Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Being moved out of the picture

(43 Posts)
Sparkling Thu 15-Oct-20 14:44:27

I am getting ready to duck as I will probably come over as too needy.
For many, many years, I baby sat and took all my grandchildren on holiday, loved being with them all, when I think about it that was when I mostly saw my children either dropping them off or picking them up. I have helped all of them financially and was pleased to. Now they are all working or at University. I hardly hear from any of them, if I send a text about every 2/3 weeks I receive one sentence answers. There has been no falling out. I live on my own and have been so lonely in lockdown and I thought they might bother. I’m a bit of a saddo I suppose, my family came first and I put other things on hold. I did think they all cared but I’m beginning to feel I was just safe hands. How do you make a life in these times? Other people see their children but mine seem happier with friends and partners.

Oldbutstilluseful Thu 15-Oct-20 14:50:17

Have you told any of them how you feel? I was the same, but did open up to one of my children and I now see them regularly and the other one keeps in touch. Sometimes we have to make the first move.

Good luck, I hope it works out for you.

Hithere Thu 15-Oct-20 14:57:28

It is the cycle of life.

Look at the great opportunity you have in front of you - time to rediscover who you are as a person and what you like.

ExD Thu 15-Oct-20 15:04:17

The sad fact is that we don't loom large in our grandkid's lives, however many hours we spent with them as infants. I spent several years feeling hurt about this.
Then turned it round and asked myself 'what did I do for my grandparents once I left school?'
Answer - not a lot.
One grandparent never stopped 'pestering' - come and see me - I never see you - etc etc, and when I did go wouldn't 'let me go' - coat taken away and hidden in some obscure cranny, kettle on, best china brought out, special packets of biscuits opened or new-baked cookies brought out. Hometime delayed to ridiculous degree.
I avoided her.
The other was more relaxed but lived some distance away, and I regret to say because she didn't nag I didn't see much of her.
I now feel very guilty and so selfish.
And now I miss my own grown up grandchildren
Its a fact of life - sad.

Luckygirl Thu 15-Oct-20 15:08:08

You are not a "saddo" - you are facing a new challenge in your life, at an age when it can be hard to muster the energy to break out a bit, and in a time when we are hedged around by virus restrictions.

I think the only thing you can do is to look back on the good times and try and not feel resentful about the current situation - "after all I did for you, I do not see you." etc. Tempting I am sure, but will get you deeper into the glooms.

We do, to one degree or another, move out of the picture a bit as time goes by. The GC are in that stage of life opening up before them and they are hard to pin down to even a conversation. We have been used to being a bit of a family lynch pin and that has gone now.

The only thing we can do is to see this as an opportunity - to do a free online course, to take up a new creative activity, to rest and read, to listen to lovely music, to volunteer, to garden, to join new things (online at the moment) and to make new friends.

I know it is hard. I am living on my own now and it is far from what I would have chosen.

I think it is good to try not to dwell on the negatives. It is just life, with its inevitable changes.

BlueBelle Thu 15-Oct-20 15:16:08

I don’t think it’s at all unusually sparkling as the grandkids grow up they spread their wings and disappear just like we did Didnt you ? I remember I broke my Nans heart when I moved overseas for four years at 19/20 I had lived with her for 3 years and although she only marginally tried to stop me it never entered my head how much she would miss me and how lonely she probably was with me gone
I did I hope make up for it when I was older and used to go every day to help her then brought her to live with me for three years till she died but that was much later
I have seven grandkids in their teens and early 20 s and hear very little from them although like you I was very hands on
It’s a very natural progression
How do you combat it ? and not become a ‘saddo’ as you put it Well I can only speak for myself I do three days a week voluntary work I get out and about with friends for coffees and lunches, I do have one daughter nearby who I see regularly and will offer me lifts if needed although I do try to stay as independent as possible I have my bus pass which is a boon so I can toddle of to the shops or a park or a nearby town I just try to find interest in what is around me

I would be more worried if the grandkids were so lonely that they were thinking about me they should be out enjoying life and being selfish it’s normal
They ll come back to you, just accept and do lots of other things
Hope that helps

sodapop Thu 15-Oct-20 15:28:42

I agree with BlueBelle Your grandchildren are moving on with their lives and you have to do the same Sparkling. It's a new phase in your life to do all the things you haven't had time for - Covid allowing of course.
Young adults are excited about their new lives and don't give a lot of thought to their families it happens to all of us.

