“When I was 14, I packed my things and left. I was fighting a lot with my mother. My father was in and out of my life, and addicted to painkillers. I just couldn’t do it anymore, so I walked out.
I lived with my dad for a bit, but it wasn’t good. I stayed with friends, but eventually asked my grandmother if I could stay with her. She was in her 70s, but reluctantly agreed. I stayed there until I finished high school.
It’s only now, as I’m learning about my 20 year high school reunion, after having three children of my own, I realize why my grandmother was so reluctant to say ‘yes.’ And how much she must have sacrificed by taking in her troubled, slightly drug addicted, disgruntled, often absent from class, foul mouthed, rebellious grandson.
She fought with me over homework, girls, drugs, clothing, hygiene, religion, bad movies, and worse music. It was just her and I in that home, and she never took her eyes off me. I can still remember her sitting in the white vinyl rocker next to the refrigerator, a wrinkled moisturizer-soaked hand on her forehead, shoulders slumped, trying to figure out how to raise a teenager long after she’d intended to raise a teenager.
I can say with 100% confidence, I’d never have straightened out, finished high school, and eventually gone to college, without my grandmother. Now, at 37 years old, I think I’m a pretty good dude, with a stable marriage, and awesome kids.
All of it started with the foundation my grandmother set when she said, ‘Yes. You can live here.’
Grandma died when I was 21, long before she had a chance to see me turn into something she could be proud of. But I must say, I cannot look at this picture from my high school graduation, and not see both pride and relief in her eyes.
So grandparents raising your child’s child, I know it’s a burden. But I also want you to know you are probably saving that child’s life in ways you may never see. So hold’em tight, because they might not appreciate it now, but they will. Trust me. I know.”
This story was written by Clint Edwards and is an abridged chapter from Clint’s hilarious new book, Silence is a Scary Sound: And Other Stories on Living Through the Terrible Twos and Threes. His new book can be found here. Follow Clint on Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more from Clint here:
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