Thoughts from a Grandma
It's been nearly five years since we received our grandson's Williams syndrome diagnosis, but I remember that day as if it were yesterday. Then, there were so many questions, so many fears. Today - so many joys! This is a revision of a post I wrote for the Williams Syndrome Association's November/December 2013 online newsletter. It has been generalized here to apply to any grandchild with special needs.
- Learn! Educate yourself on what your grandchild's condition is and is not so that you can be a voice for him/her while educating others.
- Lift! Focus on the positive but do not negate your adult child's very real concerns. Well intentioned but overly rosy commentary may not be helpful.
- Listen! Share your opinions sparingly. Rare are they who want excessive amounts of advice - especially from their parents. If your adult child needs to vent, ask if he/she wants advice (before giving it!) or just a sounding board.
- Love! Show your support and love in quiet but tangible ways. Ask how you can be a help (or not) or what kinds of gifts are needed or desired. Give your adult child permission to tell you no.
- Live! Enjoy each moment with your special needs grandchild just as you do with all your grandchildren. Grandparents are to be safe havens for all their little ones. Don't try to overcompensate by doting or, worse yet, by withdrawing in fear.
- Let it go! You cannot change what is, so don’t waste precious moments “what if-ing”. Your grandchild is a blessing - “fearfully and wonderfully made”. Live in that Truth and enjoy!