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nerdycool
04-02-2012, 04:27 AM
While I have met all 4 of my grandparents, I can't say I had an especially close bond with any of them for a great amount of time.

My maternal grandmother died when I was 6, and she was the one I was closest to out of the 4 of them. My paternal grandfather wasn't really an affectionate sort, and as he took my grandma's death really hard, it took him a long time to come back to life, so to speak. By the time he did, I was a teenager, and not apt to want to spend time with "old people". He's gone now, so I can't change any of that.

My paternal grandparents are both still alive, but I've only seen them a handful of times in my life, mostly due to the fact that they've always lived halfway across the country and my family didn't travel much. So needless to say, we're not close.

And sometimes I think about how it will be for my children, and I see approximately the same thing happening. My family lives a long way away, so seeing them often isn't an option. DH's family lives a bit closer, but still not close enough to see them often. As much as that makes me sad, I can't say it makes me sad enough to move closer to either set of grandparents.

Scintillation
04-02-2012, 05:32 AM
It's nice to read these all these anecdotes. :) My family on both sides has always been mildly dysfunctional, so I've really only been close to my paternal grandmother. My paternal grandfather left her for his secretary right after my parents got married in the '70's, so we used to only see him once a year when he invited us to his country club for lunch. My grandfather was never a good businessman so he had to leave the country club when money started getting tight. He died in complete financial ruin, alone in a nursing home. It's an incredibly long and depressing story. His death was difficult for my dad and his brothers to deal with--they resented him for leaving my grandmother but had idolized him when they were growing up. My paternal grandma, on the other hand, is still kickin it. I was named for her and I hope I end up being like her when I'm old--independent, strong, and sharp. As a kid I loved going to visit her more than anything, and I would cry when we had to leave.
My maternal grandfather I admire but I'm not nearly as close to. I mentioned him in another thread--he escaped from Germany during the holocaust and fought for the US in WWII. I used to see him once a year, now it's once every 2 or 3 years. He's a brilliant man and according to my mom has warmed up considerably as he's gotten older but he's not what I would call cuddly. He's taking my mom and dad to Germany in May to show them where he grew up in Munich--this is the first time he's ever taken one of his daughters to Europe. He divorced my maternal grandmother well before I was born--its believed she was suffering from lifelong mental instabilities. She died of cancer when I was 6, so my memories of her are very vague.

madm
04-02-2012, 12:24 PM
My parents were very old when they married (ages 38 and 50) and then had 3 children. I never knew my father's parents. His Dad died when he was 29, and his mom when he was 53. My mother's parents had raised 10 children and were great parents. However because they lived in Indiana and my parents had moved to California, we hardly ever saw them. They died when I was 14-15 years old. I wish now that I had been able to interact with them more. BTW my mom is age 101 and still very sound mind. I am getting a lot more interested in geneology now and glad she can still talk about her past. Fortunately one of her sisters was married to a serious geneologist who wrote a book on her family's history. Unfortunately we know little about my father's family as he was an only child and there was some big rift in his family that caused him to never talk about them. I don't even know their names.

taf2002
04-02-2012, 02:42 PM
It's nice to read these all these anecdotes. :) My family on both sides has always been mildly dysfunctional, so I've really only been close to my paternal grandmother. My paternal grandfather left her for his secretary right after my parents got married in the '70's, so we used to only see him once a year when he invited us to his country club for lunch. My grandfather was never a good businessman so he had to leave the country club when money started getting tight. He died in complete financial ruin, alone in a nursing home. It's an incredibly long and depressing story. His death was difficult for my dad and his brothers to deal with--they resented him for leaving my grandmother but had idolized him when they were growing up. My paternal grandma, on the other hand, is still kickin it. I was named for her and I hope I end up being like her when I'm old--independent, strong, and sharp. As a kid I loved going to visit her more than anything, and I would cry when we had to leave.
My maternal grandfather I admire but I'm not nearly as close to. I mentioned him in another thread--he escaped from Germany during the holocaust and fought for the US in WWII. I used to see him once a year, now it's once every 2 or 3 years. He's a brilliant man and according to my mom has warmed up considerably as he's gotten older but he's not what I would call cuddly. He's taking my mom and dad to Germany in May to show them where he grew up in Munich--this is the first time he's ever taken one of his daughters to Europe. He divorced my maternal grandmother well before I was born--its believed she was suffering from lifelong mental instabilities. She died of cancer when I was 6, so my memories of her are very vague.

