It's been about eight years now that my in-laws have spent any quality time with our children. There was no confrontation or incident that we're aware of, they just stopped contacting us.
Obviously, something's happened, but speaking about problems and working through issues isn't their strong point. They've decided to instead, walk away.
Our youngest child doesn't even know what they look like unless we point them out to her.
I've talked extensively to my husband about it, and I firmly believe it's up to him and his parents to sit down and work things out. It's not my place to try and reconcile everyone. But they've hurt him, now and in the past, and he's put up a wall. And I will stand by him on this one.
We've invited them over a few times and the visits have always been great for this kids – although a little strained for the adults, but we explicitly tell them each time that they're always welcome to visit. They haven't returned the invitation.
We've made it very clear we'd never stop them from spending time with their grandchildren. We've seen them at a couple of family events that we were asked to attend, but despite chatting and spending time together like nothing's happened, again there were never new plans to see each other.
And we're not the only ones dealing with these issues.
I've spoken to many friends who are in similar positions. Is it a generational thing? Or is it a family thing?
I know my family's big on confrontation. If someone is upset or angry – it's talked about. There's no chance we'd just stop seeing each other. There's no chance they'd choose to never get to know their own grandchildren. There's no chance they'd turn their back on their own child.
It's really made me realise that there's no such thing as the perfect family.
They're all fractured or different in a variety of ways, some more so than others.
It makes me more protective of my children's hearts. I ensure they know they're loved, even by their absent grandparents. It's not my childrens' fault, and when they're old enough they can seek out their own explanations. If they asked to see them tomorrow, I'd drive them there right away. I'd never stand in the way of their relationship.
Luckily, our children are surrounded by love. And our small family unit is extremely tight. We are constantly expressing our love for each other and speak about the importance of talking through issues and sticking together.
They know we will never walk away from them, no matter the problem.
I know we are not faultless in this situation and we could work harder to mend what's broken, but until both parties are willing to come to the table, I fear for the fragility of my children and their kind hearts. I can't risk them watching their grandparents turn their back on them again. It's too heart-wrenching.