As I consider our journey as grandparents raising a grandchild, I am very thankful that I have partner to share the journey with. Allene, “Lolli”, is definitely my partner. We partner in the responsibilities that we have related to taking care of Sebellah. I am usually the person that takes care of Sebellah when she first gets up. I am a morning person, “Lolli”, not so much. I am Sebellah’s breakfast attendant. Lolli is Sebellah’s hair person, although I will be getting lessons before we head out on our 26-day adventure across country. Lolli is also the person who fixes Sebellah’s lunch that she takes to preschool. I am the one who does the “night, night” duties. I think we would both say that we equally share the day-to-day tasks involved in providing for Sebellah. I can only imagine how difficult this would be if I was doing this as a single grandparent, and I know that there are many who are doing that. I have great respect for what you do.
Partnership is not only about sharing the responsibilities and tasks involved. Allene and I talk about our experience and are honest with each other about the challenges and frustrations that we experience. We also partner in encouraging each other to take advantage of opportunities that come our way, even when it means that we will have to pick up the slack for an evening, a day or a weekend. We know the value of those times with our friends or family members.
Partnership is crucial whether you have a spouse or significant other, or not. I do believe attempting to do this alone, is unbearable and not in the interest of either the grandparent or the child involved. If you are a single grandparent, it is important to find people and resources to partner with. You may need to ask other family members to join you in any way that they can. Partnership is also one of the reasons that we are working to start a Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Group. We can share resources and referrals to help those who are not as fortunate as Allene and I are. Hopefully, we can all share ideas, tips and resources to fill the gap where it may exist. We also hope to build partnerships with those organizations in our community who can provide assistance.
Partnership is also an important concept as we parent our grandchildren. We are clearly in the role of leadership and responsibility and yet, we must look for our children’s strengths, abilities, skills and giftedness, that will assist us as we seek to help them develop into healthy and independent adolescents and eventually, adults. I believe that parenting is an empowerment process that develops as we step by step, let go of the power and control. Hopefully, we are moving from a role of power and control, to a role of support and counsel.
So, what makes a person a good partner. The words that come to mind are, vulnerability, trust and connection. It starts with being willing to be vulnerable. I can only benefit from Allene’s partnership when I am willing to demonstrate vulnerability and admit that I need the strengths, skills and perspective, that she has and I do not. Competition never leads to true partnership, only vulnerability and trust do. When we are willing to be vulnerability and demonstrate trust, then we have the opportunity to experience connection. I believe that connection is the number one experience that we are all seeking, anyway. It is in this experience of connection that we develop the partnership that benefits us as grandparents and also enhances a safe and healthy environment for our grandchildren to grow and develop their giftedness.
Partnership! I am thankful for the invaluable partnership that I experience with my life partner, Allene, “Lolli”, and I desire to develop a partnership with Sebellah, to help her grow and develop into the precious young lady she was created to be. I also look forward to partnering with many of you in the coming days to develop a community of connection and support to assist those precious angels that are serving as grandparents raising their grandchildren.
Sharing the Journey,