Grandparents differ–that’s for sure! Some command enough wealth to take their grandchild on fantastic vacations, while others scrimp to pay their basic living costs. Some wear hardhats and steel-toed boots, while others slipper their way to the porch and enjoy a lazy session with the newspaper. Some interact almost daily with their grandchildren, while others play the recluse (willingly or not). Some play up any holiday with a fanfare, while others are more laid-back.
The differences between two sets of grandparents who share the same grandchild can sometimes create problems. Take Melba’s situation, for example (name changed to protect her privacy). Melba was forced to deal with the issue of grandparent rivalry when her daughter married and had children.
The family of Melba’s son-in-law lived a far more sumptuous life than Melba and her husband could afford. Her son-in-law came from a wonderful, close-knit family, and Melba had felt truly glad for her daughter’s good fortune in marriage. Her happiness began to fade, however, as she found herself sitting on the sidelines. It seemed that her daughter and family spent increasingly more and more weekends, holidays, and vacations at lovely resorts or expensive events with the other set of grandparents.
She and her husband could not afford to join in such activities, even if they had been invited. Nor could she and her husband afford the lavish gifts that the rival grandparents frequently bestowed on her grandchildren. Melba still worked, though her husband had retired–so the time that she could devote to her grandchildren was somewhat limited. Time and again it seemed that when Melba tried to schedule dinner together or time to see the grandchildren, the desired time slot was already booked for activities with the other grandparents.
To complicate the matter further, the situation bothered Melba more than it did her husband, who counseled her not to interfere. So, for a few years Melba bit her tongue and did nothing. As the situation worsened, she began to do some soul-searching. What faults and mistakes had brought her to this unsatisfying condition? What could she do to improve it? Eventually, she settled upon some wonderfully wise conclusions and devised a plan to address the problem.
If you’re interested in Melba’s conclusions, read Part 2.