He’s been a delight from the word go. It may be his nature – we’ll find out. But it is certainly the way his parents are managing him. Deeply loving, but with a willingness to let him build relationships with his extended family. Miriam always said it takes a village to raise a kid and she is staying true to her word. He’s happy to be with either set of grandparents, knowing he is safe and loved. And what a treat that is for us all!
They been living a 20 minute walk away – 5 mins in the car – so we’ve had it good. When I hear about grandparents whose offspring are in Australia or even another part of the country, I feel for them. It must be so tough at a distance when a visit to the paediatrician is needed or you just want to help by sorting out the washing or cooking a meal when they’re shattered. We’ve been able to pop in, push round the vac, have a cuddle and be out again before they even notice.
The house opposite came up for sale
Betty and I have been neighbours for 38 years. In the last 10 we’d become good friends. She got to know the kids and enjoyed a cuddle with the dogs, not to mention our chats about the old days and which were the best dance halls during the war. And as time passed and she needed a bit more help, we were an obvious choice for ‘first call’. It was a lovely relationship and one I really valued.
As problems increased, it became clear she needed more help than family or friends could provide so a care home was found. I felt really sad – until I went to see her. She was in clover! There was so much to do, good company, food put before her, trips out – you name it, she was doing it. She couldn’t have been happier and I was both relieved and delighted.
Now she was content and ready to let go, up went the ‘For Sale’ board. It was too soon really for Barry and family, but what an opportunity. One very careful owner, end of a quiet cul-de-sac, walking distance from station and town – what’s not to love. I wasn’t sure if such close proximity to granny and grandad would be a turn off or a selling point. Turns out it was the latter – how blessed are we! Anthony was well on the case and the deal soon went through.
Can I be Granny and good neighbour?
I’ve always been aware that we have no role model for active Granping, but this was something else altogether. Granny, neighbour, friend, parent, In-law – how on earth could we manage all those boundaries together? It took a lot of soul searching and careful thought to get a sense of what life would be like. Where should we draw the line? How easy would it be to say ‘no’? What if they were around too much? What if they never came round at all? What if we drove them mad? What if I kept noticing when they weren’t in and worrying there was a problem?
You get the drift – I was into catastrophising big time. This is so important, we couldn’t afford for it to go wrong. I can’t tell you how often I asked Miriam if she really wanted to ‘come back home’ to this extent. Finally she told me to shut up and stop asking! She did have questions and uncertainties about the house, but living near us wasn’t one of them.
Moving day finally arrived
Even when the van was out there blocking the road, I struggled to take it in. As neighbour, I’m so used to checking the pattern of lights and curtains to make sure Betty is OK. I know which windows were open when she was home, what she did with the lights when she went to bed, when she pottered out to put her recycling in the bin. It was important to keep an eye and check if something was different – even if everything was fine, it was good to have a bit of a chat. Now it’s time to wind my neck in and mind my own business – they don’t need my oversight.
If the house could speak it would be amazed. Used to a very quiet and ordered life, suddenly there are dogs, babies, boxes, music, noise – confusion everywhere. Gardens have been dug up to allow for more car space, the lights are on pretty much constantly, there is no routine to indicate what time of the day it is.
Three weeks in, it’s all going fine, but I’m not holding my breath – we’re sure to fall over each other at some point. The test won’t be in keeping life smooth and peaceful, but in managing the irritations as they arise. I think we’re all up for it – fingers crossed – so I look forward to interesting times ahead.