Tuesday, May 01, 2012

the village

Mama and Popa picked Che up from school today and drove him home to their little cottage (the house I grew up in). Che requested an early supper of just-caught Australian salmon (with lemon) so when I arrived Popa was cooking on the gas stove outside. I admired the progress on his wood fire oven and before long conversation turned to pizzas and twilight meals alfresco. 

I really love watching my parents with my children. My grandparents always lived overseas and as a child I never once felt like I was missing out. But when I became a parent I suddenly understood the importance of that relationship. It's a unique bond made all the more special by undivided attention, sweet treats and enormous love.

Daniel and I sometimes talk of moving somewhere new but we always come back to our parents - the Grandparents. Their devotion, love and support of our little family means so much. At the moment we just can't imagine leaving.

What do Grandparents mean to you now that you're a parent?

So many of Daniel's childhood memories involve his Grandparents. I'm so honoured to wear his Grandma's eternity ring as my engagement ring. When Daniel first put it on my finger it fit perfectly - it was like we had her blessing. 


44 COMMENTS

  1. Gorgeous pictures! I don't have kidlets yet, but i grew up without my grandparents around too. I am so happy to be living near my parents now so that in the (near) future I will have their support and get to see them with their grandchild *s*

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  2. I couldn't agree more - it does take a village to raise a child, a supportive community of like-minded lovelies. We recently made the (very difficult) decision to leave my family farm, where I grew up, where I thought we would raise our children and another generation on our land. In walking away from 'home' we knew that we were walking away from having the grandparents of our future children nearby to help us, to be a really huge part of theirs and our lives. That was hard. Now we are still looking for our 'home' - but wherever it is I hope it is somewhere where we can build a great community around us and create that village that it takes to raise a child/children. We've done it before, and we will do it again. In the meantime, we'll just keep looking for exactly where that village is... :) Emma x

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  3. My Mother has not been interested in being a GrandMa to my child or my sisters children and it breaks my heart. I want so badly for my children to have the bond that I never had with my grand parents. But for Mum, it seems to be an intrusion on her life. I envy those who have the support that I so badly desire and feel so blessed for those people.

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  4. I know exactly what you mean.. we moved 5000km to be close to Tom's parents. Sophie is their first grandchild and is spoilt rotten with love.
    I love that Sophie has such amazing grandparents because my parents were very old when they had me and all my grandparents died before I was born.

    Although, I had the opposite experience with my own parents. Having Sophie helped me make the decision to see them less often and eventually, move further away from them. I realised that I did not want them involved in bringing up my children.. a very difficult decision but one that I think was right. (Very long and complicated story, *sigh*)

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  5. Thank goodness you said that, Mumma Dearest. I thought I was going to read a barrage of beautiful comments about beautiful relationships. I have two children, 1 and 3 and the relationship with my mother since their birth has been one of the worst aspects of my parenting life. I do not exist anymore as myself. I have become a conduit between her and my babies. Completely. She simply prefers children to adults, I think. But that is a strange dynamic and very hurtful. We have no relationship anymore. She wants to see my children because they are gratifying and adorable but only on her terms, in her space. She does not want to be a part of my family. I really don't understand it. Does this make sense to anyone else?

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  6. A timely read for me Jodi. Our eldest boy started Prep this year and grandparents day is in a couple of weeks which I was looking forward to until a note came home today to say that due to 'time constraints' children could invite only one special person or one set of grandparents. Time constraints!! I may be over-reacting but I feel sick about it. I don't want my son to have to choose between his grandparents it doesn't feel right. My mother passed away when I was 21 and becoming a mother without her here to see her grandchildren of course fills me with sadness. I am very grateful though for the love that my own grandmother gives our boys and feel they are very blessed to have a great grandmother. My husband's mum is a very loving grandmother too. That was a long digression to answering your question, which I suppose the answer is a mixed feeling for me but such a special bond that for anyone who can give that to their children it is golden. Thanks for the lovely post.

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  7. I had always had a good relationship with my parents, but falling pregnant was what truly strengthened our bond. Melbourne had felt like home to me from my first day there, so I had never anticipated moving back to the Coast, however having my parents support and watching them with Lucas makes that move back worth it. Seeing them with him brightens my soul on a daily basis. It has helped me to appreciate them in ways I never had before and I am so grateful that Lucas will grow up feeling the kind of love I felt and cherished from my own grandparents.

