There was a time, not long ago, when there were few grandparents. Those of us born shortly after the war with four grandparents were rare indeed. I was named after my grandfather who died the year I was born. Dad’s parents were both dead and that left us with one grandmother – a real sweetie, by the way – and that was more or less standard.

Our grandchildren have four, and the way marriages are going these days, that is probably less than average. I don’t know how it is in most families, although I can well understand that there might be some friction among the grandparents at Christmas. For us there is none. We live on the other side of the world. Our daughter-in-law’s parents are basically the only grandparents our grandchildren know. Our son makes a huge effort to keep us connected through Skype, but nonetheless while we are home we are essentially babysitters.
That role was very much in evidence at the wedding we attended for Nicole’s sister. Our job was to get the kids there, keep an eye on them during the celebration and get them home again after the dance. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But Ben is much like his father was at his age. He has an almost irrepressible energy and a fearlessness that spells trouble for whoever is trying to look after him. I caught up with him just in time to see him disappear out the front door into the parking lot. We had a little walk while he investigated ‘Where’d the car go?’ and returned him to his by then frantic mother.
What we saw of the wedding looked lovely, and I’m sure that Pat is delighted to have both of his daughters wed and settled into marriage. Their oldest has been a huge blessing to our son, and their children are a delight to be with, even for as short a time as we get. There will come a time when we can develop a proper relationship with them, but for now we are grateful for whatever time we can get.