Grandkids

Beltane                                                                   Rushing Waters Moon

20170503_165022Finished assembling Ruth’s reading chair here in the loft. Two footstools to go, one for her chair and one for mine. I want her to have a safe place, a quiet place where she can read, just hang out.

Ruth struggles with some unidentified emotional quirk, one held at bay right now by Risperidone, an anti-psychotic. This drug is worrisome to both me and Kate, so we’re pressing for her to have a formal evaluation. Use of such a powerful drug, it blocks or dampens dopamines and regulates serotonins, needs to have a sound medical reason for its prescription, a specific diagnosis. She doesn’t have one right now.

When we moved to Colorado, it was with two primary intentions: be a part of our grandchildren’s lives (and Jon and Jen’s) and live in the mountains. In both cases we’ve exceeded our own expectations.

Being nearby grandparents presented challenges from the start. Jen was never happy with our move to the mountains. “Too far away.” We said we were 900 miles closer. No joy there. Now of course we know that the marriage between Jon and Jen was in its final months, creating various layers of conflict, most of which we were ignorant. No more.

20170422_112445The onset of the divorce has, of course, had outsized effects on the kids. Uncertainty and instability are poison to young kids. Where will we live? Will mom and dad ever like each other again? Who will take care of us? Were we responsible? Attach this world altering anxiety to two already troubled kids and the difficulties multiply.

Being a grandparent in this situation has sometimes been an exquisite torture. We can see what’s happening, empathize, support, but we have no direct impact since Ruth and Gabe are not our kids. In our culture this is as it should be, I’m not contesting that, but being so close to the problem and being unable to act requires a level of zen I don’t always reach.

Gabe has his own struggles. He’s too often by himself at school, sometimes bullied. At home he sways from sweet to angry, petulant and destructive. In his case we often encounter behavioral issues that we can deal with directly because he exhibits them toward us.

20170422_130638He tells the dogs he loves them, pets them, while occasionally pinching them or twisting their ears. We immediately put limits and consequences on these behaviors, but they slip back in from time to time anyhow.

We had not expected to have this kind of experience, definitely not, though we have been and continue to be glad that we’re here. We’ve been able to shelter Jon and the grandkids over a difficult year, to provide a place for them to regroup. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy for us, it hasn’t, but family is about family, not ease.

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