View Full Version : What Kind Of Relationship Did You (Or Do You) Have With Your Grandparents?

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04-01-2012, 02:47 AM
I have been meaning to start a thread like this for about three years. Better late than never. :lol: One reason I'm interested in hearing about other people's experiences is because three of my four grandparents died before I was born. And my Dad's Mom seemed kind of..."out of it". I don't remember her having much of an impact on my life. When I was younger, we would stay at her home sometimes and I hardly remember having much interaction with her. I can't remember anything specific about being with her, except that she was physically there. Maybe she was not really mentally there?

In my later teens, she moved closer to our family and I would leave school early (free period for the last one of the day), take transit into town and visit with her before getting a ride home with my Mom (who worked in the elementary school next door to the group home where Grandma lived). Again, I hardly remember much about those visits. I'm thinking I just wanted to get away from high school as well as avoid the bus rides home.

I also wonder about how some people not only met most or all of their grandparents, but have many memories of them. And even better, those grandparents played a positive role in their lives. My mind goes blank when I try to imagine something like that. I wonder if some people have really good lives because they had one or more grandparents who were a positive enough presence in their lives that it gave them a strong foundation to build a good life upon. Part of me thinks I should be jealous of those people. But I feel kind of numb instead.

But I would love to hear stories from people who had great grandparents. Even though those stories might make me sad, I think it will help me realize that maybe I haven't accomplished as much as others because I didn't really have much of a support system around me. And being able to see things a little clearer in this respect means in some way I can cut myself some more slack for not being where I could have been otherwise.

I'm interested in hearing all your stories though. Maybe some of you met all of our grandparents and had relationships with them...but those relationships were not good. Maybe we can start an FSU support group around this. Big hugs to you if you're one of those people!

So what's your grandparents story? How many of them did you meet? What was good about your relationship with them? What sucked? Any other thoughts or comments you have are welcomed.

P.S. I'm going to include a poll with this thread. It will be multiple choice as the poll won't be one question with an either/or type of answer. So look over the choices before you click submit!! :D

04-01-2012, 02:57 AM
Two of my grandparents died before I was born.

My mother's father was, from what I hear, a deranged, emotionally abusive man who drank himself into permanent short-term memory loss before I was born. I 'met' him once, if standing next to the shell of a man for a few minutes counts. I didn't count it in the poll. He died a little over 2 years ago.

My mother's mother was a wonderful Grandparent and I loved her very much. She was an absolutely amazing cook and baker. Every year for Christmas we got a huge tin of baked good from her. She used to make us pasties every single year and I have her recipe now. She had a huge garden at her house and as kids we used to run around in it, pulling out fresh carrots and strawberries and bringing them in to wash and eat with her. She died in December 2010. I miss her, especially since I started taking a serious interest in both baking and gardening about two years ago, after she was already diagnosed with cancer and was rapidly failing. I'm sad I never had a chance to learn any of the things I am so interested in now from her. I wanted to learn to make those pasties with her, but mum and I learned together using the recipe instead. I think of her when I make them.

04-01-2012, 03:03 AM
I think you're great the way you are, right now, Peter :)

I was raised by my grandma when I was young. We were very close and I have lots of great memories (she's passed on now). I was much closer to her than my parents. I don't think that's uncommon, though, since a lot of Native kids end up being raised by grandparents for one reason or another.

04-01-2012, 03:29 AM
Both my grandfathers passed away before I was born. My paternal grandfather died when my father was only ten. He seemed to be a good man with strong political beliefs. Meanwhile, my maternal grandfather was not a particularly nice man who treated his wives (yes, plural) rather poorly.

Both of my grandmothers have both since passed but only fairly recently. I loved both of them dearly but language was always a barrier. My Vietnamese SUCKS and neither ever came close to mastering the English language when they immigrated to North America. Regardless, I always had a good time with them when I was around them. But I never had deep conversations with them like my older cousins had the opportunity. When I was a kid, I would watch game shows with them. We all loved The Price Is Right. Their favourite PiR game was Plinko.

04-01-2012, 03:29 AM
I met 3/4 grandparents, and I am/was closer to all three than to my parents.

My paternal grandmother lived with us (one of many reasons my mom is a saint :lol: ). From her, I got my business sense, love of travel, strong will, and stubbornness. The nagging voice inside my head is usually my grandmother and not either of my parents. :lol:

My maternal grandparents lived a couple of miles away. I was the first grandchild, and they were young (40s) and had raised all girls. They took me everywhere and showed me off to everyone. I can thank my maternal grandmother for self-esteem and balance (I often wonder if her influence is part of the difference between me and my sister), and I can thank my grandfather for his emphasis on education and his political influences. :lol:

My life would have been so much emptier wthout my grandparents.

On the other hand, two of my great-grandparents were alive into my teenage years. I never had a close relationship with either, thanks to nasty family dynamics.