Your maternal grandfather sounds fasinating. How old is he now?

Rob
04-02-2012, 02:49 PM
Both of my grandfathers died before I was born. I "met" my maternal grandmother when I was an infant, but she died soon after I was born, and I have no memory of her. My paternal grandmother lived with us for a little while, but she was a difficult person. I can't say I got the warm and fuzzies from her, and she drove my mother up the wall.

kwanatic
04-02-2012, 03:22 PM
I've had relationships with 6 of my grandparents. Both of my great grandfathers (on mom and dad's side) passed away before I was born. I did get to spend time with my great grandmother on my dad's side. My siblings and I used to stay with her and my great aunt (who lived with her) when we were younger. She was a very sweet woman; never stopped telling us how pretty we all were. ;) She passed away back in 2007, within a few days of my great aunt passing (the same one who lived with her). I think she was about 93 years old.

My great grandmother on my mother's side is still living. She just turned 90 a few weeks ago. I get to see her every time I go home (I live in Georgia but "home" is Louisiana). She's had some health issues in the last few years (she lost part of her leg to diabetes) but she's doing okay. Her mind is still sharp and so is her tongue! :D


My grandfather on my father's side passed away in 2008. I knew him fairly well. I'd known him since I was very young so we had a relationship growing up. We weren't really close but my siblings and I spent a lot of time around him growing up. After he passed I realized I didn't know that much about him or his side of the family who lived up north. I'd only met his sister (my great aunt) once or twice. He was kinda of known as a grumpy man but he was always sweet to me and my siblings.

My grandmother on my father's side passed away last year in November. I've had several family members pass away, but she was by far the one I was closest with. Unlike my grandfather, I knew a lot more about her and her life and her family. She'd been struggling with health issues for the previous 4 years; dementia and seizures left her pretty incapacitated (couldn't speak or move on her own). The last couple of times I saw her, she didn't recognize me...that was hard to deal with. We knew she was passing so I thought I was prepared but it was a lot more difficult to deal with than I imagined. I feel lucky b/c I have a ton of good memories where she's concerned. I grew up around her, learned a lot of things from her and will always remember her.


My grandmother on my mother's side is still living. She had my mother when she was young, so she's relatively young for a grandmother (69 years old). But you can't tell her that! :lol: She doesn't act her age at all. She loves to shop and buy stuff; she goes to Zumba at the Y...she's not your typical grandmother. I know a lot about her as well and her life too and I'm grateful to have her.

My grandfather on my mother's side isn't my "actual" grandfather. He's my mother's stepfather (her real father was absentee and passed away a long time ago; I never met him) but he's always been there. We spent time with his family in New Orleans a couple of times when I was younger. He's always been really sweet to us as well.


I realize I'm a lot luckier than most people here. I've been fortunate to know all four of my grandparents as well as some of my great grandparents as well. I'm happy that I had the opportunity to talk with them and learn about their lives and my family history. It's truly a blessing...

Beefcake
04-02-2012, 03:47 PM
:( I feel sorry for those who didn't get to meet and/or had a mixed or bad relationship with their grandparents. These are the people who can spoil kids without having the full plate of parenting responsibilities (no "bad cop" needed). They are also vital, rich bridges to family and community history.

I had all four in my life far into adulthood. Two VERY different situations, but both wonnderful and fulfilling.

My paternal GPs had 8 kids and 27 grandchildren, and were of course ground zero for huge family gatherings all year ... Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and 4th of July were highlights. As we lived on the edge of their property, across a small pasture, from them when I was 0-9 years old, I spent many a day with them growing up. Mom would send me over to escape my sisters' continual pecking, or I'd go over to work the horses with my GF, or watch "Y&R" with my GM. I'd also often cook with "Mom", as we called her ... to this day I can remember how to skin a rabbit, though I never would touch raw meat nowadays.

