Q: Hi Jackie, clinic I hope you can help me… 5 years ago I was [...]
Ask Jackie: am I being a gran-zilla?Created by Jackie Highe in Ask Jackie
Q: Hello Jackie, I am writing as a loving Grandma who has a wonderful relationship with her son, daughter in law and darling granddaughter of 2 years 9 months.
There are a number of complications around us at the moment which are being handled on a day to day basis and although tough to manage at times we get through. The basis for the complications is that we lost our granddaughter’s twin sister at birth. Also, mum has long standing mental health problems, made worse by the loss of her child.
The reason for my acute distress at the moment is that my granddaughter has just left for a week’s holiday without her parents. She is being taken to her nannies and grandad’s house some 1.5 hours away to meet up with 3 cousins (twin 6 year olds and 1 8 year old) and their recently separated mum (the family’s daughter / sister in law). The 3 cousins and my granddaughter will go on holiday for a week. Sounds great so far?
My granddaughter has only met her cousins about 6-7 times since she was born and has had even less contact with their mum (who is a great Mum, by all accounts). I am very concerned and upset by this particularly as my granddaughter has had lots of separation from her mum particularly over the last 6 months as she has attempted an overdose twice and lived with us for over a week as she didn’t want to be with her daughter at all. In fact, she said she didn’t want her on several occasions.
My head feels like it has blown up! I am unusually, very teary and don’t feel able to speak with either parent at the moment. I know it is their call to let the little one go away, with what I view as strangers and that their is nothing I can do except lovingly say what I feel about it. It is as if they haven’t thought it though – particularly my son. He may feel that he is helping his wife by having the little one away for a week, I don’t know. I do know that this is tearing me apart. I am not in any way a control freak, have a life of my own with my darling husband and maybe should be pleased for the little one. Something doesn’t feel right though and I am exceptionally concerned.
I hope all this makes sense and that I am not coming over as a gran-zilla! I have never felt like this before and it is very unsettling. Can you provide me with anything at all to soothe my distress? Thank you for listening / reading.
A: Joan I can see that you’re worried, and I understand why you’re so protective of your daughter-in-law and granddaughter.
But remember your granddaughter has gone to her other grandparents – and she presumably knows and loves them, too. You might not know these relatives, but the other grandparents do. It’s good for children to meet their family and for kids to mix with their cousins.
The break might help your daughter-in-law, too.
It’s a week, it’s over, and you need to relax a little about it. Don’t say things which make your daughter-in-law and your son defensive. Stay calm, stay close to them, be there for them.