In many of the threads here I came across with the author's desire to spend more time with their grandchildren and be a part of their lives . I want to share my personal story with you from the child's point of view.
My parents were separated when I was just 1 year old and my mum was so bitter over the divorce that she would say such demeaning things about my dad and my grandparents on my dad's side. As a child I had very mixed feelings about it but mostly crushed me inside. I also did not know how to deal with those feelings. Because I knew that I was part of my dad and his parents. And when my mum kept belitteling my dad in our conversations, I felt belittled inside.
I thought, if she thinks so bad of him and I am part of him, therefore I am bad as well.
I was kept from seeing my dad's side of the family and told that they did not care about me. Years later I was cleaning up our attic and I came across this box full of letters. There were birthday cards, Xmas cards from my grandparents on my dad's side. It broke my heart. All these years I had been made to believe they were not interested in me. And suddenly I find something that clearly proves that they DID CARE! I felt angry, hurt, betrayed. I felt that I had been robbed of the opportunity to have a relationship with my grandparents. The memories that I could have had with them never happened because of the insecurities and control issues my mum had when she was young. Needless to say I cried and cried for hours, days, months thinking what could have been. So big was the pain inside me. I wanted to know who I was, where I came from, where my roots were. Part of my identity had simply been torn away from me.
As a grown up now, I have forgiven my mum and I have tried to be understanding of her as a highly anxious person who did not know any better. But the deed is done and effects of it last till this day. So I knew I could not turn back the clock, but I swore to myself that whatever happens, I will not this let happen to my kids. My child always has the right to spend time with their grandparents on both sides. Who am I to make such life altering decision on behalf of my kids? Who am I to decide who my children can or cannot love and receive love from? I believe all people, children, have the right to love and be loved - without constraints, strings attached - unconditionally. Love is not about control and competition. It is a gift that is free to every single person to experience.
My message to DILs is that whatever the issue with MIL - your children have the right to know their grandparents and be part of their life. We have an enormous power over a little child who takes all of words as gospel truth. It is a huge responsibility and we should try our best to not to abuse it. One day, once our children are adults - they want to know, and they will find out things on their own.