    Not only do I love how much he will learn from them, the biggest surprise to me has been how much they have learnt from him already. With his arrival has come a calmness and kindness in both of their lives, both as individuals and ex-partners, that I have never witnessed in them before. I am grateful to have been a part of bringing this new sense of lightness into their lives. It feels like a small thank you for all the love they brought into mine.

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  8. Ah, you've struck a raw nerve there! I'm eternally guilt-stricken that my inlaws' only grandchildren are mine - and they're all living on the other side of the world. Whenever they come to visit the kids and them strike up that 'bond' and airport farewells are AWFUL!

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  9. I'm not a parent yet, and all four of my beautiful grandparents have passed away, so I feel like there is a heartbreaking void of granparent/granchild relationship in my life right now. I think I learned what unconditional love is from my grandparents. Of course, our parents love us unconditionally all along, but we really feel it from the ones who get to spoil us all day and leave the discipline to their children, haha :)

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  10. ummm, is that a snake che is looking at in the trough?
    Grandparents are so important to our children and we try and encourage special times with all of them. We feel so blessed to both have great relationships still with our parents and with each others parents too so it does make it easier to get together. My daughter has naturally bonded with 2 particular grandparents, one of each side and those relationships are so valued. I hope it carries through the rest of her days. My grandma was so special to me. I could only wish that relationship for my children too.do you find yourself just smiling while you watch them together? I do! :)

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  11. I'm a firm believer in it taking villages to raise our children :)

    Grandparents do have such a beautiful bond, a different bond, a special bond :)

    Unfortunately my family is interstate/overseas, but my husband's parents live ten minutes down the road from us & provide that undivided attention, & sweet treats that only grandparents can give :)

    xx

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  12. Gorgeous photos as always. Your sense of warmth and family always comes across through your photos and words. Apart from sleeping (which I did too sometimes) I lived at my grandparents house growing up. I often think of my nan when bringing our children up. I just wish they could've have met them. It's funny because Sam has bonded more with my mother-in-law and Bella with my mum. x

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  13. The village as you put it is so important to children and families as a whole. My daughter has three sets to all intents and purposes and we definitely value their special connections.

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  14. I had a really hard time with my in-laws when my son was born - I felt their interest was too much, and that they were only interested in my son because of what he could mean to them - I wanted him for me first! But now I can see that having grown up without my grand-parents close, I didn't understand how important a realtionship that can be, and how involved they want to be. Also the fact that we live on the other side of the world means that the time they do spend together is so precious it can be very intense - and I am often completely out of the picture. I accept that now and can just about bear to not be present for a little while.

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  15. I just found your blog, and I must say your life looks absolutely dreamy. I love the photos.

    xo
    Jane
    harleyandjane.blogspot.com

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  16. My grandparents lived overseas for the first 12 years of my life, but when we did live closer, I really loved having them around. I still think of them often.

    None of my children's grandparents live that close, although my mum makes the trip down from the Blue Mountains to see them when she can.

    I certainly don't get the help that people with their parents and in laws who live close by do. But I also don't get a lot of the critism My mother in law thinks it is shameful that my husband so much as does a dish or changes a nappy, so any visit from them is mostly her critiquing our relationship (as my husband helps me a lot around the place). But she does adore them and I know they enjoy seeing her. I just have to get over my own issues to make sure they get that bonding time.

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  17. My children have two sets of grandparents that both live near by. They have a fantastic bond with one set but...unfortunately the other set are too wrapped up in their own world to really be bothered. Funny though that they have other grandchildren that they are bothered with. Makes no sense to me but that, I guess, is another story? One that I have given up on trying to read into. I do feel that it takes a village to raise a child. But that village also can include beautiful other friends and people who choose to be interested. :)

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  18. We migrated from Holland when I was 18 months old and I never really experienced grandparent or extended family. I guess sometimes I felt I had missed out - when other kids talked about their grandparents. But I guess I truly saw the value of grandparents when I had children. My kids are lucky enough to have a wonderful relationship with both sets of grandparents. It's hard to be envious when you feel so grateful for what they have. I can't wait to be a grandparent myself!!
    L
    x

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  19. I have to agree with a lot of the ladies here. I had a WONDERFUL relationship with all four of my grandparents. My husband moved here from Holland when he was 5 and rarely saw his, and thus has no connection... we met young and he 'adopted' my grandparents as his own. I never knew how lucky i was having four loving grandfolk in my life! Naturally, I thought it would be the same for my kids; that my parents and my husband's parents would want to be deeply involved on a regular basis. I couldn't have been more wrong. My mother is busy helping my sister (single mum with two older kids) to help me with my three little ones. My dad is largely disinterested in small kids. My husband's folks actually moved away (we moved closer to them when I was pregnant with my first) and only come sporadically now and when they do they take over everything and show no respect to my husband and I by bringing dozens of presents and feeding them crap. The only silver lining to this grey cloud is that my kids adore their grandparents when they see them and that has to be enough for me. There's obviously a lot of hurt and resentment that I have to deal with! I suppose I was just really lucky with mine and I hope to give my grandkids the same gift of time and attention that mine afforded me.

