important things to remember.
It may well be several years since you last had contact, and so the new relationship will be different. The little person you remember bouncing on your knee will now possibly be a young person in their own right. They are out in the world earning their own living and independent. They will have their own opinions on life, all of which must be respected.
Some grandparents are seeing their grandchildren in Contact Centres, never an ideal environment for anyone but if it enables contact then it is worth going through this alien surrounding.
It is very different from welcoming grandchildren into your home, being able to be yourself.
Grandparents are constantly aware that they are being watched, the grandchildren are also feeling unnerved by this experience.
Then there are grandparents who are reunited for a short time only to find themselves being rejected for a second time, the one thing we all fear. We can see what this does to the grandparents but how is this affecting the grandchildren?
The most important people in all of this, as always are the children.
If you are on a road to reconciliation, don’t bring up the past, unless the grandchildren ask you something, be guided by the grandchildren and above all else, become a good listener.
Never have a knee jerk response to things that might be said, take a breath before responding.
Remember that the problem of estrangement is caused by adults, not the children, they are the innocent party caught up in one or both of their parents unhealthy behaviour. They don’t understand what happened anymore than most of us.
Take it very slowly, be there when they want to talk, be there when they don’t want to talk, just be there.
Keep reassuring them, that you will not let them down.
Building trust is hard and sometimes we get it wrong, but admit you are not perfect that you have and no doubt will continue to make mistakes but that you are prepared to accept those mistakes and learn from them.
Our grandchildren have been through a hard time, they are confused and angry, it is up to us to provide the stability they need.
Above all, tell them you never stopped loving them and you still and always will.