I Ruined My Granddaughter’s Life Today. Again.

Posted September 17, 2010 by

Madeline is in fifth grade.  I was taking her to school and, while backing out the driveway, I thought how beautiful the peonies looked, soft raspberry petals with a cream colored middle, still moist from the rain the night before.

Inspiration hit:  “Why not take a flower to your English teacher,” I ask Madeline, “it would be nice to share them.” (And it wouldn’t hurt to go along with the email I just sent her teacher that this month’s reading log is lost, I thought to myself.)
I took the scissors from the center console — yes, I keep scissors in my car. They are invaluable when you need to remove a new toy from that pesky new packaging or a price tag from a new piece of clothing that Maddie can’t wait until she gets home to wear… or I suppose they would also come in handy to impede a carjacking.

So Maddie selected just the right flower, and off we drove. I kept telling her to stop twirling it around or all the beautiful raspberry colored petals would fall off. When we got to the door of the school, she suddenly realized her navy blue pants were soaked, I guess from the rain drops that had looked so pretty on the flowers! Sorry, we don’t have time to go home for you to change. Now the tears come. “Everyone will think I (sob) peed my pants. And they are all (sob) wet and they feel awful. And I’m going to look so (sob, sob) stupid carrying this stupid flower. Why did you tell me to bring this?”

Okay, I admit it. It was tough raising my kids, but now I am even older and dumber than I was then.  I am two generations away from my granddaughter. Why did I think it would be a good idea for an eleven-year-old to show up at school carrying a flower for her teacher? This is fifth grade — when looking cool is everything!  I have to keep reminding myself that she is growing up and I make a mental note to myself to try to think a little less “old”.

Well, Madeline, I hope your pants dry soon and that your teacher likes the peony, which in the end, you did grab out of the car as you were getting out. Maybe you thought it wasn’t such a bad idea after all.


Nicole Roswell is married with four grown children, and she and her husband are now raising their eleven-year-old granddaughter with ADHD. They also have two dogs and two cats, and a mole who lives in the front yard “whose life long goal is to destroy every blade of grass that we own.”

Popular on Empowering Parents

Reader Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. nanaluv (Edit) Report

    I am raising my 12 year old grandson who has ODD. It was difficult raising my 3 children way back when, but at 60…doing this alone is one of the most difficult things I have ever tried. I love him so very much and know he loves me, too. But no matter how much I do, it’s never enough to fill the void in his life that his step-mother caused when she kept him away from his mother and me for the last seven years and for he as suffered. Now I am just trying to love him but be tough too and it breaks my heart.

  2. ntroutner (Edit) Report

    Nicole, I too am raising grandkids. 8 year old boy and 9 year old girl. It is harder this second time around. I see the mistakes made with their dad and am trying to correct them, but know I am making a whole new bunch of mistakes. I have also had talks with them about how I am older and things are harder for me. I have less patience for one. but I add so much love and attention that I think it all averages out. These kids were neglected and ignored so any attention we give them is so appreciated. Keep up the good work…

  3. Matt (Edit) Report

    Kids say things off the top of their heads that can be quite hurtful sometimes. They don’t think twice about it, and if you think you’re going to get an apology, it’s probably not coming. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you and don’t know that what you’re doing is the right thing. Even if they don’t know that, you still have to do it, right?

    You are to be commended, Nicole, on taking on that hard, thankless task of raising your granddaughter. What a wonderful legacy you’re providing.



Join our NEW Total Transformation® Learning Center!

Practical, affordable parenting help starting at $14.95/month BECOME A MEMBER TODAY!

Empowering Parents is the leading online resource for child behavior help


Parent Coaching Sessions

7.5 Million

Global Visitors

10+ Years

Helping Families