This week Danielle Bean is hosting a discussion on gratitude, so I was inspired to post on this as well. Specifically, on how grateful I am for the children's grandparents (and step-grandparents) and the roles they play in our lives.
I am fortunate enough to have my mother and mother-in-law both within a few miles of my house, and my father just over an hour away. It is a rare day that passes when the kids don't see one (or more) of their grandparents. One or another is always calling, asking if I need help with the children or if so-and-so wants to do this-or-that. This is a joy to us all, children, grandparents and parents alike.
I honestly don't know how I would raise such a large family and be able to do all I do without their help. Babysitting in the quantities they provide would cost a fortune (as well as being inconceivable in general). Because of their help, Tony and Julia get loving attention most homeschool mornings while I focus on Joey. I get to sing in the church choir and regularly volunteer at the kids' school. Most important, the kids get one-on-one time where they can really be individuals, both with me and with their various grandparents, who each bring out something unique and wonderful in the children. This extended family of mine reminds me of the phrase "It takes a village to raise a child". It really does, and I am so happy that my village literally surrounds me.
I always have someone to call if I need to go to the doctor, a parent teacher conference, or Christmas shopping. The biggest bonus of all is that since there are so many grandparents nearby, I can split the kids up so no one person gets the burden of five all at once (well, very ofen, anyway)!
Unfortunately, my father-in-law lives far away (in Guadalajara, Mexico) so we don't get to see him as much as we would like, but even through this distance we feel his love and offer ours.
Thank you, grandparents, for loving the children in your unique and unconditional way. Thank you for encouraging their interests and skills, and for giving them experiences I simply don't have the time or energy to give. Thank you for helping me every time I ask (and so many times even before I ask). Thank you, step-grandparents, for loving the children as if they were your own flesh and blood. Thank you, all of you, for the joy you bring us. We love each of you very much.