Today, my first ever grandchild is celebrating his fifth birthday. I was there at his birth, waiting anxiously for him to make his first cry for what seemed like ages and when they brought him over to us, all pink and beautiful, he stole my heart and has held it in the palm of his hand since. People tell you that there is no love like you feel for a grandchild and that is so true. When you have your children, they are your whole world but unfortunately they come at a time when you are juggling a career, keeping a home running and have limited finances. Time is at a premium and although the time you spend with them is precious it is still part of a pretty hectic lifestyle. You watch them grow and flourish and feel joy and sadness with them, just hoping that you have done your best to help them become happy, healthy and successful.
Having a grandchild is very different. We are lucky that we were able to retire from teaching early and consequently spend much more time with our grandchildren. Although looking after two little boys is VERY different to bringing up two girls, the love we feel for them is almost unbearable at times. Sometimes I feel like I could burst with it (usually when they are being good, or asleep!). Some grandparents make the decision to lead their own lives and say ‘I’ve told my son / daughter that we’re not looking after their children while they work!’ Everyone has the right to make that decision, of course, but my opinion is that they must be missing out on so much. When they slip their hand into yours, or tell you they love you, or, as S did on Friday, give you a little handwritten note saying ‘I luv you soooo much’ it is enough to make that love almost painful it gets so big! Just like your own children, they can bring tears of joy or tears of sadness, but being there with them, making the most of every day (as you will never get that day again) and watching them grow and flourish in what has become a pretty tough world is so very special.
So, happy 5th birthday little man. You make us very proud and we hope to be here for you for a long time to come.