GUEST COLUMN: Families have changed, by Reah Marshall, parenting columnist.

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My memories of my grandparents as I was growing up, was that they were the glue that held our family together.

They hosted family dinner parties and celebrations, they baked with me as a young child and my grandmother would knit clothes for both my brother and I.

Drawing pictures with my grandad is a memory I hold extremely dear to my heart as he died before I reached the age of ten.

My grandparents’ home was always warm and welcoming, the calm sanctuary I craved when I was a younger.

So I always assumed that when I had children my parents wouldn’t work, and that they would be sat beside a cosy warm fire knitting sweaters for my four children (huh??) and pining for the next visit from their grandchildren.

In reality, both my parents (and my hubby’s parents) are still at work, and won’t be due to retire for possibly five-to-ten years. So when their weekend arrives, or when they have a free evening to spare, they catch up on work/bills or choose to rest and put their feet up ..and why shouldn’t they?!

Since the first day my son was brought into the world, I knew his grandparents wouldn’t be ‘hands on’.

That’s not because they don’t want to be, or wouldn’t love to help out more, but times have changed and a day in the life of a ‘typical’ grandparent is very different.

It’s a shame that maybe some of today’s children won’t have as much time to spend with their grandparents.

But what time they can spend together will hopefully still be enough to create the magical moments I remember so fondly.