My mother was an only child, so my maternal GPs had just my sisters and I as grandchildren. My GM spent everyday with my older sister and I, and took hundreds of photos, until they had to move to Alabama for work purposes. (Due to this timing, my mothers' disdain for photo taking, and her extreme shyness ... my poor little sis, born a year after the GPs move to Bama, can hardly be found in photos in the 1960s!)

Mom-Saw and Pop-Saw spoiled us all from afar, with weekly phone calls, surprise "fun packages," and brilliant homemade gifts. Our trips to Alabama, a couple of times a year, were highlights for us; and, the GPs trekked back up to Indiana several times a year. When I was in high school, they retired, and moved back to Indy ... the decade afterward was awesome, as we got to know them as the wonderful human beings they were versus just our generous grandparents.

Three of my GPs went within 3 months of each other in 1987 (rough year to say the least), with both paternal GPs going within two weeks of each other, but my maternal GM lived to be 93 -- 89 of them very healthy and we think happy years -- until passing a year ago. We miss her desperately, but boy do we feel enriched for having her around that long.

Cheylana
04-02-2012, 05:24 PM
My maternal grandfather died before I was born.

As for relationships with the other three, no box quite worked. I have a wonderful relationship with one grandparent and a decent relationship with the other two.

I have a wonderful relationship with my maternal grandmother. Throughout my childhood she never lived more than 25 minutes away, and I feel blessed and lucky to have her advice, encouragement and funny stories. We talk frequently by phone and I visit when I can. She's 92 and losing her short term memory but she's still in good physical health and spirits. :)

My relationship with my paternal grandparents was/is fine but not particularly close. They lived several states away, in South Carolina, and I saw them only occasionally during my childhood, maybe every couple of years, inasmuch as my mom hates the South and she's always sort of looked down on their dirt road lifestyle (and I think they knew/know it too). They came up to visit every few years, but my mom hates having company over, so I don't think she made them feel super comfortable. :shuffle:

Paternal grandparents were/are pretty quiet and don't readily share a lot of stories or anything like that. For instance, my grandmother was 1/4 Native American, and when I asked which tribe, they said I shouldn't rely on them to tell me that, instead I should do the research to find out. Umm...ok! In any case, my paternal grandmother passed away about nine years ago. My grandpa is still going pretty strong. I send cards and stuff, and visit every couple of years, but our conversations tend to be filled with a lot of awkward pauses.

Smiley0884
04-02-2012, 06:12 PM
:( I feel sorry for those who didn't get to meet and/or had a mixed or bad relationship with their grandparents. These are the people who can spoil kids without having the full plate of parenting responsibilities (no "bad cop" needed). They are also vital, rich bridges to family and community history.



:( ITA. I currently have a strained relationship with my paternal grandmother, after years of being close.

She lived with my parents growing up, and I always admired her. She was well traveled, well read, and an educated, accomplished carrer woman, which was quite a feat for a woman born in the 1920s. I always loved hearing her stories of growing up in the great depression and WWII era. She always placed a high importance on education with my older sister and I. I remember her always coming home from her travels with loads and loads of books for my sister and I. She's the reason why I love to read, which has had such a positive impact on my life.

Unfortunately her relationship with my mother was strained at best. Her and my father were very close, and she was very resentful of my mother for taking him "away from her". I never really picked up on it until I was about 8 or 9. She was never really close to my two younger sisters either, which also makes me sad. She was very adamant that my parents couldn't afford more than 2 children and was put off when my parents ended up with 4.

There was family drama from time to time, but for the most part we all got together for holidays, family occasions, ect. and had a good time. This past year her and my father had a pretty intense falling out because he refused to lend my aunt some money. She also called my younger sister a liar when she over heard my aunt saying some pretty nasty things about my Dad. I live about two hours away from my family, and I would always visit with my grandmother or speak to her on the phone at least once a month. But since her falling out with my Dad it's been about 6 months since we've last spoken :( I still love her, but over the years her treatment of my parents and my sisters has just been too much. If/when her and my Dad reconcile it will make things a bit more comfortable, but my relationship with her is now forever tarnished, which is devestating :fragile:

