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Friday, September 16, 2011

Did Grandma Care About Me?

It was a sunny summer day in New England.  I was swimming around my cousin's medium-sized, circular, above-ground pool like a minnow.  I was about nine years old, loved to swim, and was very proud at what a good swimmer I was.  My grandmother (my a-mom's mom) sat in a plastic and aluminum lawn chair, legs crossed, and magazine draped over her lap; she was supervising the cousins in the backyard playing.  "Look at me!  Look at me!  Watch what I can do!"  I called out to her for probably the 100th time in a row.  "OK," she said.  "I'm watching."  I would dive under the water and swim from one side to the other as fast as I could.  For the 101st time I called out to her to watch me, I didn't dip under the water.  I decided to see if she really was watching me each time.  "Here I go," I said.  "OK, I'm watching" she replied.  But she didn't look up from her magazine.  She's not really watching me.  I grumbled to myself.  I decided that this meant that she didn't care about me.  Of course, I forgot completely about it as I went on about my day.  I recalled it again years later when I was babysitting and the kids I would care for would excitedly ask me to watch them do their ballet moves or their flips from gymnastics, over, and over, and over, and over again.  I know that my grandmother cared; she had probably looked the first 99 times and was just interested in her magazine.

Grandparents' Day just went by this past week; it reminded me of this story and made me wonder about my original grandparents.  I didn't get to see any of my grandparents a whole lot growing up.  I had three sets, my mom's parents and my  dad's divorced and re-married parents, spread across the U.S.  For Grandparent's day at school, an older adult from church always came as my "Honorary Grandparent" so that I wouldn't feel left out.  I appreciated this but was always very jealous of my peers.  Grandmas and Grandpops, Mimoms and Poppies,  Mommoms and Grampies, whom my peers were often younger, spitting images of, came in and took my friends home early from school.  They would go to do something fun.  Maybe mini-golf and ice cream.  Sometimes I heard they would go to McDonalds.  I stayed at school until the end and waited for the bus with my friend Leanne.  Her grandparents lived far away and she had an "Honorary Grandparent" from our church too.

I did not have any original grandparents waiting for me going into reunion because they had all passed away by the time I found my family.  I sometimes wonder if they would have been waiting for me.  I'd like to ask my original mom and my paternal aunt how they felt about the grandchild they never knew.  Did they think of me?  Did they talk about me?  Did they remember my birthday?  Would they have wanted to know me?

.........Did they miss me?

I would be happy if they did care about me.  I suppose if I were to hear that if they didn't care, I might regret asking.  I can't predict what the answer will be; perhaps I should wait until I am ready to hear the answer, whatever it is, before I ask.



  1. I used to think about mine, too, Amanda. Did they care I was missing? One day in 1993 I met my grandmother but she didn't know who I was. I told her I was a Thrall from Seattle which was true. I sat there and looked at photos and heard her stories about her kids and grandkids. I was her granddaughter too but she didn't know. I will never regret that day for as long as I live...

  2. Without knowing your grandparents and the type of people that they were, I can say that most likely they did care very much and thought about you often. They may not have talked about it, but I am sure you were always near in thought.

  3. My paternal grandparents didn't/don't know about me. My grandfather has since passed, without ever knowing that he had another granddaughter out there. My grandmother still doesn't know about me, so how can she miss me?

    I do often wonder about my maternal grandparents. They told my first mother she either had to give me up or move out. I wonder if they ever think about me and if they made the right call? Do they regret not supporting her more? My first mother told me they'd be thrilled to learn about me and get to know me someday, but they don't know I've gotten back in touch.

    I hope that I get the chance to get to know them before it's too late. I've lost that chance with one grandparent, so I hope I don't loose it with the other three.

  4. I truly believe that they did think about you and pray/hope for your well being. Times were different and their feelings likely went largely unspoken, but I can say with pretty high confidence, that they cared.

    Having issues with google and can't post to blogger, gah!

  5. My grandparents never even knew I existed and they had all passed on by the time I was reunited. My mother was an adult and living far away from her (our) family. She couldn't bring herself to tell them about her "shameful" out of wedlock pregnancy. My n-father's family was in town but my father never told them about me and obviously he could spend time with them without them being any the wiser :) I actually have a lot of anger about being gypped out of my own grandparents. They had a right to know about me and I had a right to know them.

  6. One of the best gifts I received was being told that my grandfather said if I ever came looking he wanted to meet me. That meant more to me than just about anything I can think of.

  7. I too always wondered about grandparents. One of my grandfathers I never knew he passed right after I was born and adopted, my other grandfather died when I was eight and my grandmothers when I was in my late 20's and early thirties and they all had lived so far away I did not see them much. So, it was tough to learn the my first mom's parents had been the ones to arrange the whole adoption and sending my mother away and the resulting stories put in place to cover her absence. My biological fathers parents wanted nothing to do with my mothers pregnancy. Nothing has changed about that to this day either per the adoption court. It is tough enough to grow up wondering why your parents gave you up, and to deal with the fact they don't want anything to do with you now. But, two sets of grandparents as well? Adoption can really do a number on your feelings of self worth for sure, no matter how strong a person is (sigh).

  8. As an "original" grandparent I can tell you that the grief of losing my grandson to adoption is the greatest grief I have EVER felt. I continue to mourn the loss every day of my life. I have become friends with another "original" grandmother who feels just the same way I do. Both of our daughter's made the choice for adoption but they had NO idea what it all really meant at the time. We truly bought into the idea that this baby needed 2 parents to love and care for them. Oh, how I love my grandson. One of my students is adopted and always wonders if her family loved her. Just the other day, we cried together as I told her not only did she have a birthmother who loved her but she probably had grandparents who loved her as well.
    We have learned SO much in the 3 years since my daughter placed her son into the loving arms of adoptive parents. We ALL thought we were doing the best for him. At one point I begged my daughter to reconsider because I KNEW how much grief she would have her whole life. She was determined to love him the best she could by giving him what she could not. She truly did not know think she could possibly be what was best despite our urging her to consider it.
    For those of you who wonder if your grandparents love you.... I'm pretty sure they do....more than you can imagine.

  9. Heidi _momof37/29/2012 5:35 PM

    I have 3 adopted kids, all adopted from foster care. A&E are biosibs, and the adoption is basically closed. I know their maternal grandparents died before they were born. I have almost no information about their paternal side so wouldn't know. R is also adopted and we have an open adoption with his maternal side. He met his paternal grandma once, and I have pictures of that meeting and then she passed away. On his maternal side we go visit his grandma out of state once a year, also to visit his biosib, and other relatives, including his biomom when she wants to be around. His biograndparents have taken accepted A&E as their grandchildren too and as far as A&E are concerned, his biofamily is also their family. And, of course, my biofamily and my parents are their family too. I figure you can't have too many grandparents, or people who love you.


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