The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a housewife in my 60s. My eldest daughter, who is in her 30s, ran away from home, leaving her two daughters behind.
She divorced seven years ago and came back to my house with her daughters. She’s selfish by nature — she made me do all the household chores and raise her children, using her work as an excuse. She didn’t deal with her children properly. She began dating a man this summer and has gone out every weekend ever since.
I discussed this matter with my daughter and her boyfriend.
I asked him what his intentions were regarding her and her daughters, but he was already drunk when he came to my home so he couldn’t speak clearly. He also said: “We’re in love” in front of my granddaughters. It is clear he only sees my daughter.
My daughter is so crazy about him that she doesn’t think about how her daughters feel about this. When I told her I felt sorry for the girls, she said to me over her shoulder, “I don’t want to see you any more” and ran away from home.
Next spring, one of my granddaughters will become a first-year middle school student and the other a fourth-grade primary school student. Every morning, I send them off to school in place of their mother, but they look sad and lonely. They also told me they won’t forgive what their parents have done to them. Seeing them that way, I’m so sad that I can’t stop shedding tears.
B, Gunma Prefecture
Dear Ms. B:
Your daughter came back to you with her daughters seven years ago. Since that time, you’ve been kind enough to take care of these girls.
I understand the children feel sad after their mother ran away from home. However, they have reached an age now where they will be able to help each other grow up, supported by your affection. Sad, lonely events can develop people’s minds and make them stronger.
The most important thing for them now is to have somebody near who sincerely cares about them. That person must be composed and dependable enough to support them steadily.
Children always long for their mothers and seek their love in their minds, even if they are treated harshly by their mothers.
So don’t speak ill of their mother in front of them. You should rather say to them: “Your mother has got lost in life, as all people do, but she never loses her affection for you.” If they ask why you can say that, or how you can see it, tell them, “Your mother is my precious daughter, so I can see it.”
I know many people who raised their grandchildren for various reasons. They all came to be deeply loved by their grandchildren as a result. Therefore, some day you will be able to see the children left behind by your daughter as a gift that was given to your life. Until that day comes, hang on and keep going.
Megumi Hisada, writer