View Full Version : What Kind Of Relationship Did You (Or Do You) Have With Your Grandparents?
04-01-2012, 04:21 AM
Counting my step-grandparents, I've had six grandparents in my life. At one time or another I've had a good relationship with all of them.
I was always the closest to my maternal grandparents. My grandmother was quite frankly, a bit of a bitch, but never to me. It was my mother and my grandfather who she was bitchy to. We always said if there was anyone in this world she loved, it was me and her nephew. While, I didn't always like her, I loved Mamaw dearly. She died two years ago tomorrow of lung cancer. :(
My maternal grandfather and I were always extremely close. He was the closest thing I had to a father for most of time I was growing up. When he died in December, a friend of my remarked about how fortunate I'd been to have him in my life for 34 years. That is so true, and it's rather remarkable. He had a heart attack in 1965, when he was around 36-37 years old. The doctors told him at the time that 5 years would be a long life. He was 84 when he died.
04-01-2012, 04:21 AM
I only knew my mother's mother. My father's parents died long before I was born (his mother died when he was very little-I'm not sure he even remembers her) and his father died...I *think* before my parents even met. However, they were both born in either the late 1880s or early 1890s (it's not certain) so they would have been very old and probably would have died when I was young anyway. My mother's father drowned ice-fishing two years before I was born. (Someone fishing near his group went through, and he and his friends saved the first man, but they all drowned.) So I only knew my mother's mother. I don't know if I'd say it was good or bad. When I was little, I guess it was good. She was very financially generous. When I was older, it wasn't especially close. We were her only relatives and my parents did right by her, even after she wasn't mentally competent. She wasn't all that nice before she became demented, though, and it was pretty much a relief when she died.
I did know my mother's grandmother for a while. Not well, as she was already old enough she was in a home and not quite mentally all there (not so far gone though that you could get away with calling her Russian-she was Ukrainian, and at the end of her life she sometimes remembered Ukrainian better than English.)
04-01-2012, 04:31 AM
My maternal grandfather died while my mom was carrying me. Mom wanted to name me after him; dad wanted his children to have Bible names (with at least the first initial the same); and dad won the coin toss.
My paternal grandfather was wonderful; he thought all of his grandchildren were perfect. He was a union organizer in the '20s; I got my interest in justice and social action from him, I think. He died when I was about 12.
My relationships with both grandmothers changed over time. My paternal grandmother was wonderful when I was small, but as I got older, she got rather annoying because she was so traditional. When I was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 13, she thought I was seriously ill; she later tried to talk me into becoming a legal secretary instead of a lawyer. She died about 20 years ago. My relationship with my maternal grandmother, by contrast, got better as I grew older; she was much stricter when I was young, but as I grew older, I appreciated how she joined with my parents in encouraging me to be independent and educated. She loved classical art and music; I think of her when my husband and I go to the symphony.
04-01-2012, 04:39 AM
Wow, I'm loving hearing everyone's stories! Hope to get to hear a lot more. And if anyone who has posted have more to add later on, I hope you will share! :40beers:
...two of my great-grandparents were alive into my teenage years. I never had a close relationship with either, thanks to nasty family dynamics.
Yikes, the idea of having great-grandparents in one's life is something I can't even fathom. However, not having a relationship with them is very :wuzrobbed....
I'm sorry you didn't get to have more grandparent relationships, PeterG.
Thanks Wyliefan. I think I'm starting to get that this is something that I need to grieve, but I'm stuck on the part of having to grieve something which I never had in the first place... :confused: ;)
I think you're great the way you are, right now, Peter :)
I would have to say I never met any of my grandparents.
04-01-2012, 04:47 AM
Yikes, the idea of having great-grandparents in one's life is something I can't even fathom. However, not having a relationship with them is very :wuzrobbed....
My friend is 30 and her great-grandmother just died a few weeks ago. :eek: That's either some long-living genes, or they got to birthin' young!
04-01-2012, 05:02 AM
My maternal grandfather died when I was 10, but for the most part I think we had a good relationship. I was shy around him when I was little-for some reason there were times that I just didn't want to talk to him, and I know it broke his heart cause he asked Mom what he could do to get me to like him :( She told him that he just had to let me come to him, and sure enough it worked! I still miss him; he was a great man for many different reasons, and he did not play the favorite grandchildren game, unlike...
