Oh dear, there's always something to worry about isn't there? I was doing my Grandmotherly duty last week, when Grandson was on Half Term holiday, and it was lovely to have him here, but he was very tired and kept saying that he didn't want to do anything much. (No wonder after six weeks of term and the fact that he broke his thumb only two weeks ago.) He was, unusually for him, very short-tempered about little things, and mostly I just dealt with it by giving him a cuddle or a bit of reassurance. After a few days he was feeling better, but he was obviously not feeling very secure, and talked a lot about family, which may be something they have been talking about at school. Of course that brings to the fore the fact that the Daughter's Boyfriend is not his real Father, something which I'm sure Daughter hasn't yet told him, and what with the Engagement and the planned Wedding, I began to feel that something specific was making him feel uncomfortable. As you will all know, I'm not happy with the situation - and with good reason - but I stupidly hadn't realized that Grandson might be feeling something similar.
Anyway, on Thursday we went down to the sea, him on his bike and me walking. It was a lovely day and he was mostly whizzing ahead with me bringing up the rear. When we got to the promenade he spotted a young family and stopped to watch them. There were four of them: a Dad, Mum and two small daughters, one probably older than Grandson and one a bit younger. They did look like a nice family: The Dad was helping one of the girls on her bike, and I just walked past until I realized that Grandson was still watching them. I wandered back and asked Grandson if he was OK and he said "I wish I had a family like that, Nana". Oh the heartache of that simple sentence - I couldn't believe what he had said - though it was perfectly clear. It was such a sad, and grown-up thing for a little boy of five to say. And I was so taken by surprise that I didn't ask him why or anything. I stupidly let the moment pass without trying to find out more. And I have heartily regretted it since, of course. It is, to me, the surest sign that my darling Grandson isn't feeling either happy or secure in the "family" that Daughter and the Boyfriend are trying to put together. I have felt for some time that Grandson knows instinctively that the Boyfriend isn't his Father, and I feel so bloody helpless, and so sad for him. When Daughter came to collect him on Friday after work, she just didn't want to hear anything from me. She said that she wasn't feeling very well (and she didn't look too good either),and she just wanted to get away. All I managed to say was that Grandson is not as happy or secure as she thinks he is. And hopefully she will think about that. It was very hard for me, because I knew how much he had missed her and could see how much he wanted to be with his Mum. They stayed to carve a pumpkin to take back with them for Hallowe'en and Grandson didn't want to go - he just wanted to stay here with his Mum - but she couldn't wait to get back to "Daddy". As Grandson sat in the car, he said "I love you very much Nana" and I said " I love you too my precious." Daughter said nothing and she hasn't phoned since then. It won't be easy, but I feel I really must tell her what her little boy said - it breaks my heart to know how he is feeling.
I know what you're thinking - it won't help. But, d'you know what, I don't think I have anything to lose. I feel pretty sure that I have lost my Daughter, for the time being anyway, and actually the most important person in all this is my little Grandson. She is a grown-up and can deal with her own stuff, but he needs to know the truth and he needs to have his Mother on his side. If he knows that the Boyfriend isn't his real father, he will hopefully be able to deal with his own feelings. He won't be forced into calling the Boyfriend "Daddy" and he won't feel guilty. And hopefully he will one day have that lovely family he wishes for. I'm not going to lie to him, and I'll make sure that Daughter doesn't. He's such a dear, honest and brave little boy, and he deserves the best.