Everyone I talk with lately has a story of how they are raising their grand-kids. Through some sort of crisis, be it substance abuse, spousal abuse, abandonment or death, these grandparents have stepped up to the plate and I applaud them.
I know even in my own family, my parents have had a few grandchildren in and out of their homes for a few years – some by choice and some because they had no where else to go. My parents are just cool like that.
In Illinois alone, over 200,000 children under the age of 18 are living in a grandparent-headed home. More than 100,000 grandparents are caring for their grandchildren. Thank God for the Illinois Department on Aging who helps Grandparents in these types of situations providing anything from counseling to support groups to legal assistance to school supplies.
I understand that as a grandparent you want the best not only for your children, but for your grandchildren and would do whatever you needed to do to help.
According to AARP most of this growing epidemic is attributed to the downturn in our current economic crisis, (unemployment, foreclosures, etc.) and these folks are taking on added financial responsibilities even when they themselves are in financial hardship.
Shouldn’t this be the season where they’ve raised their kids – now it’s time to honeymoon again? It’s time to once again enjoy life? That’s what my Mom has said after a few years of taking care of a couple of my relatives. She thought at one time, maybe she and my dad would move to another country so they wouldn’t have anywhere for the kids or grand-kids to come back to. I get that.
These should be the golden years of retirement. You’ve raised your kids, you’ve done the school thing, the midnight trips to the ER and more – now go enjoy your life. Somehow, that isn’t always the way it pans out and you just do what needs to be done.
My heart goes out to all of you, especially if you are right smack in the middle of doing this at this present time and kudos to all of you out there who have been there, done that, and got the T-Shirt.
Photo Credit: Some little kid