What My Grandparents Mean to Me
As a young child, my grandparents’ house was always my favorite place to go. My family went there for most holidays and we ate, played sports, board games and, of course, opened presents on Christmas. Because I lived near my maternal grandparents, a visit to them was never far away. Their door was always open to shoot the breeze, look for help, or just go to play. My paternal grandfather, whose wife unfortunately passed away before I knew her, was also an impactful presence in my early years. He often babysat my brother and I, introducing us to his old toys and the many odds and ends around his house.
After the tragic passing of both of my parents when I was 10, my maternal grandparents became the primary caretakers, and eventually guardians, of me and my brother. This radically changed my whole perspective of my grandparents.
Their decision to take my brother and I into their home was immediate—there was no hesitation or thought of negative impacts on their relaxing retirement.
The adjustment from my grandparents being a fun outlet of stress to becoming functionally my parents was, quite honestly, very difficult. For my grandparents, this adjustment also was by no means easy. They went from enjoying comfortable lives in retirement to having to put up with two middle school boys in their usual quarrels, going through intense grief, and getting back into parenting after 30 years. It was a difficult task. Their love and support through these formative years for me was invaluable.
They have influenced my life in a myriad of ways, providing insight and a different perspective on everything from raising chickens to repairing an obsolescent springhouse when it (often) breaks. For all that my grandparents have done for me, I am incredibly thankful. It has been difficult at times, but in the long run, they have prepared me for life with its highs and lows.
For any grandparents who care for their grandchildren, I implore you to stay committed. The process will be hard, and at many times, it may seem like your grandchildren are ungrateful. In time, they will come to be thankful for all you have done for them.
You may not always be right, and that’s perfectly fine. You do not need to be perfect. You just need to be there for your grandchildren, and if not today, one day they will thank you. All the struggles, heartache, and restless nights will be worth it.
Daniel enrolled at MHS in tenth grade from Windsor, Pennsylvania.
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