Dave of the North
04-01-2012, 03:31 AM
I don't remember my father's father - he died when I was three, but I remember going on the plane to his funeral.

My mother's parents were the typical grandparents that everyone should have - hospitable, kind, etc. Always looked forward to visiting them, especially in the summer because they had a great summer place.

Coincidentally today my brother sent an email - the paper had reprinted an article from 1919 where WW I soldiers had been welcomed home - and my grandfather was on the list - he had arrived in Halifax on March 27 (his 21st birthday) then they took the train to Charlottetown and were welcomed with a reception the next day. My grandfather served from 1915 on - he added a year to his age and went to NB to enlist - he never talked about the war.

My father's mother was an interesting (though not lovable) woman - she was well educated, was a painter, and came from a well-to-do family. She traveled a lot - there's a picture of her in 1912 sitting on a camel in Egypt. But she was selfish and a bit of a snob. She was rather deaf in her later years and sometimes she would pretend to be deafer than she was. One Christmas my Dad called her and she either didn't have her hearing aid in or was pretending - Dad kept shouting louder and louder and my mother and I were :rofl: in the kitchen especially when Dad started to spell out his name.

Amy L
04-01-2012, 03:33 AM
All four of my grandparents were alive until I was 21. Now I only have my maternal grandmother left. I was always pretty close to my mom's parents, they were the default babysitters when I was little. My dad always had a rough relationship with his parents, they were just awful people. We had a compulsory visit about once a year, and it got even less than that after my grandfather died and the relationship between my dad and Granny just got worse and worse. She had pretty much disowned him about a year before she died and the whole will/inheritance sh!t between him and my aunt really hit the fan. My dad still goes into convulsive fits of rage whenever the subject of his family comes up!

My parents knew each other since they were about 10 years old. My mom and uncle are very close in age, they were only a year apart in school. My dad was in the same class as my uncle (one year below my mom). My dad was astounded by my mom's parents, they were polite, loving, and very generous - - the total opposite of his parents. He and my uncle weren't even that close of friends, but he kept hanging around because he loved my uncle's/mom's parents and wished they were his. He fell in love with his in-laws waaaay before he fell in love with my mom. :lol:

I was also very close to one of my great-grandmothers (my mom's mom's mom). She died when I was 9, and that was the first really big death in the family. Even now, more than 20 years later, that's still the most devastated about anything I've ever been.

04-01-2012, 03:40 AM
I'm sorry you didn't get to have more grandparent relationships, PeterG.

My grandfathers were both AWESOME. Beyond awesome. I didn't get to see them as often as any of us would have liked, since we often lived pretty far away, but I adored them. Neither of them was what you'd call demonstrative, but they were both loving and supportive. They're both gone now -- 18 and 12 years ago, respectively -- and I still miss them both like crazy.

Legend has it that both of them had titanic tempers in their younger days -- that generation of Italian men usually did, I'm told -- but fortunately they'd both mellowed out by the time I came along! :) And even in those days, I think they were really good guys. Both of my parents were very close to their fathers.

My dad's mother was . . . how shall I put this? . . . not very nice. I did my duty to her as best I could, but it was usually very draining.

My mom's mother is still alive. She . . . well, she tries. She can be very negative and critical -- I don't usually get the brunt of it, but my mom does, and that's very hard to watch. But we've had a fairly decent relationship, all told.

04-01-2012, 03:46 AM
I knew all four of my grandparents quite well. My maternal grandmother is still alive, and my paternal grandmother just recently died. Actually, when I was born, seven of my eight great-grandparents and one great-great-grandmother were still alive; and I can remember five of my great-grandparents. A lot of them lived a very long time, which I guess is good for me statistically. (Then again, some of them lived a little more "wholesomely" than I do or would want to. :shuffle: )

I had pretty good relationships with all four of my grandparents and even lived with some of them for interim periods (long story, mostly good). However, it got more complicated after I came out, at least with my paternal grandfather who was still alive (the other died before I came out). Even then, there were some positive dimensions to that relationship; but I enjoyed seeing him less and less. I always enjoy/ed seeing my grandmothers however.

But one negative side to having so many grandparents who lived a long time is watching them go downhill. My maternal grandmother, who is still alive, is the one I was closest to without question for most of my life. Unfortunately, she now has a lot of health problems including memory problems that have been bad and are growing worse. And she lives with my parents, who are nearing retirement themselves; so her problems are starting to become a burden for them, especially my mother/her daughter. The other grandmother was also very frail during her last year (she died at 97, as did her husband before her).

