04 January 2009

Calling All Grandparents

Becoming a grandparent is quite an experience. First you realise that you are passing into another “generation”. For someone like myself who has always felt that, despite an apparently responsible outlook, I never really “grew up” (whatever that is supposed to mean, I’m still wondering), it feels very strange indeed.

Then there is the exciting prospect of being able to do with this child all the things you might have missed out on with your own children (because of constraints of time, money, and generally speaking day-to-day life). Then there is the temptation of spoiling the kid absolutely rotten, while not having to deal with the consequences, as the child is nicely but firmly given back to his or her parents to sort out – it’s their job after all, I have already given to this role, thanks very much!

The whole thing definitely appealed to me, and I found my daughter’s pregnancy almost too long to wait… and when Cathal was born, everything was brought into a focus none of us had any idea about what so ever. Personally my knowledge of Down Syndrome was scant. As for his heart condition, I had to take a major refresher course in biology at lighting speed.

Two things struck me most at the time, and are still valid today, almost 10 months later (yes, only 10 months, and what a journey it has been!): My thirst for information, to understand, to comprehend. And my feeling of utter powerlessness, as I had no idea what I could do to help and support, not only Cathal, but also his parents. I also needed to talk to someone who was “in the know” and who understood. Being the person I am, never letting leaves lie for too long on the ground before kicking them up to see what may be underneath, I got information where I could find it, I searched for support for me to be able to support Cathal’s Mammy and the Dad, and I made contact with an excellent listening ear…

My experience so far has shown me that Grandparents have a role to play in their grandchild’s life, especially if that child is so precious as to be 101% perfect (to quote Cathal’s Mammy). But they too need information and support in their special role.

To this effect, Down Syndrome Ireland are absolutely brilliant to organise the following event:


Where? The Trinity Room, The Gresham Hotel, O’Connell St, Dublin 1.

When? On 14th January 2009 - from 10.30am to 3.30pm

Facilitated by:
May Gannon - Counsellor (DSI)
Joan Murphy - Clinical Co-ordinator (DSI)
Grainne Murphy - Independence Officer (DSI)
Pascale Claes - Grandmother ;-)


So please pass the word around, encourage your parents to come (even come with them yourself if you want…)

Just a little reminder: DSI also ask that you “please phone the National Office on 01 4266500 or email info@downsyndrome.ie to confirm your place

Hoping to see great crowds there on the day! :-)

Ps: Many thanks to three great dads who plugged this event on their blogs, each in his own inimitable way. In no particular order, I refer to: Jacob’s Dad, Ava’s Dad and Noah’s Dad.

1 comment:

Cheri said...

What a great idea...I have not seen anything like "Grandparents Day" as a focus here in the Los Angeles area, but it really is a need. I believe the helplessness that you felt is what my own mom experienced for quite sometime...and tears, lots of tears. I stopped crying long before she did. But, I gave her the book Babies With Down Syndrome, A New Parents Guide and the information she received from it helped her so much. Cathal is so lucky to have you as his grandmother...who doesn't leave any leaf unturned!!