My Grandma was never a Grandma 13



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My Grandma was never a Grandma to me. I remember when I was just a little girl and my grandmother would sit sewing in her chair and wouldn’t look up. I’d hug her leg or try to get her attention but she would just close the door. Deep down she was probably very bitter about something, but as a child you take it very personally.

Looking back now I still never have known why she didn’t want grandchildren. My mum was always very hands on, and she told me when she told her mum she was pregnant, Grandma simply walked out of the room. It was strange considering my mum said Grandma was a very good mother to her, and for all intents and purposes loved her own children and raising them.

I took it personally for many years. My friends’ grandparents would come along to their school plays and graduation but my sole grandparent, Grandma, would decline every invite.

It’s fair enough if you don’t want grandchildren but by no means is it OK to make an innocent child feel unloved.

Years on, I’m not a grandmother yet but now I know the true value of being a matriarch… because my family didn’t have one. I know how I will act when my children have their own kids. I won’t ignore them – I’ll call them. I will take an interest in their lives and become a confidant and spend those hours nurturing them. All those years my grandmother never spent.

I had plenty of cousins and still she would sit and sew if we came over. I doubt she knew when my birthday was. My partner’s grandmother on the other hand raised him and was protective as anything of him. She embodied a grandparent and in hearing stories about her, I feel like that will be my inspiration for grandparenting.

Many readers of this will know the feeling of having a family member reject or ignore them, but I wonder how many take it as a lesson? Good can come from the bad, and I thank my grandmother for showing me how not to be a grandparent.

Tell us: Did you have a similar situation? Who taught you a life lesson on what not to do?

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  1. When I was old enough to know about grandparents mine had all but one passed away – my grandfather died when I was ten and that was it – I have been a nana for 33 years to six wonderful grandchildren ranging in age from 33 to 14 and also have two beautiful great granddaughters aged 6 and 7 years old who live in Singapore (home for Easter so excitement high) my life revolves around them all and I love them more than words can explain. Just love being a Nana and GG – who taught me how – have no idea the whole thing just came naturally.

  2. My Grandparents, all 4 were very hands on. Istill love them very much. I am now a hands on Grandmother to my 12 Grandchildren they range from 24 years of age down to 2 whom I see all the time. My Grandparent taughtme how to be a Grandmother by the way they were with all there Grandchildren. I remember just a few years ago we had a family get to gether and one of my cousins said “Nanna loved me the most” all 16 of us said no she did not! she loved me the best”. My Grandmother had told all of us the same thing and said not to tell the others,

  3. That is very sad and your Grandma missed something very precious. To have your grandchildren excited about coming to visit you and showing it is a wonderful feeling.

  4. My grand mother was never a grandmother either, I think it was the era where kids were seen and not heard, I was born in Wales in the UK in 1946…I had 4 brothers and 2 sisters and don’t even remember being cuddled from my own mother llet alone my grandmother…I felt very unloved as a child but had lots of friends as I was allowed out all day until dark….my mother was too busy taking care of a big family and me the middle child had to keep the peace, but had no body to talk to. And my grandmother was left with 10 children to bring up alone as her husband fell down the stairs and broke his neck just before his only son was born, 9 girls and 1 boy. She was a very brave and strong woman, that’s where I get my strength from…I have always tried to be a full on grandmother to my own 10 grandchildren and love them all equally, and I enjoy them so much. I want them to remember me as a fun grandmother that was there for them…..

  5. Such a shame the love and enjoyment I have from my grandchildren is something that I truly am blessed to enjoy..What a pity that there are grandparents that do not get to enjoy this..

  6. My grandmother brought me up and rarely if ever cuddled or kissed me but I loved her and still miss her and I know she loved me she just didn’t know how to show it, her mother was a strong but very harsh woman so she had no-one to learn from.

  7. At the age of four my grandmother (paternal), locked me in the front yard, with open gate to the road. My cousin (male) was locked into the back yard to play. This was done to separate us in case I contaminated him as I was “That woman’s daughter”. My mother did not have a relationship with her mother in law, no matter how hard she tried.

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  8. such a shame that some people have a difficult relationship with their grandparents. I had a great relationship with my maternal grandparents and my children had a great relationship with my parents. It has now been shown that Grandparents have an important role to play in teaching children about social structure and networking. They show the bigger picture to a child whose parents are busy working for and raising a family.

  9. I don’t really know what it was like to have grandparents as I was only 6 when we migrated to Australia from Scotland. I received letters, cards and gifts but don’t remember any of them apart from photos. My own mother and father and my inlaws at the time were fantastic grandmas and grandpas. I now thoroughly enjoy being grandma to my 5 grandchildren. Unconditional love 😍💜

  10. I had 2 sets of Grandparents. Paternal grandparents appeared harsh and unforgiving. Dad’s mother died before I turned 12 yrs, but yet for all her stiffness she did send me some nice presents. I still have some birthday cards I received. Maternal grandparents – I spent a lot of time with them. Pop had a stroke before I reached my 12th yr. In the 50’s when all this happened Pop was given enough Physio that he could walk with Callipers. Nana brought him home to soon and consequently he ended up occupying his bed 24/7. Pop wasn’t a particularly active man. One day he just didn’t wake up. I have always felt the only reason I spent a great deal of time at my maternal Grandparents was because I was amendable and obedient. Nana always seemed to be doing her washing when I was sent there. It was a wood copper & 2 cement troughs and of course the copper stick. I didn’t resent going there because my parents were constantly arguing & my father was a misogynist & being the eldest I usually coped a belting daily. When we were sent to bed he would then start on my mother, verbal & physical. There was no protection in the 50’s. I only wish they were alive today to see the push on to stop abuse within families. As far as cuddles & kisses, forget it, it never happened.

  11. I learned everything about how NOT to be a grandmother from my mother-in-law. She told me after my son was born that she could never love her son’s children with me because she could never be sure that they were actually his, as opposed to her daughter’s children of whom she could be sure since they came forth from their bodies. She missed so much not knowing or caring about my children. Now at 89 years of age, she wishes she had a relationship with them, as her daughter’s children are druggies and/or in jail. As you can imagine, my children don’t feel any responsibility to visit or care about her since she excluded them from her life.

  12. My Grandmother never showed any love for me. She only liked boys. She used to rap my knuckles if I played a wrong note when playing the piano. She never remembered my birthday or bought a present. She did give a cheap dinner set when I got married – all the handles came off the cups within weeks. My cousin was given a sewing machine. She really didn’t like me.
    Her problem, not mine.

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