Sparkling Thu 15-Oct-20 19:41:14

Thank you all of you, I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me.😬

Msida Thu 15-Oct-20 22:24:44

Sparkling it's not just your children it's most children and if you can think far back enough our generation /we weren't any different

It really isn't that they do t love you it's just that they are getting on with their lives

I bet if you reached out to them and I don't mean a text I mean a proper phone call, try and choose a good time when they would be able to speak and just speak to them from your heart, no thinking bad about yourself like you are needy, no letting pride get in the way, just a nice conversation maybe inviting them all home for a lovely family diner.

When your young you have so ma y happy exciti g thi gs on the go

Let me tell you briefly about me, I absolutely loved my Dad ever so much but didn't make alot of time for him because my life was so full juggling two children a home a husband, there really wasn't enough hours in the day, I soo regret that now but can not go back in time.

Please don't think your family don't love you because you sound a lovely caring person a d they probably love you very much

Go ahead and make that phi e call a d invite your family tyo that lovely home cooked diner 🍗🥙🥗🍿🍨

Msida Thu 15-Oct-20 22:27:33

Sorry about the typos I should check before I send.. but hopefully you get the just of what I am saying

NotTooOld Thu 15-Oct-20 22:34:00

I agree with other posters. Our grandchildren are only really lent to us for a few years then they spread their wings and fly, which is as it should be. I keep in touch with mine by Messenger or text and occasionally get a reply. When I was a teenager we had no mobile phones so, as far as I remember, I just stopped seeing my grandparents and thought nothing of it. With hindsight they must have missed me and my sister a lot. Sad but true. No point in fretting.

Hawera1 Fri 16-Oct-20 09:52:25

How you are feeling was how my mother felt when my son went to the U.K. on his OE. Once he went to university he gradually drifted away from her then too. Now I'm finding we don't see much of him either and we moved to be nearer him and his partner which was his idea. They are so busy with their work that we don't see our little grandson much either. His partners mother moved to New Zealand to live with them so we don't get babysitting duties either. It's hard to understand because I was so family orientated and I thought I brought him up like that too. You are not alone in this believe me. You must now make a life for yourself so your relationship with your children doesn't become one of disappointment or bitterness. I know how hard this is that they don't need you as much as you.need them.

Dylant1234 Fri 16-Oct-20 10:03:16

I was feeling that way too sparkling but then, like you, I thought back to how I had behaved towards my grandparents, and indeed parents, once I had left home and regret that I didn’t really give them much thought - in spite of having absolutely adored them all when I was a child! I think it’s the natural way of things; they are really close when little, still in primary school, then drift further in secondary school until they fly the nest and are busy making their own lives. I feel it’s a chance to contact old friends again, pursue ones own interests, develop a philosophical outlook on life and death whilst, of course, welcoming them with open arms when they do visit or contact in any way....

donna1964 Fri 16-Oct-20 10:11:02

It is an awful feeling when you have invested so much of your time into Grandchildren and now dont hear from them. Most kids are selfish and just thinking of their own lives and wont be thinking about all you have done for them.

Its time to make a life for you...do all the things you have wanted to do and take care of you. xx

Craftycat Fri 16-Oct-20 10:12:00

I understand- mine are still quite young- I have 6 between 6-16. Already they are developing their own personalities & have loads of friends.
Interestingly the eldest - a boy- is the most caring & he will come to see me when his dad comes over if he is around & is very sociable.
I'm hoping the others will also get better as they get older. I do understand that when I see the smaller ones it is because I have picked them up from school usually & they are probably tired at the end of the day. When they stay over they are much better but still bring all their gadgets with them.
My Gran lived opposite us us & I saw her every day until she died when I was 23 with a child of my own.