Luckily I still have a pretty good relationship with my Maternal grandmother. She lived just a couple of miles away growing up, so I saw her quite often. Her first language is Spanish, and her English isn't perfect, but she can hold her own. She's super funny, and loves to gossip about neighbors and other family members. The best thing about her is she's an amazing cook, and she loves to feed people! I wish she would open up a little more about what her life in Puerto Rico was like, but I suspect she doesn't because it brings back a lot of bad memories. Her 1st husband, my maternal grandfather was a womanizer, and he left her and their seven children for another woman :mad:

She moved to the U.S. when my mother was about 10, and she met my step grandfather, who I knew as my grandfather. I didn't even know he was technically my "Step" Grandfather until I was about 9 or 10. My mother said he was a raging alcoholic, but cleaned up his act cold turkey when my mother announced she was pregnant with my older sister. I only knew him as kind, sweet, and loving. He would always take my sister, cousins, and I wherever we wanted to go...he spoiled us for sure! He was estatic when he learned my mother was pregnant with my youngest sister...only to have died of a heart attack literally the next day. Everyone in my family was devestaed. I was only 9 or 10 when he died, but I still miss him greatly nearly 20 years later :(

My Paternal Grandfather was an alcoholic as well, and would get into some crazy arguments with my Grandmother, but he was always very loving with the Grand kids. He would play cards and games with my sister, my cousins and I, and he always stood up for us when our older cousin (who was the only boy) would pick on us like crazy. Most of the other family members just shrugged it off as "boys will be boys!" But good ol' Grandpa would always let him have it :P He always had some crazy stories to tell from "back in the day". Right around the time my maternal Grandfather passed away, my Paternal Grandfather was diagnosed with alzheimer's. Sadly he ended up in a nursing home and passed away when I was 14.

As much as I'm not crazy about my home town, I would definitely consider moving closer to the area to be near my family if I were to have children. I loved having such wonderful relationships with my grandparents (even if it's strained with one of them now) and I couldn't imagine my children not being close to my parents!

I loved hearing every one's stories so far...it's very touching :)

PDilemma
04-02-2012, 07:06 PM
I've written about this a bit here before.

I had a wonderful relationship with my mother's parents who were the definition of loving, fun, fantastic grandparents. My maternal grandmother was one of the best people I've ever known. A strong woman who faced more tragedy by age 18 than anyone should and was still kind, positive, loving and optimistic her whole life. She died in 1994; my grandpa died in 2004. I miss them both and always will.

My dad's parents were a different story. His father was, I think, the product of a very dysfunctional home and usually emotionally distant from everyone. I never felt like I knew him well. He could be kind in his own way but was not demonstrative or openly affectionate. He died when I was 18.

My dad's mother died just over a year ago. She was petty, vindictive, played favorites with her grandchildren in a hugely obvious fashion (those of us on the bottom of the list used to argue over who was ranked 14 out of 14, we were only half joking). My brother received lavish gifts on my birthday until I was in my mid-20s while I received tokens. I remember getting what were probably free coloring sheets and a four pack of crayons on what was probably my 4th b-day. My brother (nearly six years older than me) got some very nice toys. On my 21st birthday, I was sent 5 or 10 dollars, he got $40. By then, he was embarrassed by the situation and spent the money on a gift for me each year until it stopped. The last time I saw her alive she introduced me to someone as "the Nebraska child" due to the fact that my parents left Appalachia for the less economically depressed Midwest when I was not quite two years old. She called me that frequently noting that I didn't grow up in their county so I was not really one of the family. My brother was only around 7.5 yrs when we left, but got a pass anyway.

At what we think was her instigation, my paternal grandparents came here about two months after we moved here and demanded that my parents give them custody of my brother so he could grow up there. My parents said no, so they went to my maternal grandparents' house and asked them to make them agree. My mother's father told them where to go. They both didn't speak to my parents for several months after that, and my grandmother did not speak to my mother for nearly two years.

And there is so much more. Suffice it to say, none of it good. I have long since made peace with it all. I am just thankful that I had one wonderful set of grandparents to have a meaningful relationship with.

Cheylana
04-02-2012, 10:57 PM
PDilemma, I'm so sorry about your vindictive paternal grandma. Very glad you at least had nice maternal grandparents and that you didn't take your paternal grandmother's nastiness to heart.

Scintillation
04-03-2012, 05:47 AM
Your maternal grandfather sounds fasinating. How old is he now?