My maternal grandmother....I have a lot of resentment toward her, and I feel bad saying anything as she suffers from Alzheimer's now. We've just never gotten along well, and I don't think she was ever a good person (a few stories of :eek: proportions have been revealed re: her treatment of my Mom and my Dad, whom she hates). So explaining how I feel about her might take awhile lol.
I am the second youngest granddaughter, and grew up with many cousins, most of whom didn't have the best track records in high school (aka not finishing), but she couldn't do enough to help them out. She'd buy them houses and cars, and then she also bought my Uncle (her son with poor work ethic who can't keep a job, doesn't pay his child support and spends all his money on alcohol) a rather expensive boat as encouragement for getting a new job. Anyway, I did really well in high school and got into a good college, and am essentially the first in my family to go directly from high school to pursuing a degree. On my 18th birthday during senior year, she said she wanted to give me $1000 each year of college to reward my good work (but I had to keep my grades up). My family and I never asked her to do that, but she insisted she wanted to. Well, my first semester was just weeks away and she still hadn't given me the money. When Mom asked about it, Grandma backtracked and said that she wasn't going to give me money because we didn't need it and my Dad made more than enough money to support me for whatever I needed. Dad does make decent money, but he's not rich by any means even though she's convinced herself that he is. I also think she resents him because he has never needed her for help financially (a first for her) and she can't stand it, IMO.
But so, I had just started a new job and didn't have the money to buy my books yet, and I didn't want to have to use Dad's money. So it was upsetting that just days later Uncle got his really nice, brand new boat, which we all knew he didn't have the money for. Mom let Grandma know how disappointed in her she was and that it wasn't about the money we did or did not have, it was about the promise that she was willfully breaking to her granddaughter. Grandma cried and tried to make my Mom feel bad for being mad at her, but it didn't work, and Grandma did end up giving me the money. It was the only time she has, and I never brought it up for following school years, because I know better now than to hope she'll keep a promise to me. It wasn't so much that I wanted the money, I just wanted her to keep the promise she made.
I already had rather negative feelings toward her growing up; in elementary school she told me I looked like a boy, and then as an awkward preteen she told me I was ugly. She also consistently made Mom believe she was stupid (and I've been trying to convince Mom for years that she is not), and she insinuated that she thought my Dad would leave my Mom once my brother and I were adults living on our own. So now even though I hate the disease she has, I can't seem to want to be close to her, which is sad.
Dad's parents have always been great; I was a bit shy with them as well as a child, but they too let me come to them on my own and I've had a good relationship with them since. I taught them how to text last year cause they were teasing me for being so bad at calling them while I'm at school, and I've saved some pretty hilarious texts from them. Whenever I'm home for winter break, I always make sure I make a trip or two to see them before they go to Florida for Christmas. And we see each other pretty regularly over the summer. They're very low key people, but given what my Mom's side of the family is like, I couldn't love them any more for it.
04-01-2012, 05:11 AM
My friend is 30 and her great-grandmother just died a few weeks ago. :eek: That's either some long-living genes, or they got to birthin' young! We have great-great-grandparents still hanging on.
04-01-2012, 05:28 AM
I was born rather late to my parents. My mother's father was long dead and my father's mother died when I was very small, so I don't remember her.
My mother's mother died when I was 18; I visited her regularly while I was groing up, but I wouldn't say we were close. My mom's father died when my mom was 13 and my grandma couldn't support all their kids by herself, so she farmed all but the two youngest out to relatives and moved to Ohio to work. She and my mother were never close (my mom was much closer to her dad to begin with) and she didn't approve of the way that I was raised, so while there was no animosity there, there wasn't any closeness, either. She was never very healthy when I knew her, so my main memories of her are of her sitting in her easy chair and wheezing gently. She did leave me some things in her will, which surprised me, and I do think of her when I use them.
