I have two grandchildren that live in Israel. I have not seen them in many years. One is 17 and the other is 15 years of age.
I have sent them money for birthdays and holidays and receive thank-you emails. But, I never hear from them in between.
Two months ago, I sent them each a jigsaw puzzle as a gift. I never heard from either of them. Then, last week, I received a small gift from their mother (my daughter-in-law) for my birthday. I sent a thank-you email and she mentioned in her reply that her kids had no patience or space for puzzles.
Is this the new norm? If you don’t like a gift, you don’t thank the giver? The next birthday comes up in a few months. I feel that sending an email or an e-card would be enough, or maybe I should just stop reaching out altogether?
I am in my early 80s. Am I just too old to understand the new conduct codes of today’s world?
My wife of 42 years doesn’t enjoy spending time with our grandchildren, ages seven and five. She’s always correcting their behavior and gets very upset while they’re visiting.
I enjoy my grandchildren very much and love my relationship with them. They spend a weekend at our house every few weeks. Living two hours away from us, day trips aren’t feasible.
While I look forward to their visits – she looks forward to them leaving. The situation is causing shalom bayit difficulties. How can we resolve this?
Dear Grandparents Wherever You Are,
Two different perspectives – first a grandfather longing for a relationship with his overseas grandchildren and second – a grandmother who would rather not.
For those of us who have reached this stage of life, we can, at certain times, identify with either emotion. After all, what do grandchildren bring when they come over? Mess, whining, cuddles, hugs, wasted food, screaming, parasha sheets, singing, mess (oh, I said that already), excitement, ingratitude, and hugs (said that one, too).
And what do grandparents provide for the next generation? Acceptance, love, stability, Sunday trips, support, cookies, candy, and cake. What’s the message they get from us? You’re loved, it’s okay to make mistakes, we’re proud of you, you can always talk to me, you can do it, and values.
It’s very natural for grandchildren, especially in this generation, between the ages of ten and eighteen, to lose interest in being with the older generation. It’s fun to hear about life in Bensonhurst or what it was like growing up in Halab. Once. It’s a lot more fun texting with their friends and playing games on their tablets. However, every major study has shown the importance of grandparents in the lives of their grandchildren. The life lessons they provide – by example – build a child’s confidence, stability, value system, and emotional well-being.
So make the effort. FaceTime call with them. Send more gifts unannounced – sketch ones or real. Plan a trip if you can or invite them here. Ignore the mess, don’t listen to the whining. It’s your job to do the best you can to spoil them rotten. You will all benefit from the relationship.
As the saying goes, “If I knew how much fun grandchildren are, I would have had them first.”