Dear Grandparenting: I didn’t figure on this when my grandchildren met my lovely fiancee, Suzanne, for the first time. She was understandably a little nervous anyway, because I like talking about the kids so much. As Suzanne says, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.
Everything seemed OK until my grandson ran out of the kitchen and went upstairs. Turns out that Joey was upset because Suzanne put photographs of her grandchildren on my refrigerator and removed some old ones of my grandchildren. His two sisters didn’t say anything but quite obviously weren’t real pleased either. Who would have thought something little like that would cause a ruckus?
My dear Gracie died more than a year and a half ago. I wasn’t looking, but then Suzanne entered my life and BAM! What am I supposed to do when Suzanne brought out her grandchildren’s photos? Tell her to put them away because they’re not permitted? I don’t think so. I think my grandchildren will just have to adjust. I’m ready for another whirl and Suzanne is a great girl. I’d like to think my grandchildren can come to understand. Your thoughts? Lucky in Love, The Villages, Florida
Dear Lucky: Too much and too soon as it may be for your grandchildren, we get it. Grandfathers comfortably married until death interrupted their happy existence are often eager to take another swing. Marriage has been good to them, and they tend to be good husband material.
Men typically deal with their grief privately and are a rarity in bereavement group-counseling sessions, say bereavement counselors. They talk about it less, look for other things to do and want to move on. And while a relatively quick remarriage can seem reckless and create resentments — especially about money — second marriages for widowers are, in fact, more likely to last, compared to all second marriages.
Acceptance is a process, not an event. The photographs were a rude awakening that the family unit was changing, an all too frequent occurrence in our modern society. We suggest you talk to each grandchild separately. Listen to their concerns — if they embrace No. 2 wife, will they feel disloyal to your first wife? Don’t pressure them to quickly come to terms with your new love, but do insist on a family climate of decency and respect. You can’t fake this stuff — relationships take time.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Grandpoppy from Sidney, Ohio, is careful to choose his words wisely when “in the grand company of my grandchildren. It is much easier to build up a child then repair an adult. Don’t go overboard, but leave them with something positive to think about.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.