My father's father died when I was about 12, but he and my father weren't close, either, for a lot of reasons. Grandpa was also sick a lot; he had damaged his lungs working in the coal mines when he was a teenager and he was a five-pack-a-day smoker. My main memories of him are of him sitting in a chair somewhere (he lived in several places--my aunt's, two VA centers, a cousin's--that I remember and probably some I don't), a cigarette always in hand, usually right next to his oxygen tank.:rolleyes: He never had much use for my dad and vice versa, so we made occasional duty visits and that was about it. I didn't even recognize him in some pictures I came across a while back.
My own dad died before my kids were born and my mom died when they were five and three; my son remembers my mom a little, but my daughter remembers nothing except watching Disney videos at my mom's house and sneaking candy out of a certain jar. My husband's parents are still alive, but I expect that my kids will only remember them as fragile, fussy, rather daffy old people.
04-01-2012, 05:40 AM
My mom and dad moved out to Alberta from Ontario before I was born. I was 5 when I first met my dad's parents, and 16 when I met my mom's mother. My paternal grandfather died when I was about 12 -- I only saw him 3 times, I think. I saw my grandmother a few more times after he died and she did come west for my wedding. I only ever saw my maternal grandmother 3 times, which is really too bad because she was a wonderfully funny, crusty French-speaking woman whom everyone adored.
My mother remarried when I was 13, and my stepdad's parents accepted us as their grandchildren. Granny died when I was 18, but Grandpa lived many more years; we lost him only 3 years ago. We do have a photo of 'five generations,' albeit 'step' -- my granddaughter, my daughter, me, my step-dad, and "Old Grandpa." He was a character too -- he immigrated from Ireland with his parents when he was in his teens, and he worked extremely hard to give his family a good life. He also worked extremely hard to hang onto that Irish accent! ;)
I regret that my 'natural' grandparents were so far away when I was a child; I'm having so much fun with my own grandchildren, I can't imagine only ever seeing them 3 or 4 times in my life!
Thanks for starting this thread, Peter! It's great to read everyone's experiences!
04-01-2012, 05:41 AM
Both my grandfathers died long before I was born.
My paternal grandmother died when I was six (I'm 24 now). She had suffered several strokes at this point, and couldn't speak and needed a lot of home care. She lived with us. Given that I was a little kid, and she was quite ill, we didn't have much of a relationship, if any. She also wouldn't like my brother and I to go into her room much, but would let my sister, who was a toddler at the time, to come in all the time and crawl all over her bed. She really favored my sister, but I try not to take that very personally given how sick she was toward the end of her life. (Funnily enough, my sister really takes after my dad's side of the family, lookswise, so I wonder if that had anything to do with it).
My maternal grandmother is still living. She just turned 80. She's always been there, but I can't say we have a close relationship. She took the attitude that she had already raised 7 kids and had no desire to raise grandchildren, so she never really played or interacted much with us when we were little (my mom has so many issues with this). She's very sweet, and obviously cares a lot about us, but there is somewhat of a disconnect. I also think she was depressed for many years after my grandfather died, so I don't think that helped matters, either.
Overall, I've always longed for a grandparent who I could really relate to and would take more of an active roll in my life. I'd see people drive their grandkids to dance class or take them Disney World or whatever, but I've never had that. Even a really good conversation would be nice.
04-01-2012, 06:06 AM
I knew both my paternal and maternal grandparents well plus a great grandmother (father's side) and 1 step grandfather. All but one were alive until I was in my late 20's, early 30's. My great grandmother spoke only Canadian French but somehow we communicated. :lol: She was a very old fashioned sort of woman - always wore dresses with lace collars, a necklace and earrings. I don't ever remember seeing her without her hair coiffed and her very tiffing cane.
I was closest to my paternal grandmother and spent a lot of time with her, especially after my grandfather died. For some reason my sister never liked her but I don't know why - I adored her and still buy Safeguard bar soap to this day because it reminds me of the smell in her bathroom. Also love the tick-tock of a wind-up Big Ben alarm clock because it used to lull me to sleep in her bedroom. :lol:
04-01-2012, 07:17 AM
I knew/know maternal and paternal grandparents and both played a huge part in my childhood. My paternal grandparents were living like 10 minutes by car from us, so my grandmother often baby-sat when my parents were out and during summer vacation I spent a lot of time with them because they had a huge garden. Also, when I was sick my paternal grandmother would take care of me when my parents had to work.
