When Grandparents Become Parents

Lynn Bartels
Lynn Bartels with her grandson Isaiah and her husband David

I walk into the parent-teacher conference and look down at the pint-size chair. I’m in my 60s, with a knee that needs to be replaced. Getting into the chair won’t be a problem, but getting out will require two young, healthy men and good leverage.

Situations like this are common when you find yourself parenting your grandchild. Nationally, there are more than 5.7 million children under the age of 18 being raised in grandparent-headed households, and the number is increasing daily.

My late-life round of parenting started when my stepdaughter spiraled into addiction and lost her apartment. Her 4-year-old son, Isaiah, came to stay in Papa and Grandma’s guest room in our Columbus home, along with a ragged stuffed toy named Mr. Pickles.

Continue reading Lynn Bartels' essay on Columbus Monthly.