04-01-2012, 03:51 AM
I had a good relationship with three of my grandparents. My paternal grandfather had no use for me because I had no interest in sports or card games; if he ever said anything to me when we went to visit, I don't remember it. I got along fine with my father's mother, however. She was a feisty lady and told great stories. I lived my mother's parents for two years when I was in my mid-teens. That grandmother was also a character - she came from a wealthy, artsy family (she was a trained concert pianist and one of her sisters was leading lady at the State Theater in Dresden for at least a decade). She, too, had a wealth of fascinating stories. My grandfather was a genial, social kind of guy but a terrible businessman. He owned a brick factory and yet managed to go bankrupt after WW2, when Germany was rebuilding and bricks were in demand.

04-01-2012, 03:57 AM
I knew my maternal grandparents very well. We were good friends, and I particularly looked up to my grandfather. I still try to please him, and he has been dead 55 years!
My paternal grandfather lived to be 100. He was a joker, a rough and ready guy with a heart of gold. He lived too far away for me to know him well, but he was always cheerful and wrote non stop letters to all his family. My paternal grandmother died when I was 4.

Now I am a grandmother. I try to model my actions after those of my grandparents. It is delightful to have a close relationship with my grandchildren. I try to enrich their lives and experiences, as well as giving them another viewpoint on the world.

Oh, and my mother is still alive, nearly 100 years old. The grandchildren know her and like her, although she is a bit vague at times. She has ensured that they will have funding for their university education. A good example for everyone, and we all try to pass it forward.

04-01-2012, 03:59 AM
I met all four of my grandparents and had great relationships with them all. I, and indeed all my cousins, were apples in their eyes, duly doted on and spoiled rotten. I lived with my paternal grandparents for a few years when I was very young. Then lived with my maternal side for a few years. The two sides lived continents apart and I traveled long trips with my parents between them during summers.

All four of my grandparents lived through extraordinary hardships in their times, wars, persecution from governments, famine, difficult family dynamics, loss of loved ones. Like many from that generation their life stories read like a novel.

Now, only my maternal grandmother is still living. She will celebrate her 101st birthday this coming May 31st according to Chinese calendar.

04-01-2012, 04:09 AM
I was an only child, born when my parents were 31.

My maternal grandparents lived 35 miles away from us when I was young. We had regular weekend trips to visit them and they came to stay at our house on holidays and special occasions. I spent time with them by myself on a number of occasions and have lots of great memories of doing things with each of them.

My paternal grandparents lived in the same town that we lived in and we routinely had Sunday supper at their house. They often welcomed me for an evening when my parents had to go out. Again, lots of good memories of doing things at their house/with them. I believe my grandmother was agoraphobic as she never left their property (until her final illness) but I remember my grandfather coming out for drives with us, etc.

When I was 12 both of my grandmothers died (at our home) within 6 weeks of each other - my maternal grandmother very suddenly while they were visiting; my paternal grandmother while being cared for by my mother.

Within a year both of my grandfathers had sold their homes and moved in with us. Each had a variety of health problems over the ensuing years and both died, again within a 6 week span, when I was 20. They both died in the local hospital.

Being a teenager with elderly grandfathers in the household was not the greatest situation but I really don't have any bad memories.

My biggest regret is not asking questions/paying more attention to the family stories - that would have aided me in later years when I got into family history research.

One of my maternal great-grandmothers was alive until just after I turned 2 - I have photos of me sitting in her lap but have no memories of her.

04-01-2012, 04:09 AM
My maternal grandmother died before I was born, and my maternal grandfather died when I was 10 or 11. My paternal grandparents died when I was in my late 20s, and I had much more of a relationship with them. They weren't really "kid" people, though, so we weren't super close.

My mother told me a nice story about my grandmother after she died, though. I've been overweight since I was a teenager. My mom was talking to my grandmother about how she was concerned about my size (I was a size 12 at the time), and my grandmother told her not to worry and I was a beautiful girl. :) I learned later that my grandmother had been overweight for a lot of her life, and her sister gave her hell about it. It made me feel closer to her.

My nephew is going to be ALL ABOUT his grandparents. My mom is his primary caretaker since both his parents work, and he's very attached to his nana.

04-01-2012, 04:19 AM
3 out of 4 of my grandparents have been a big part of my life and I've had wonderful relationships with all. All lived within 10 minutes of the house I grew up in, so I saw them all of the time. I'm actually caring for my paternal grandmother at the moment while I'm (still) looking for something in my field.

The grandparent that's not part of my life is my maternal grandfather. He wasn't part of my mom's or her sibling's lives either while they were growing up, and although I have been around him, when I add my grandparents, he never seems to make the total. My wonderful, wonderful, most wonderful paternal grandfather more than made up for it though. He passed away about 12 years ago, when I was still in college

My maternal grandfather is still living, but my maternal grandmother died a year and a half ago. She could be an absolute pain to deal with in her older years (although, it's all sort of funny now), but was one of the most special people I ever knew. I miss her (and my one grandfather) like crazy.