September GRG Connections
Issue 3 Volume 3
Music to a Grandmother’s Ears
From Godefrieda Alfred, a Palm Springs Grandmother
Skylar first came into my life when she was six weeks old. DCF called and placed her with me. Her mother was incarcerated for 3 months. After Skylar was a year old, her mother and my son (Skylar’s father) got her back again. Within six months, DCF placed her back in my care fulltime. My son became despondent and ended his life five days before Skylar turned two. Her mother came back from living in Ohio saying she would do the right thing. Well, she didn’t. I have had permanent guardianship since November 9, 2009, that will last until the year 2024, when she turns 18.
At age 2 ½ she couldn’t talk because of emotional neglect and the violence she had seen. She had always had severe allergies. I would have to get up every 4 hours to put her on her nebulizer machine. Skylar finally started talking at age 3. She is developmentally delayed with speech, and also suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
When Skylar got sick in the middle of the night or during the day with her little scrapes and bruises, she always cried for her Mommy. She hadn’t even seen or heard from her mother for over a year. At those times, I yearned for her to cry for me because I was the one who had always comforted her for her whole life.
A couple of months ago, Skylar got sick again in the middle of the night. Once again we went to the emergency room with her crying for her Mommy. I shared my frustration with my fellow grandparents, at our monthly Delray Beach GRG meeting, that I knew would also understand.
Amazingly, by the next GRG meeting the story had changed. In the middle of the night Skylar got sick and cried out. This time she cried for me, her grandmother. It was music to my ears! She only had an upset stomach and was ok in the morning. Now my heart is not as broken because she does not cry out for her Mommy any more.
Maybe one day when she is older she will again. But by then, I will be able to help her understand that her Mommy is not well and has an addiction at this time.
From MAR, a West Palm Beach Grandmother
It took years to have a private moment, place or thought. Once my boys grew up and moved on with their lives, I got my life back. I could finally daydream again, plan to pursue my education and develop a hobby. I could select a time and place for me to share time with my children and/or grandchildren. Then it happened. LIFE HAPPENED. Nothing too dramatic compared with the daily news programs or the newspaper articles. No earthquakes, tornadoes or hurricanes. Although that last one is always a possibility. No, not anything like that, but certainly something happened.
I became the guardian of my 11-year-old granddaughter 3 years ago. Quite a process, one I was totally naïve about, the how and whys of having a government agency seemingly in charge of her, me, my time, money and schedule. It was as though I was the one that had done something wrong and they were about ready to discover what it was: home inspections, pictures, fingerprints, monthly visits. Letters came in to demand I take my granddaughter to the doctor, dentist, and therapist and in what time frame.
Wait a minute! I already took her to the doctor to get rid of her pin worms. I also had to take her to get the head lice removed and the follow-ups. I signed her up for a therapist. I’m the one that took her to the dentist since she was 8. I’m the one that paid for the braces and water pic. I’m the one that bought the school clothes and supplies. The government agency that ignored my calls since she was 5 is now going to come into my home and tell me how I should care for the granddaughter I always loved and tried to take care of? It took me about a year or so, but now they are out of our lives, except for the occasional reminder letter about doctor visits. Now all I have to put up with is the normal loss of private time that comes with raising a teenager!
A Grandparent’s Safety Tips
From Sue Bartolomeo, GRG Program Coordinator,
and also a Grandmother
If your child walks to and from school, make sure he is safe. If possible try to:
1. Arrange rides or a neighborhood car pool for him.
2. Find a walking buddy he can depend on each day.
3. Give him a whistle he can blow at the sign of any danger-stranger pirate that may appear and convince him to go with them.
4. Make sure your child has a safe place to go after school until you get home.
5. Make sure he understands the importance of keeping the door locked while inside.
6. Be sure to have all important phone numbers posted on the refrigerator or wall where the child can find them easily. Also make sure the child knows how to make the proper call when needed. Have the child call you when he is home and safe.
7. Back up plans are always needed when school gets out early or unexpectedly, so be prepared.
For more information on keeping your child safe visit:
From the Preschooler’s BUSY BOOK by Trish Kuffner:
365 Creative Games and Activities to Keep Your 3- to 6-Year-Old Busy.
Ask your child to tell you what certain words mean to him. Pick out everyday words that he has likely heard before. Some suggestions to get you started: friend, happy, retire, loving, family, anniversary, occasion, special, obedient, country. You may be surprised to find that some of the words in your child’s vocabulary are something of a mystery to him. Some of the answers you will get will be priceless; write them down for posterity!