Grandparents Denied Access to their Grandchildren



I woke up this morning feeling lighter, braver, more optimistic. I don’t really know why. I’ve been dealing with moving to another state, feeling a lot of anxiety and fear about the future (a complete waste of time), healing from a recent tooth extraction (totally sucked) and the many long goodbyes I’ve been saying to friends and to my two dogs, who I’ve decided will be better off staying here in California in familiar surroundings with familiar people. And, as always, my son’s and grandchildren’s absence is a constant burning itch in the back of my mind.

While allowing myself the luxury of several minutes to slowly wake-up and stretch before leaping out of bed, I thought about the present dynamic with my son. Actually, dynamic is a bit too strong a word because, in reality, there’s nothing dynamic about our current relationship. After the brief visit with him in June, I can count on one hand the number of times he’s reached out. The texts were friendly but brief. I remembered that I had inquired if my grandchildren ever asked for me, and he said, “Not really.” That spoke volumes, and at the time I felt a bit hurt, but then, what can I expect? The twin girls, who are now thirteen years old, have only met me once, for a few hours last March.

Recalling that visit: I spent months getting ready, emotionally and psychologically. I flew across the country and stayed at a hotel because I wasn’t allowed in their house. I was given only limited time with my four grandchildren. It was profoundly dysfunctional but I rose to the occasion and did my very best to be upbeat, loving and cooperative. 

Then I had a sudden memory of when my son was thirteen years old. His new stepmother (whom I hadn’t met) insisted that I pick up and drop off my son at the corner when I brought him over to their house. I realized this morning how many times I’ve been scapegoated by women who have been extremely self-centered, insecure, jealous or just plain mean. The upshot is that my son has been controlled by two women in his life – his former stepmother and his wife. Both women have wanted to eradicate me, his mother. Ugly, ugly stuff.

Thinking on these things, and all the ways I’ve tried to cooperate, keep quiet, be pleasant, be supportive, be upbeat, take the highroad, say the right thing, retreat to the background, show up when asked to, send cards and gifts, accept things as they are, surrender, stay grounded, cry when I need to, try to find some peace and happiness, control expectations, feel anger at all the injustices heaped upon me, not be a victim, go on with my life, forgive, not condone, move forward, stay healthy in body and mind, not fall into a hole, climb out of the hole, watch out for triggers, have compassion, love them anyway- well, it’s an exhausting list and I’m ready to make some changes.

I’m no longer willing to wait for my son to come around. I’m no longer willing to keep holding on and hoping for the day to arrive when we will be on equal ground. The ball has been in his court for over ten years now, and I keep waiting for a pass that never comes. So, I’m leaving the court. Keep that damned ball. I don’t need it anymore. It’s slowly killing me to stay in the game. If we can’t have a relationship based on mutual respect, kindness and love, I don’t want it. I’m no longer willing to serve my heart on a platter only to be wrung out and tossed aside.

And, the thing is, as sad as I am on one hand about this decision, I feel lighter and more grounded. I used to think my son and grandchildren would be in my life, loving one another, spending time together. They do have that with the other grandparents, but not with me. A travesty, a sin, an unconscionable act to excise me from the family, but what can I do?

I am a person of worth: loving, kind, funny, talented, intelligent and compassionate. The kids have missed out on knowing me and I, them.

I’m walking away – away from expectations, unrealistic hopes and sadness. If my son shows up and is willing to explore a relationship based in love and kindness, I’ll be open to that. Otherwise, I’m moving on – physically and emotionally – with love in my heart for my son, my grandkids, and most of all, for myself.

6 thoughts on “MOVING ON”

  • We just past year 1. The unfortunate part is the anniversary is on my husbands birthday. The last year has been horrible. I almost committed suicide 3 times. My daughter had me so low I just didn’t want to live anymore. We were able to send birthday gifts and Christmas gifts, but were told we can’t do that anymore because it is too hard on my daughter and her husband. My guess is because the grandkids want to see us (grandma and grandpa). I feel bad for the kids as well. They are being punished for something they had not involvement in. It is between us and my daughter and now also our son in law. To be honest and I hate to say this – my son in law in a pastor in charge of a mega church in Indianapolis. He is a peace of crap. They both are Christians and preach grace and forgiveness, but being my daughters parents, we don’t get any. She also has cut her brother (our son) off because he has stuck up for us. I miss my grandkids and fear I will never see them until they are 18 and who knows what brain washing will be done by then. We try to go on with our life but it is very difficult.

    • Hello Michelle – I’m so sorry to hear of your problems with your daughter and son-in-law. It’s such a difficult, heartbreaking thing to live with. I’m glad you were unsuccessful with any suicide attempts. I encourage you to choose to let go and create meaning in your life. I think my book (Banished- A Grandmother Alone) would help you because it’s a book of recovery and hope. I also want to encourage you to view your life is precious. Sending you hope and comfort

  • I understand. I am there too. 10 years. I tried to move to another state, and only to return. I am now thinking of leaving yet again. the constant ache is relentless. I just need Peace. There was some Peace when I lived out of State, but a detachment that did not hold the same hope as it does to live a few miles away. Its a Hope that helps I’m thinking. But also with a holding pattern of continual frustration at nothing ever changing. We are Not the enemy. We are good, kind and willing to Love. This evil we fight is from the devil. We must continue to pray them back . Pray we stay sane and pray that they come to the end of their selfish selves.

    • Thanks for your comment. I understand what you’re saying, and I’ve been there. I used to believe that if I let go, my son would never come back. So I hung in there day after day, year after year, keeping hope alive. Now I keep hope for a good life for myself alive. If we’re happy, at peace, isn’t that better than wearing ourselves down by constantly praying them back? Our adult kids have free will, so why not pray for healing for all concerned and go on with your day. Have faith that healing will happen and in the meantime, take the focus of the adult child and let yourself relax and shine your own light in this world.

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