Grandparenting: “The Talk”

ayden rich weddingRich and Our Grandson Ayden On Our Wedding Day. September 2, 2007.

The question blindsided me during an arts-and-crafts session with our grandlittles Ayden and Carly. Rich was telling the kids a tale from his earlier days. Your Nana and I– 

Ayden looked at me, a question looming in his eyes, and asked his grandpa, You mean Lala, don’t you? Rich took a deep breath. You see, he said, a long time ago, I was married to your Nana. Your Nana was your daddy’s mother. 

Carly piped up, asking her grandfather, Why aren’t you still married to Nana?

We got a divorce, Papa Rich replied.

Carly frowned.

Why did you get a divorce? Ayden asked.

We got married when we were too young, my husband said.

Carly trotted over to me and climbed in my lap. Lala, you and Papa Rich aren’t too young, are you? 

I shook my head. No, sweetheart. We’re not too young. 

I’ve imagined this discussion several times as our grandchildren grow, but I have never been able to visualize the actual conversation.

How could I explain to a ten-year-old that I used to be married to that other grandpa he loves, but now I’m married to this other grandpa he loves? 

And when that 10-year-old is seventeen and returns with more questions, harder questions, what will I say then?

Where is the sweet spot? What can we say that doesn’t deny our family history, but also doesn’t stir up the dusty old details–a move that would accomplish nothing but making us all wheeze through the ancient cinders anew? 

Our family tree has endured so much pruning out and grafting in that her branches twist and turn every which way.

That’s the truth.

No, that’s a truth. Other truths wind over her bark and up into her crown, tenacious as morning glories:  That gnarled, rowdy-branched tree of ours offers rugged footholds to all who care to climb. And those crazy curling limbs reach wide, inviting us all to shelter in her rippling shade.  

rabbit conga

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)

rabbit conga

On Tuesdays, we’re talking about families and the joys and challenges that arise when we stretch across three (or more?) generations (child, parent, grandparent). The conversation began on January sixth  and we’ll continue until we run out of things to say. Everyone is welcome, and I hope to hear from each generation’s perspective.  I’m a grandmother now (praise be to God!), but I’m still a parent, and I’m still a child (my father is still living). And I remember my childhood, which included four loving grandparents. Being family is by turns effortless, impossible, blessed, challenging, hurtful, joyous . . . . Let’s talk about it.

Please join us.

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