A time for memories, changes, endings, and new beginnings.
"Why is it that we come to wisdom so late, when it’s needed so early — not just for ourselves, but for the people we love, especially our children, who could benefit far more from the experience of grandparents than the stubborn mistake-making of the young and carelessly fertile?"
OK, time for me to tell of a family tragedy and what I learned from it.
I am a grandparent who has custody of my granddaughter (long and complicated story). I am now raising her. I feel I am doing a better job than I did with her mom and uncle, but I'm not sure why. It doesn't seem to be experience - I am saying all the things I did back then, and the activities are much the same. I attribute it to the fact that I am simply much less anxious about getting it all right. The first time around ended with tragedy, despite my best efforts. I came to see that I didn't have to invest so much of myself in my children: they are their own persons. I need to express love, but I also came to see that love requires some respect and even distancing. My granddaughter seems to be so calm and level-headed; if this persists into adulthood she will be quite somebody.
So I tell everyone, raise your children AS IF you are the grandparent. Calm yourself. Do your best to act as if you have done it before. Trust it will all work out instead of putting a vast weight on your shoulders.
It sounds like you guys are long over-due for some good years my friend. Make it happen, nothing but good will coming your way.