My maternal grandparents were living further away but I had a lot of sleep-overs at their place. They only had a one bedroom apartment but a sleeping sofa and my granddad would always move out of the bedroom for me so I could sleep in the big bed with my grandmother and he slept on the sofa. They also took me to their caravan several times when I was on vacation.
Funny thing is, my paternal granddad always scared me a bit because he seemed kind of an authoritarian figure, large build, too. My paternal grandmother was the complete opposite.
And it was the other way around with my maternal grandparents; my grandmother always seemed more strict than my grandfather. At 75 he's still a boy in disguise!
My paternal grandmother passed away in 2005, at 89, the first true loss I experienced. (not counting the pets I lost even though I cried like hell when they died!)
My great-grandmother died when I was 6, I don't have any memories of her though. And my maternal grandfather's father died only recently though he wasn't in contact with the family anymore so I didn't even know he still existed until after his death.
My great-aunt died in 2002. When I was a child, she was almost like another grandmother to me but she got dementia and the relationship sort of fell apart and she spent her last years in a nursing home so her death didn't hit me as hard as my grandmother's.
I consider myself truly blessed when it comes to my grandparents, not only because I had the privilege of knowing them all and having all of them around for almost 25 years of my life but also because of how they loved me and all the time I got to spend with them and the great memories I have!
04-01-2012, 08:33 AM
I Had Wonderful Realtionships With All Of My Grandparents! (and their brothers and sisters).
(all 4 are survivors of Tzar times, Russian Revolution, Pogroms, WWII, Holocaust, Stalin purges, and immigration. All were over 58 years old when they came to the West, and retired not before they turned 70). Grandparents Rule!
04-01-2012, 10:32 AM
My father's parents died before I was born, when my dad was still a teenager. My mum's parents were very Catholic. We visited them a decent amount. Pa used to always give us a two dollar coin ("gold"). I really liked Pa a lot, but I would not have called us close. Nana was strict and proper; we weren't close either. Nana and Pa would hold big celebrations for Easter and Christmas. Huge Lebanese feasts in their back yard, for the whole family - a big, Lebanese celebration. For some of my cousins and aunties, this was the only time I ever saw them. My nana didn't let my step-father go, she was against my mum and dad's divorce, and didn't go to my mum's wedding to my step-dad. I remember that and even as a young child, thought it was mean. As an adult, it still disgusts me.
Pa died before Nana; he died of bowel cancer. I was really sad. I was sad when nana died too, but still angry at the way she treated my mum and my step-dad. Nana left a lot of money to my sister (who is blind) and nothing to the rest of us cousins, because she thought of my sister as helpless.
My step-grandma, Kay, was fabulous. She came to Australia from Wales, and she never became an Australian citizen because she was Welsh. She had a plate of the Welsh flag, which she adored, and she taught me a little bit of Welsh. She was a staunch monarchist. She was also a really good singer. I was really close to her. She moved to live in a granny flat at the back of our garden when we were quite young and we called her the Fairy at the back of our garden. She'd give me (and my sisters) cookies, and she taught me to play canasta and to knit. She had a fabulous coloured glass clown that we called Coco. She also had some decorative wooden "Welsh" spoons. I have them stuck on my kitchen wall here in Beijing.
Kay (whose real name was Muriel, her middle name was Kay) came to our place every Sunday for roast dinner, but I visited her pretty much every day since she was just down the garden path. She had a cat called David Thomas (DT), and she went into a nursing home just after DT died. We don't how old she was, since her birth certificate was long lots, and Kay lied about her age when getting her driver's licence. Every time we tried to find out, we found a different number!
I have a lot of good memories of her, and it was sad to see her mind slowly deteriorate. She had a stroke before she died. One of the biggest regrets I have is that I didn't go home (I lived in Beijing already) when my parents called to say she's had a stroke. She didn't die until months and months later, but I didn't get to see her before she died :(
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