I had the opportunity last week to take a time of “respite” and go to Tennessee and visit my son and his family. I had a great visit and it was nice to have an opportunity to be there and just be, “Pops” with Kamdyn and Evie, two of my other grandchildren. We met them last summer at Disney World but during the visit, I was Sebellah’s parent first, and “Pops” to Kamdyn and Evie, second. That is a dynamic that you may not always think about, unless you are in the situation. Raising a grandchild does definitely affect your ability to be a grandparent to your other grandchildren. It affects the energy, time, and focus that you might otherwise have to offer them. So, I took the trip to Tennessee to be able to offer my undivided focus and attention to Kamdyn and Evie. It was time well spent.
It is important to find times and means of “Respite”, during this experience of raising a grandchild. We have to survive this experience as well, and we need times to be able to refill our emotional and physical gas tanks. We may need an individual respite and if you are married, you will definitely need times of respite as a couple. Times of respite not only benefit us as individuals and couples, but our increased healthiness will benefit those precious ones that we are caring for on a daily basis.
Of course, one of the issues in being able to experience times of respite, is having the resources of people to help us. Hopefully, you have some family members who can help, but not everyone does. One of the things that we hope to develop is a babysitter resource list. A few days of respite is great, but evening a night out to go to dinner or an event, is a great gift for grandparents raising a grandchild.
I am so thankful for Allene, my wife, who was willing to take on double duty for a few days, so that I could take my 5 days of respite, and make the trip to Tennessee.
Sharing the Journey,