“If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.”
— Kahlil Gibran
This quotation from the famous poet and philosopher has always been a part of my life, I have often quoted it to my children when discussing matters of the heart, and difficult relationships in particular.
Some relationships are worth ‘fighting for’ and some are just not, it’s that simple it really is, when you remove all the emotion and drama, that is the philosophy that we all come back to and settle upon.
It is a lot easier to write and quote Kahlil Gibran, than it is to live by it when you’re in the midst of a court case or as I have dramatically put it myself in the past “battling to maintain a relationship with my granddaughter”.
As a Grandmother it is extremely hard to “let go” of a small child you have helped care for and have a close relationship with, particularly when her parents are fighting over her, and she is all too aware of the battles confusing her and dividing her loyalties. All your instincts as a Grandparent want to protect and keep her stable; it is really difficult when those parents move across country too!
That was the position I found myself in five years ago, and the case continues, although progress is being made and I have learnt a few valuable lessons along the way.
- Maintaining contact with a family member is always worth fighting for.
- Choose your words carefully and know when to use them.
- Choose your battles wisely know when to let something go, for the sake of peace.
- Keep the dialogue between you open and friendly.
- Never undermine the parents; you are the grandparent not the parent!
- Never be demanding, always be flexible.
- Listen to what type of relationship the child wants with you,( they don’t all want to sleepover or travel long distances)
- Make best use of modern technology– try SKYPE, Face time or other video calling.
- Write old fashioned letters regularly even if the child does not reply, (it took my granddaughter four years but that first letter was a real heart-warming breakthrough for us.)
- Remember that the child is growing and developing new skills and tastes, go at their pace and allow for change.
This is not a definitive list and a lot depends on the kind of relationship you have with the child’s parents, whether they are blood relatives or not the list still applies.
I’m hoping that when we return to court in two weeks that it will be for the last time, having re-established a relationship with my granddaughter in a way that she is happy and comfortable with and that her parents are willing to support.
Feel free to comment and add to the list!
- Kalil Gibran: On Children (joyfulcacophony.wordpress.com)