He is a fascinating man. He'll be 92 in May, and he's still as sharp as a tack. He had a bachelor's degree in animal husbandry before going to the University of Chicago, where he graduated with a PhD in biochemistry 5 years after he entered. It set a record at the time, but I'm sure that's been broken a million times over since then. He still goes to the lab, just not nearly as often as he used to. My stepgrandmother compliments him well, she's an artist who still dresses like a hippie. They were married well before I was born and she's always been kind to me and my sister.
My mother has always revered him, despite his imperfections as a father. She said he had a terrible temper when she was growing up and would give her the cold shoulder if she did badly in school. My grandmother was practically a nonexistent figure to her; she usually spent the entire day in bed. Like I said my memories of her are very vague but if she ever came to family gatherings she would say stuff like, "I can see you wearing a helmet in the future. You're going to fight in a war." Not the greatest conversation starter.

ribbon
04-03-2012, 03:15 PM
I did not meet my mother's parents, as they died prior to my birth. She idolized them, but I can't figure out why since every story I hear is about their alcoholism, despair, and anger at each other and the entire world. My poor mother really needs to work some stuff out, but she's still in denial and seems determined to stay that way.

My grandmother I knew only for a few years, she died when I was 5, but she was very ill my entire life. She had a stroke and couldn't move or talk well, and as a naive kid, I remember just being bored about her since she would just sit there. Now, looking back at her life, she seems like a sweetheart of a woman who was incredibly responsible and self-sufficient. My father was really close to her, and as a kid unfortunately I didn't get it.

My grandfather and I were close. He was stubborn as anything, and was quirky, but he loved to travel and he passed that gene to me. I was definitely the closest to him -- after he passed away, I found out my cousins and even some of his own kids were a little intimidated by him since he was a whirlwind of energy and always did his own thing, society be damned -- in hindsight he wasn't the cuddly/loving grandpa or father type, but I've always liked the worldly, aloof types and so we admired/understood each other.

My father has passed on, but would have been a good grandfather. My mother as a grandmother is ok. She cares about the kids, but isn't close to them. Mother-in-law and father-in-law are very hands-on, loving grandparents. They are the first grandparent pair I've seen in my own life that are the ones you see on Hallmark cards.

cruisin
04-03-2012, 04:59 PM
My mother's father died when she was a child. So, obviously, I never met him. We lived with my mother's mother until I was 6, and my parents could afford to buy a house of their own. She was very present, but very stern, almost cold. Even when I was an adult, my feelings toward her were not warm and fuzzy, she always complained and was not very nurturing. She also had favorites - boys - and she was very obvious about it.

My father's father died when I was about 3 or 4. I have a vague memory of him, but not strong. My father's grandfather was more present (I was 11 when he passed). He was from Italy and ruled with an iron hand. But, he was very gentle with the great grandchildren. My father's mother was amazing. She was loving and doted on us (me, my brother, and my 2 cousins). We were perfect, in her eyes. She taught me to cook. She was from Italy and worked as a chef. On weekends, when I was little, she would babysit. She would get up on Saturday morning and cook. She would place me on a stool and show me how to make things, tasting as we went along. Thinking back, I don't know how I didn't get sick from tasting raw meatball mix :lol:. I adored her. I still feel like she is with me, whenever I make something she taught me to make. She also taught me to crochet, so I feel her there, when I do that, as well.

Castlerock
04-03-2012, 07:18 PM
I never met my paternal grandparents. My Mom was pregnant with me last time they visited from Europe and they both died shortly after.

My maternal grandparents did not have the best relationship with themselves. My grandmother wanted to marry another man but her parents made her marry a man that had a business and could provide for her. Then he made her leave Europe and her whole family and come to Canada. I didn't have much of a relationship with them until after my grandfather died and I was in my 20's and wanted to have a relationship with my grandmother. She was the one who always said marry someone you love - it doesn't matter what their job or religion is. My husband and I were not the same religion and both families had issues, so it was nice to find someone supportive.

So now that I have children, I really make a point of them having good relationships with their grandparents (my parents and in-laws). They attend school plays, recitals, hockey and soccer games - always there to support their grandchildren and I hope that continues as they get older.