Small steps, but definitely progress

A quick update as work pressures are huge at present.  We said goodbye to our daughter, her partner and granddaughter last week before they flew back to the UK and I followed up on the weekend with a short email wishing her well for her return to work today after a year’s maternity leave. I was surprised and heartened to receive an email from her yesterday saying that they had had a good trip home and that LT was an angel on the flight. She also thanked me for all the pressies we bought for LT and said that she would give her a kiss and a hug from us.

After nearly four years of silence this is better than I had dared hope for but I know it will take time for the closeness we had to return and it’s not something that can be rushed. At least if we have contact we can talk about everyday things like we used to and she can share LT’s milestones with us.

On Saturday OH was assisting our DIL with new business premises she has acquired as our son is away on business. He asked her about the fact that our daughter did not see her brother at all and found out that when our daughter emailed her brother to say she was coming to SA and asked for my email address (not sure why she would not have had it unless she had deleted all my emails) he replied and tore into her for what she had put us through and accused her of making her father sick (the heart attack in January) and said that she could not just walk back into our lives as if nothing had happened. He added that she better be genuine this time as opposed to when she came out for his wedding in 2010. DIL said he was very harsh with her and that is no doubt why she did not contact him again.  However these things did need to be said but it would not have done our cause any good if we had been the one’s to say it. I know that he was only trying to protect us from further hurt. Our son is not one to bear grudges and I am sure that when he sees that the reconciliation is genuine he will be more than happy for us and also to reconcile with her himself.

At last we are beginning to really feel like grandparents – just wish LT was not so very far away.

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Grandparents at last

Hello Blogpeeps

“When a child deserves your love the least is when they need it most”

Optie is extremely emotional today, the tears just won’t dry up and my thoughts are all over the place. The reason – yesterday’s reunion with our daughter and meeting our granddaughter for the very first time.

We welcomed them as if there had been no estrangement. Our granddaughter is simply gorgeous (all grandparents would say that but she truly is a little honey) and our daughter who always said she did not want children is a wonderful mum. Her partner is a really involved dad, takes nappy changes and child care in his stride.

Little T (LT) is no stranger to the camera and really plays up to it so we were able to get some very good photos. My daughter offered to drop off copies of all the baby pictures to date so it seems she wants us to be involved in our granddaughter’s future.

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Like her Mom she has very little hair at nearly one year of age.

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This pic really shows what a little character she is.

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Making the most of a braaied sparerib.

We asked no questions about the past and she said nothing either so there are still a lot of unanswered questions but my focus is the future.

LT has just started walking and is a happy, confident little girl. She is also cutting teeth but is not grisly with it.  We gave her some homemade biltong to chew on and that went down a real treat.

It was bittersweet watching OH with LT, he had the biggest, most genuine smile on his face that I have seen for years. When I think back to his heart attack in January, probably helped on by the ongoing stress of the estrangement and my futile trip to the UK in March to try and see our daughter it was all I could do not to crack up. We both managed to hold it together till they finally left after we had enjoyed a braai together but by then I was physically and emotionally wrecked and just need to crawl into bed, too tired to even talk about the day.

We will see them again before they leave to go back to the UK and hopefully we will now have the privilege of watching LT grow up, even if it is from afar.

To everyone who sent supportive messages for yesterday, a big thank you, I appreciated them all very much.

Bolt from the Blue

On Saturday morning I woke up and did what I usually do, check my phone for messages and emails that come in overnight and right away my equilibrium spiralled into a tailspin of note.

There was an email from my daughter announcing that she and her partner and baby would be visiting SA next month and if we still wished to meet our granddaughter she would arrange a visit.

Those bloggers who have followed my blog will know that our family has been torn apart since 2009 when my daughter cut all communication with us. In 2010 she visited for her brother’s wedding but after that appeared to cut her brother out as well. I was unable to try and get a reason from her then as I did not want to do anything that could upset our son’s wedding and even though I invited her and her partner to visit us for a braai she never bothered to respond. When we got word last year that she was pregnant our heartache doubled. In March this year I travelled to the UK to track her down and meet my granddaughter but when I finally located her through the help of a community police officer she refused to see me and accused us, her brother included of harassing her. She has not acknowledged a birthday or Christmas since 2009 and even her brother’s recent birthday went unacknowledged.

We angst all weekend on how to respond to this bolt from the blue and eventually decided to respond warmly saying that we were looking forward to seeing them and meeting our granddaughter. The plan is then to tackle her face to face about where to from here. Is this a once-off or will we be allowed to be part of our granddaughter’s life and have a relationship with her in the future. At least that way if it ends badly we will finally know where we stand. To date she has refused to provide us with an explanation for her stance and has avoided any possibility of a face-to-face meeting. I am not going to let this opportunity pass without trying to clear the air once and for all.

To complicate matters further she has remained in contact with my BIL and SIL. They chose not to tell us about it until the baby was about to be born and were actively avoiding us since our son’s wedding although we could not figure out what was up. We no longer trust them at all and a subsequent altercation between OH and the SIL who was way out of line lead to an extremely unpleasant email from BIL resulting in us not being comfortable enough to attend our nephew’s wedding in March. There has been no contact since then. It would not surprise us at all if our daughter will be staying with them and SIL tries to play the peacemaker and host a family lunch to which we most definitely would not go. If there is going to be a reconciliation it will be on our turf.

When I returned from the UK in March I had resigned myself to never seeing my daughter again and never getting to know my granddaughter. I don’t know what has changed between now and March that she is prepared to see us now but I am not going to give her the opportunity to play games as she did in 2010. Some straight answers are required now and if she does not want a relationship with us going forward so be it.  I am stronger now than I was in 2009/2010 and my visit to the UK this year proved to me that I can endure the worst heartache and survive if need be.