Family Connections: When Kids Don’t Have Grandparents
I’ve been reflecting on family and family connections a lot lately, as my mother-in-law recently passed away. Since my own father passed away before my daughter was born and my father-in-law passed away less than a year ago, my mother is my daughter’s only living grandparent. While my own grandparents were not a huge part of my everyday life and I never lived in the same state as any of them (or country, as the case of my mom’s parents), I still have very particular memories of what each brought into my life, and I was fortunate to have all my grandparents in my life into my adulthood.
I feel sad that my own daughter won’t have a single memory of most of her grandparents. She does have a very large extended family, with 8 aunts, 6 uncles, and 16 first cousins. But many of those cousins are more than 20 years her senior, and when they have children of their own, my daughter’s aunts and uncles will have grandchildren of their own to dote on. So I wonder, with my daughter being only 2, what is appropriate to fill in the missing pieces and connect the family dots? I think I will work extra hard to be sure she knows her aunts and uncles well — surely they have enough love to spread around.
But is this too young an age to try to keep her grandparents who have passed alive in her mind? How would I explain to a 2 year old where they are, why she can’t visit them, etc.? Any ideas?