Jane10 Fri 16-Oct-20 10:19:45

I accept that we become less relevant to family members as they grow up and away into their own busy lives. However, I wasn't like that when I was younger. I saw a great deal of my parents and grandparents when I was a busy working wife and mother. Indeed I was suddenly quite bereft when my mother died and I didn't have any older family members left to visit. It was an odd feeling to have my Saturday afternoon back and no relative left to phone during the week after 50+ years of visiting either grandparents or parents. I never resented it. It was just a part of life. I can only hope that my own ACs and DGCs feel the same but 'ah hae ma doots'!

Maremia Fri 16-Oct-20 10:21:33

I hope you get back to being Sparkling again soon. Organise a family What's App group. You can send a funny photo every day. They love their phones, and will respond to that. I know it's not the same as seeing them. Zoom is a bit more difficult to organise, but is great for birthdays and your own cultural celebrations. Just now isn't normal for anyone. We are living under restrictions at the moment. Good luck with finding a way that makes you happy.

PECS Fri 16-Oct-20 10:21:35

I look back now at how I was with my parents/ in laws. They were great at helping with childcare etc. Perfect grandparents. Sadly my parents both died when I was in my 30s so my own kids were still quite young. My in laws lived well into their 90s. We continued to visit on a weekly basis..but they wrre reasonably close for a coupleof hours on a Sunday etc. If they had been further away more difficult to do. The kids did not visit as older teens/ young women except on birthdays/ Christmas etc. I think distance is key.

Grandmabatty Fri 16-Oct-20 10:29:25

I know it's a generalisation, but many teenagers are selfish or rather self absorbed. I was a teacher and can testify to that! It's not that they don't love you or appreciate what you have done, but their own lives are so exciting/depressing /absorbing that you get a passing thought. And, without being harsh, that's the way it should be. As others have suggested, find ways to interact with them through technology, zoom, WhatsApp, messaging etc. And find different ways to connect with others so being alone doesn't make you bitter.

jaylucy Fri 16-Oct-20 10:55:30

Sadly, that's the way things happen - I can remember my parents being treated the same way by some of their grandchildren.
They will eventually come back to you, but maybe not as close as when they were growing up.
I think that you should send them all a letter and explain that because of current circumstances, you have been unable to see anyone and miss them all dreadfully. They may well have assumed that you had friends to see and be in contact with.
What about their parents? Are they also aware hoe difficult it is for you ? Unfortunately this virus has made may of us to become more insular and forgetting about others.

polnan Fri 16-Oct-20 10:57:53

well thank you all for these comments, it has helped me also, though I think I am sort of aware... generations, and yes, they have their lives to live now...

thank you everyone for your encouragement

Blinko Fri 16-Oct-20 11:10:33

We give them two things in life: we give them roots and we give them wings. Sparkling, your GCs are finding their wings. That means you and their parents have done a good job.

Smileless2012 Fri 16-Oct-20 11:12:47

There's nothing wrong with you Sparkling, nothing at allflowers.

Bijou Fri 16-Oct-20 11:24:31

Some families are close others not so.
When I was a child only saw my grandparents a couple of times a year although they only lived a tram ride away. Was close to my grandchildren when they were very little and I lived near them. Now I haven’t seen my fifty one year old grandson for seven years. My granddaughter and three great grandchildren for three years. They do live many miles away and I can no longer travel. We do communicate on Messenger and send photos that way.

Sheilasue Fri 16-Oct-20 11:32:13

Did you have a good relationship with your own grandparent.
I only saw my maternal grandmother who was awful. Now and again.
No time for me or my brother or sister.
My children, nieces and nephews loved my mum and dad
My mum died at 72 they were still quite young so they missed her dreadfully. My gd has gone moved on she comes to see me as we had a guardianship so she keeps in touch. She texts me and I texts her.
Give them time maybe they will realise when they are older.