There’s no-one quite like grandma.
Much-loved grandpas not withstanding, the cheesy Eighties song warbled by schoolchildren said it all.
Children absolutely adore their grandparents. No matter how much of a battleaxe you think your mother-in-law is, through your kids’ eyes, grandparents are the only people who love them practically as much as you do - and likely have more time and patience for them.
It’s not just the love, though; children learn so much from them - including respect and understanding for a generation living life at a different pace.
Yet so many separated mothers and fathers callously cut the in-law grandparents adrift. Almost half of grans and grandads live with the heartbreak of never seeing their grandchildren again; parents of sons fare worst.
Some do it out of sheer spite; they want to hurt the grown-ups (and simply ignore the fact that their children feel the exact same pain). Others cut the tie because they are selfish; they want a clean sweep, so out go the now un-needed old brooms.
But no more will this be allowed. Grandparents are to be given legal rights to contact with their grandchildren after family breakdown. A review of the family justice system, the biggest shake-up in family for decades, is giving recognition to the increasingly vital role grandparents play in society.
It’s high time. Scores willingly sign up as unpaid childminders. At a time when they should be enjoying a well-earned wind-down, they’re racing to the school gates, helping with homework and making fish finger teas again. In this recession, they’re thrusting their spare bit of pension at you and begging you to spend it on that holiday you’ve scrimped for.
My mum and stepfather? I am forever indebted to the support they gave when I was a divorced mother working full-time. And my son wouldn’t be half the person he is today without them.
The bond they forged is still as strong now he’s 22. They have become each others’ confidants. Why would anyone purposely set out to shatter that?
Surely, the more people who love your child, the better?