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  20. I cannot imagine how special it must be when your children have children. It seems like a perfect cycle. I love how my parents provide different special things than my husbands parents for our children. Their homes and they each have unique things that Ronan gets excited about. With Poppy it is model trains and playing with tier dogs. With my Pa it is riding on the back of his bike, paddling on Wamberal Lagoon in the Kayak and pressing the remote garage door up and down ;)
    I appreciate the support family provides and the unconditional love that flows from generation to generation.

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  21. Such delightful and well taken photographs. I have to say only yesterday I was at my parents (Grandpoppy and Grandma's) with my almost 11month old Maxwell, and as I watched him interact with them and just love his grandparents, I glowed with joy at having this beautiful opportunity for my son. And that they still live in the oues I grew up in; I made my memories in...well It's so "romantic" of an Idea that he shall make memories there too.

    Where abouts are you down south? I travel down with my husband for his work, down the NSW south coast, and always used to go there on family holidays to my grandparents place, so the south coast always has me reminiscing.

    bxx
    from
    bybande

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  22. It's so important to have family close by. My parents are 2 hours away, so we don't get to see them as regularly as I'd like, but when we do the kids have an absolute ball & those memories will be cherished forever. There's no place on earth like Nan & Pops..

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  23. 18 months ago we moved away from my hometown and my parents. While I love living in Wellington and our life here, being away from the support and love of grandparents has been really hard. Especially since my daughter was born. It's definitely something I didn't anticipate having a such a big impact on my kids and on me. Glad you have family close though!

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  24. I wish my kids had grandparents in their lives. Both my husband and I lost our fathers, and our mothers live far away, so our little ones don't have the honor of grandparents in their lives... though we have some very close neighbors who might be happy to add to that role, I think!

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  25. ooh I got goosebumps reading the last bit jodi! that's beautiful. I totally agree, the special bond between my children and their grandparents is something else. which makes it so hard that my parents live in queensland. hubby's parents live here in melb too, but we don't see them as often as we should (their choosing, not ours) which is why we see ourselves ending up in queensland, eventually. our kids just adore my parents and as much as I love our daily skype visits, it's just not the same. x

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  26. Beautiful Jodi as always. We have 2 young children and all the grandparents live some distance away, sometimes it would be nice to have that extra support and contact. Is that a snake in the garden? The fish sounds delicious!

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  27. It is a wonderful thing this grandparenting bond that you don't really think about until you have kids. Grandparents have this incredible patience with kids and will teach them things we may not have time to. My own grandfather (last living grandparent) is very ill and will not be around much longer. Makes you aware of how fleeting time and relationships really are.
    Beautiful photos as always Jodi. Is that a snake??

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  28. My husband had a much closer relationship with his Grandparents than I did, which is something I have always envied. I am blessed now to have a relationship of my own with his Grandmother, who is a lot like how I envision myself at her age.

    My son has 3 grandparents, my own parents and my husband's mother. All of them adore him and are wonderful about wanting to spend time with him. He adores them right back. I would hate to ever have to move him away from that.

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  29. The snake! It's very life-like isn't it. It's actually a toy used to scare the birds away from the tomatoes and passionfruit.

    And to all of those who have expressed your stories of troubled, distant or critical grandparents. I truly believe that a village is more than our family. Neighbours, friends, local shopkeepers step in when others don't. I hope that for each of your children there is a sweet elder to take on the grandparent role. x

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  30. Beautiful photos, and beautiful words. I underestimated how beautiful the grandparent relationship could be until I had my two girls. Now seeing the love that flows between my parents and my babies warms my heart, and I look forward to one long day away feeling what they feel too xx

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  31. I am so happy that the relationship you have is strong with your parents. I am unfortunately trying to work through issues in my mother and I's past relationship and hoping it doesn't hinder upon the one she now has with my daughter. I truly hope to one day be able to get past the silly arguments so we can just all enjoy what is truly important-- the bond that is so important to a child. (Is it selfish of me though that I still yearn for the acceptance of my own mum?)

