Grandparents are also affected when their children divorce divorce. Grandparents may worry that their child’s spouse will get full custody and that they may not get to see the grandchildren. Or, a grandparent may be right in the middle of a custody situation because the parents of the children have included them in custody time.
These are only some of the custody issues that grandparents can face. If you are a grandparent who is worried about custody issues, here are some suggestions about how to handle those issues. This also includes some of the rights you have so you know how to proceed.
In spite of the socio-economic challenges, my grandparents were determined to become co-parents. Nevertheless, my mother was unhappy being dependent; there were few jobs in post-World War II Italy. Since many townspeople were emigrating to the United States in search of higher economic rewards, Vivina made her courageous decision-to obtain a passport and passage to the New World.
Pietro and Domenica willingly accepted their new role as my surrogate parents when I was only 15 months old.
As to be expected, my mother missed me and wanted me to join the new family she had established in the New World. This was inconceivable to the three of us who had solidified our own family bonds. With time, the endearing letters crossing the Atlantic became an ultimatum.
To keep our bonds intact, my grandparents decided to make the ultimate sacrifice: liquidate their farm and accompany me to America-AND subsequently turn me over to my parents.
On July 17, 1956, my grandparents and I boarded the Andrea Doria. Pietro and Domenica felt much trepidation, while I felt only excitement. What could be better after all? I would be with my nonni and soon with a new family: a stepfather, a mother, and a one-year-old sister.
Tragically, what happened on the last night of our voyage nearly drowned my grandparents’ past sacrifices and immigrant dreams. At 11:10 p.m., the Swedish liner Stockholm indiscriminately broadsided us at full speed, penetrating one third of our vessel six stories high, then ripping open the star board side cabins and fuel tanks. The impact took the lives of 43 passengers. Thankfully, our small family unit survived to become a part of history’s greatest sea rescue. As we rowed to our rescue ship, we sadly bid goodbye to any remnants of our former life.
If only this could have been the beginning of a great new life. Ironically, the ocean journey that was supposed to unite a family stranded us islands apart. Family tribulations continued and resulted in two divorces: that of my grandparents, and, later, that of my parents. For decades, I was truly drifting, not only between continents, but also unhappily between fidelities.
As for the uprooting of families from their establish gardens, so that they can all be planted together in a new one, the act is full of challenges. The blending of my family, although it admirable concept, caused more strain that could have been foreseen. In fact, the Promised Land promised only disillusionment. But I have learned that life is truly a test of character, and if it is true that obstacles don’t change character, they reveal it. I have discovered a character that is able to survive and transcend the obstacles in my life’s journey.*
Watching your grandchild grow, develop their personalities; learn right from wrong is wonderful. I am not sure if I was so busy while raising my own son that I missed all the little things that I now see in my grandchildren. When I tell my son and daughter-in-law to enjoy everything and everyday while the boys are young, I mean it from the bottom of my soul. Time passes much to quickly and you never really notice it until long after it is gone.
Given the choice for a wish for someone I would wish for him or her to have a grandchild. It is truly life changing. They bring more to your life than is even imaginable; everyday you get to spend with them brings new joy and experiences that fill you with pure happiness. They say or do things that remind you of your child or yourself. They say and do things that only a child can with such innocence and love.
Grandparents can really help their grandchildren during a custody situation. When children visit grandma and grandpa they can relax and feel secure. You can provide a stable, positive environment for the children to visit and you can develop positive, loving relationships with them. Remember that working through the custody issues means you will be able to spend time with your grandchildren