Some are petrified their adult children will find them. They didn't steal the grandchildren from the parent. But some of these adult children behave, well, like children, at best.
The abuse is out there, the bullying, the nastiness, the false calls to social services, the drunken phone calls, the attempts at extortion, the pounding on the door in the middle of the night. These behaviors have forced grandparents to make a decision to chose the safety and stability of the grandchildren and themselves over contact with their children, the children they still love but who need to get their own lives together before they can interact with their children. It does come to that point too often, and if there is no order for visitation, it can be time to put physical distance between the adult child and the rest of the family. It hurts terribly, but it has to be done.
I'm not advocating violating court orders for parental visitation. The mess THAT can make, no thinking grandparent with custody wants! But those of you who have never had a drunken adult child pounding on your door at 2 AM seeking visitation with the grandkids at that hour, well, I've never known of a court to grant visitation starting at 2 AM, and a call to the police gets everybody out of bed who was not previously roused by the pounding of the drunken one.
This can cause a retread parent to get lonely, to think about what might have been, to second-guess himself or herself. There is also the ever-present thought of the adult child's safety, wishing and hoping that they will try to get out of whatever it is that is causing them to be what they presently are. Perhaps out there, there is that one counselor, that one clergyperson, that one law enforcement officer, who can reach out and make a difference in the life of that one wayward adult child.
There is some anger over losing that lofty position of grandparent, and being regulated back into harness as parent, for all the love they bear their grandchildren. It's no fun to be the enforcer of "yucky" vegetables, late homework and TV supervision, all over again, when Grandma wants to bake cookies and Grandpa wants to go fishing.
There are people out there who will listen, for free, even if there are no social services in your area. They will pray for you, as well. If you are of a mind that you can't speak to them, well, at least look to their lives as examples, and remember that while this grandparent-raising-grandchildren phenomena is big in the US now, there have always been adult children for whom home training didn't seem to take, and grandchildren who needed to be raised.
I realize some of my readers are not Catholic, but bear with me while I endorse the intercession of the saints. There are many Protestant preachers who claim we Catholics worship them. We don't. They claim we are necromancing, or talking with the dead. The problem with this thought: If we believe a Christian has made it to Heaven, then he or she isn't dead, just relocated. They might not have an earthly body, but they just as alive as we are. Now then, if you can ask your Bible study people or the people on your prayer chain to pray for you, then doesn't it stand to reason that you can ask some folks in Heaven who have been there and done that to do the very same thing? And yes, we have pictures of them, and statues. You have no photos of your grandkids, your spouse, your friends?
In any event, the lives of these people, upon investigation, have been shown to be holy. So, you have some good examples. And in the case of the saints I'll share with you here, they had more than their fair share of adult kid problems, or thought they did. I've also included a couple Old Testament folks who also had their problems with adult kids.
- ADAM AND EVE- You forget about Cain and Abel. Bad enough to have the horror of losing the best.kid.ever. You and I both both know that having more children might bring comfort, but it doesn't replace any one child. Then there's the matter of having one son kill the other. Not a happy day in the suburbs of Paradise!
- KING DAVID- He admittedly made his own problems with all the wives, the Bathsheba Affair, etc. But O Absalom!
- THE MOTHER OF THE "SONS OF THUNDER"- Maybe not the worst adult children, but oh how they argued!
- Ss. ANNE AND JOACHIM- Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Catholic Church lists them as patrons of grandparents. Yes, it was a joy to be the grandparents of Jesus! And no, they didn't have to raise him. But we are told they raised Mary to be sweet and pure. We can only imagine what went on in their heads when Our Lady turned out to be in a family way and not quite married.
- ST. MONICA- Mother of St. Augustine, who, in his younger years, was not always saintly. It's rumored he had at least one child out of wedlock, and seemed to spend his young adult years bent on aggravating poor Monica. Apparently, there were no grandchildren to raise, because she decided to be his conscience and follow him wherever he went to be away from her. The last place turned out to be Milan, where Augie converted. Also a good saint for those of African descent, as Monica and Augustine came from North Africa.
- ST. AMBROSE- The bishop who converted Augustine, and Monica's spiritual adviser. So good he deserves TWO links!
- ST. HELEN- While not having any records of being a grandparent in distress, her husband divorced her after a couple decades of marriage for the Roman equivalent of a Trophy Wife. Her son later became Emperor Constantine, who took her into the palace, and treated her as royalty. Point, match, game!
- ST. MARGARET OF CORTONA- Margaret took up with a man, became his mistress, had his child, and lived with him for years. When her lover was murdered, Margaret took up a life of penance. It's nice to know people can change.
- ST. ELIZABETH SETON- Her mother died when she was 3. Her husband died in a foreign country. Two of her daughters died during her life. And her sons aggravated the ever-living stuffings out of her! The boys, who were actually grown men, quit jobs she worked very hard to find them, but didn't take up further employment. They preferred instead to cause her to have money issues! It took her death and no doubt bending God's ear in person to make those boys get back in shape!