    I'm in love with your family, your words, and your views of the world.

    p.s. I really thought that snake was real for a good minute or too! ;) xx

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  32. What lovely images - and how wonderful for your children to grow up with their grandparents nearby. I have many, many fond memories of time spent with my grandparents from both my mum and dad's sides. For one to be able to give one's children the opportunity to create a bond and relationship with their grandparents is really something special - especially in this day and age when we all seem to be flung around the world in various countries.

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  33. What a lovely post. The relationship between my children and their grandparents means SO much to me, and brings me so much happiness. It also causes me to reflect on how wonderful my grandparents were (still are!) and what a huge and happy part of my childhood they were.

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  34. My parents seem quite excited about becoming grandparents this October. We're pretty close and i think they'll make wonderful grandparents when the time comes, i can't wait to see them in this new role. We live on the Coast & they live in the Hunter Valley so we won't see them as often as i'd like but i'm sure they'll make many drives down the freeway to spoil their first grandbaby!
    My husband has no contact with his parents (they gave him up to his Grandmother when he was 3) so his Grandmother will be our bubbas grandparent on his side.

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  35. I have very fond memories of my maternal Grandfather. We were very close. I only had two grandparents growing up, as the other two had passed away. My Grandmother lived a two hour drive away, and we only saw her a few times a year. My parents weren't close to their families and I remember longing for more family growing up. As a result I guess, I have always wanted Cohen to have a close relationship with his family and grandparents, and I think he will with one Grandfather. But sadly not so much with his other Grandparents, who don't take the time to be involved in his life or offer support because they are too busy. I am learning though about the kind of Grandparent I hope to be some day. xx

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  36. I love those pictures, with che inquisitively looking into the garden, just magical :)

    Im not a parent yet but when I am I know there'll be lots of very important relationships our kids have beside mama and pa.

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  37. Lovely blog.
    http://xtheperfectmess.blogspot.com.au

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  38. As a woman about to become part of a team of grandparents - and there is a team, and we're all close to where our little granddaughter will be - I agonise over whether we can be the kind of grandparents you're watching your parents being. I am a younger than your average grandparent (at 38) and on a career sprint and still have adult dependants at home. My partner works fulltime and we are talking about what the next stage of our life looks like and being available for grandchildren factors pretty heavily in that. From where I sit though, and I don't think there are grand expectations (excuse the pun) we're worried (all of the team) about what we can offer. We've still got financial worries and have not had the opportunity to get a jump on that because both sides of the family have had adult children linger longer and need more support than most - and for our side, that's ongoing for some years yet. I sound so negative and we're trying to roll with the punches, but the ideal you have is the grandparent dream. Right? Ours will be different. That's all.

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  39. I have such great memories of spending time with my grandparents too ... especially sleepovers on the school holidays.
    My kids love going to my Mum's house - they have the same little routine (saved especially for Nannie) collect eggs from the chickens, cook a chocolate cake, make pizzas, lots of craft and then my son always does Science experiments and puzzles with Pa. It's just their "thing" and oh so lovely to see!

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  40. I've only started to appreciate grandparents for what they are now that I've got Fletch. We just got back from 3 weeks in Sydney where he got nothing but 100% love and adoration from them. It's a love like no one else gives. Something so special. We'll really miss them, not being in our daily lives while we live here in Hong Kong.... one of the downfalls of being away, living away from home....

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  41. So many comments about grandparents. i guess for me living abroad, my parents are in Sweden, I live in London. I love that special connection they have with my kids, they see in my children some of me, some of them and some of their parents too, it's this 'Carlsson' line that is passed down. I miss this connection with them and us so much. Even though we don't see them very often my kids have so much affection for them. It's like they know they are loved by them, no questions asked. By mormor and morfar.
    Lovely photos!!

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  42. The grandparents are beutiful, but... When you spent so much time with them... My parents try to change my mind, the way of taking care of my son. Sometimes I want come back home...

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  43. Seriously stunning photos, Jodi :)

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  44. How amazing are grandparents now that you're a mama?! We were just about to move back to the country and then I found out we were having Joy...so we decided to stay put to be near my parents and all the little cousins. The love that's shared within our family is too good to let go of...there's plenty of time for a change later on... x

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