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Missing my grandkids

Dear Editor:

It amazes me what some people will do and say to keep me away from my grandbabies. I have been to court, accused of hideous crimes and even had to pay for my own polygraph test to prove my innocence, all because my son’s girlfriend, Brittany, does not want me around my grandbabies.

This is my first experience with having to defend myself and to fight for something so important to me.

I started having trouble with Brittany shortly after my first grandchild was born. Brittany has made false accusations about me more than 25 times and this is the second time she has made accusations of sexual misconduct towards my grandchildren. Never once has she produced any evidence that would substantiate her outrageous accusations. Even more important, she continues to leave the children in my care. If I had honestly done the things she accused me of, any mother would remove the kids immediately.

In 2014, I filed for guardianship of the children. Their parents began leaving the kids with me almost full time. The parents were never around. I wanted more for my grandbabies. Brittany was very angry with me for the time and the legal expenses it took in my efforts to gain guardianship.

The kids and I shared a very close bond and relationship over which Brittany became quite jealous. On the rare occasion that she would come to take them home with her, they would become very upset, crying and begging to stay with me. That was when she started to try and find fault in the way I cared for the children.

The kids were my universe. I dedicated my life to them. Everything I did was with their best interest in mind. My home became a classroom. I spent countless hours teaching them letters, colors and shapes. I had them reading flashcards at the age of three.

It was obvious to everyone I know that I would never do anything to hurt these children in any way. I would walk through fire for them. I would give my life for any one of them without hesitation.

I would think that someone guilty of what I’m accused of would try to hide and hope that it would just be dropped and forgotten, not voluntarily seek out an expert to perform a polygraph test. I drove 120 miles and spent over $600 to prove my innocence.

I have scores of character witnesses who immediately offered their support to testify, write a letter to the court, or do anything they could for me.

One of Brittany’s family members made the comment that my problem was “that I loved the kids too much.” I just shake my head on that one. How do you measure the love between a grandfather and his grandchildren? How could that love ever be wrong or too much?

Brittany and her family also said that I held my grandchildren on my lap too much. We read countless books, watched lots of Sesame Street type programs, and did flashcards to learn to read. So, yes, they did spend a lot of time sitting on my lap during these activities. The three of them competed for the best knee. I’m proud of that, not ashamed.

Her family also tried to make something ugly out of the fact that the kids would sometimes kiss me on my mouth. I thought that was normal and innocent. I’ve seen them all do the same. That’s how I always kissed my grandparents.

I would like to end this letter by saying that my three grandchildren, now ages 8, 5 and 4, are my life. They are my joy. They are my happiness. I know there is something special missing without my grandbabies having a grandparent involved in their lives.

I believe all of us, children as well as adults, are at our best, happiest and most secure when families are together and close.

—Wayne Gillispie, Excelsior Springs

By Brian Rice • brian@leaderpress.com

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