My husband Norman is an American and I’m a New Zealander. In 1997 I moved countries to be with him, we first lived in Washington Heights in a rather small one bedroom apartment. Never having lived before in such a confined space we decided to purchase a small cottage. Early 2003 we moved to Hudson, New York where we had hoped to spend our retirement years.
January 2007 we received a call from Child, Youth and Family, a Government Department in New Zealand. They informed us that our granddaughter (Lucy) had swallowed a very small camera battery and that she was in hospital. The acid had leaked into her oesophagus as her mother, my daughter, had left it for three days before taking her to the doctor. Lucy was admitted to hospital, and the battery was successfully removed. Thankfully Lucy has not suffered any ill effects from this dreadful experience.
We attended a Family Group Conference in a small city in New Zealand in April 2007. It was declared that Lucy was in need of care and protection for at least a period of six months while my daughter got the help that she needed.
It soon became apparent that my daughter was not going to seek the treatment that she needed. We went back to Hudson, packed up our things and return to live in New Zealand. We first lived in a hotel; eventually found an apartment which we rented for nearly four years. Last year we purchased a small 3 bedroom house with glorious harbour views. We promised Lucy that when we moved we would get a Labrador. Samantha Jan came to live with us for a brief period, it became too much for me, as I was the only one taking her for walks. She went to a loving in home in Christchurch and shortly after she left we got a cat that we named ‘Woof.’ He is a very important member of our small family and very much loved by us.
When Lucy first came to us Norman and I joined a grandparents group hoping for support. The group meet once a month, however it wasn’t working for us. There was no support from anyone between each meeting. I started a blog in 2009, http://www.raisinggrandchildren.net.nz which became an instant success. 2010 Grand Magazine of the United States named it as one of the top ten blogs in the world and the only international one to achieve the honour. The same year, North and South Magazine, a well-respected magazine in New Zealand named me New Zealander of the Year for Community. Shortly after I commenced blogging I started an online Face Book group for other grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. For a while it was an open group; however because of the nature of the subjects discussed it became a closed group. Now everyone is much more comfortable speaking about what is happening in their lives.
I am amazed at the support that I get, not just through the face book group, but from the wonderful people that I’ve meet online. Connie, who I have recently connected with, is one that I can lean on in time of need as is Lisa Carpenter of Grandma’s Briefs. Without their support and understanding my task in raising a now 7 year old granddaughter would be so much harder. I thank them very much for their wonderful support and guidance, you are indeed very special people, and I am blessed to have you in my life.
A couple of years ago I decided to try my hand at writing a book. Thought carefully about what topic I was going to write about. The first idea was to write about the tragic story of my daughter; it did occur to me that perhaps it would not be of interest to anyone else. In the end decided to incorporate some of her story along with various topics that perhaps grandparents may need information on. Times have changed since raising my own children. The book ‘Grandchildren, Our Hopes and Dreams: A Modern and Practical Guide to Raising Grandchildren,’ covers topics ranging from water safety, teen texting, helpful hints, poetry, recommended books just to name a few. My book would also suit parents as the topics are very relevant for them as well.
If anyone is interested in purchasing a copy, below is a list of online sites that are stocking it:
However, if you would like to place an order direct with me, please use the following email address: email@example.com