COLUMN: Brangelina and the grandparents
IN THE wake of the announcement of the Pitt/Jolie split, which includes claims of Angelina having sole physical rights and Brad settling for visitation rights, one wonders how the grandparents will fare.
Perhaps, the grandparent role has been sorted - perhaps not.
Brad Pitt has been involved in this relationship for 12 years, taking on step-children, adopting a child and birthing three biological children. Pictures of his parents, William and Jane Pitt, show devoted grandparents who regularly visit the family. No doubt, they have their own thoughts on their son's marital split.
In a video recording, Angelina's dad, Jon Voight, has called the split a, 'sad day' and promised the kids will come first.
In the best scenario, life goes on and grandchildren and grandparents continue to establish and grow their own unique relationships.
In a very human way, I share the joy of being a grandmother with these three grandparents. There is something so special about this status.
I watched as my own mother fell love with her first grandchild. She was a mother of five, and her youngest child was just 12 when I became pregnant, so unsurprisingly she received the news with the profound sigh of someone who had really enough of children.
Nevertheless, she was unfailingly loving and supportive during my pregnancy, but her natural cheekiness spurted the truth when she purchased a pair of baby's pilchers which bore the words: "If lost don't come to grandma." I got the message and understood.
She stayed cleared of me for three weeks after the birth of my daughter. That is, until I made a tired and desperate call for help. Of course, she came immediately, picked up the tiny baby and for the next 30 years, metaphorically never put her down. They developed an extraordinarily close bond, and the precedent held for my mother's next 11 grandchildren.
History repeated itself with my own grandchild. While I was delighted to hear of a new family member, I was seriously involved with my job and my own life and wondered how much time I had to spare. I wondered if I could be as good a grandmother as my own mother - who had been a stay at home mum.
Despite these worries, the magic happened all over again. Some three years ago, an interstate phone call around 6.30pm from my son-in-law delivered the news of one healthy little girl born in the city of Melbourne, country of Australia.
The next morning I woke at about 3am and wrote a poem devoted to her. I was amazed at this soul that had entered through my own maternal line. Last year, the family moved closer to me and I see my granddaughter on a daily basis. I constantly share with other grandparents the unparalleled joy of our young offspring.
In the workplace I proudly yarn about her brilliance with other grandparents and make sure the younger ones look at the many pictures on my phone. You see grandparents have no boundaries when it comes to showing off about the grandkids.
So it is with sadness, that I think of any grandparent or grandchild denied the privilege of this relationship because of adult children's marriage split-up. The link is so vital the Family Law Act acknowledges the importance of children having a relationship with their grandparents.
The Act does not give an automatic right as a grandparent to see a grandchild, but grandchildren do have a right to see you, if that is in their best interests.
And you do a have a right to have your relationship and role in the child's life considered by a court that is making decisions about what future care and living arrangements would be best for the child.
Group Editor, Seniors Newspaper Network