Compared to many of his friends (and both his parents), the boy-child is very fortunate to have four living grandparents, albeit one he hardly knows.
For most of his life, his paternal grandparents have lived only a few miles away. Although they have always been very welcoming, they are also extremely reserved people and have never been particularly “hands-on” grandparents. These days, both suffer poor health and memory loss and are unlikely to even be aware that grandson number three is about to celebrate a milestone birthday.
My son’s closest relationship has definitely been with my mother – who, ironically, is the only grandparent living on the other side of the world. Before we left the UK, she was a frequent visitor and a very strong presence in his life. Since we moved back to NZ she has made extended visits, talked to him on the phone, emailed and written to him. I’m sure that within a few days a birthday card will arrive from her (I think she’s the only person left in the world who believes in “surface mail” and she posts everything weeks in advance), money will be put in his bank account and she will stay up late or get up early in order to phone him at a convenient (for him) time on “the day.”
I’m sad that she can’t be here to celebrate with him in person, and aware that she may never do that again. But then I remember the boy-child’s friends who don’t have the wonderful stock of memories of loving grandparents that my son has, and I am grateful for those memories. I hope he is.
This post was written as part of my “countdown” to my son’s sixteenth birthday. Here is what has gone before: