Dear Kinship Grandparent.
I want you to know that I see you.
I see you running your grandchild to the dentist when your friends are running to their nail salon appointment.
I see you dropping off your grandchild at school and attending yet another IEP meeting, while your friends are having coffee.
I see you slipping out the of conversation when your friends are all chiming in about weekend breaks, travelling, and visiting grandchildren.
I see you juggling work, appointments and meetings, always making sure you do the best for your grandchild.
I see you sitting at your computer for hours researching attachment disorder or sensory processing disorder or fetal alcohol syndrome and all the other conditions that your grandchild needs support with.
I see you at the end of the day, thoroughly spent and exhausted, wondering if you can do it all again tomorrow.
I see you rocking a baby, chasing a toddler, reading to a primary one child, learning the new maths with a 10 year old, trying to understand the new lingo with your pre-teen, preparing sixth form applications with your year 11 leaver. I see you.
I see you cringe when people whine about the petty things that pale in comparison to your day as a kinship carer.
I see you spread thin, but still going the extra mile for your grandchild, and managing to do it with a smile.
I see you digging for depths of strength you never dreamed you had.
I see you rubbing out the arthritis pain and trying to keep up with a slight limp in your gait.
I see the pain in your eyes when all you do is taken for granted and you are the only one, they can lash out on. You stay stoic, unwavering, and strong for them.
I see the comfort in your arms as you comfort their pain, but there are no arms to comfort you.
I see you showing appreciation to the teachers, therapists and medical professionals and all who reach out to help your grandchild.
I see you reluctantly rising early in the morning to do it all over again after another restless night.
I see you when you are hanging on for dear life at the end of your rope.
I see you, exhausted at the end of the day, wondering ‘why me?’. I see your retirement plans fly away into thin air as you keep on going.
I know you feel invisible, like nobody notices any of it. But I want you to know I notice you. I see you relentlessly pushing forward.I see you worrying about failing this child. I see you grieving your own adult child. I see you quietly blaming yourself for their failures and choices.
What I want you to know is- it’s worth it. On days when you wonder if you can do it another minute, I want you to know that I see you. I want you to know you are beautiful. I want you to know you are not alone. There are thousands of us, silently doing what we know is best. I want you to know that love is what matters the most. Your love and my love.
And on those days when you see your grandchild smile, when you hear their laughter, watch them succeed in life – know it was all worth it. I will see you then too and I want you to know I am proud of you because I am one of you.
Thank you Liz x