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Being a new Grandma is exciting and wonderful! You’re probably getting a lot of advice about Grandparenting, aren’t you? Well, I’ve learned a few things along the way! Let me share with you a few top tips for a first-time Grandmother.
- 10 Top Tips for a New Grandma
- 1.) Offer advice if asked.
- 2.) Be there, but not in the way.
- 3.) Keep your opinions to yourself.
- 4.) Get your home ready.
- 5.) Get your camera ready.
- 6.) Start your memory keeping efforts.
- 7.) Pick your name.
- 8.) Buy a few children’s books.
- 9.) Love this child.
- 10.) Share the love.
- 101 Simple Things That Make Me Happy: It’s the Little Things in Life
- The 7 Personality Traits of Successful Grandparents
- Unconditional Love
- Willingness to Listen
- How to survive becoming a grandmother for the first time
- The 10 Best Things About Being a Grandparent
- 1. Seeing your family grow & grow
- 2. Unconditional love, without the responsibilities
- 3. Children energise you
- 4. You often have a busy nest, but the nest is all yours
- 5. A focus on the fun
- 6.Pure affection
- 7. The financial situation is different…and usually better
- 8. Watching your own children become amazing parents
- 9. Your grandkids love your stories
- 10. The grandparent-grandchild relationship is like no other
- 1. They might come along when you least expect it.
- 2. They’ll ask a lot of questions.
- 3. You might become the primary caregiver.
- 4. It’s never too late to be a first-time grandparent.
- 5. Grandparenting is not always sunshine and roses.
- 6. But it can be even better than what you’ve heard.
- 7. You may be a l-o-n-g distance grandparent.
- 8. You won’t grandparent the way you parented.
- 9. You may learn a few things about yourself.
- 10. You may be a diva granny.
- How to Be a Grandma in 2019
- Ask rather than answer
- Get silly
- Beware grandparent rivalry
- Be mellow about mess
- Do things, don’t just give things
- Don’t be a burden
- Avoid playing favorites
- Take the lead
- Be your grandchild’s confidante
- Store and share family memories
- Notes from a New Grandma
- Love Thy Grandchild, Though Remember She’s Not Yours
- Listen to Your Adult Children
- Communicate — and Be Flexible
- The 8 Best Things About Being Close With Your Grandma
- 1. You Have Special Things In Common
- 2. She Makes You Feel Good About Yourself
- 3. She Wants To Make Your Dreams Come True
- 4. She Has All The Remedies
- 5. She’ll Feed You The Best Food
- 6. She Has Fun Stories
- 7. Her Closet Is A Playground
- 8. She’s Good At Advice
10 Top Tips for a New Grandma
It all starts when you get the news – “You’re going to be a Grandma!”. You may have seen it coming, heard “rumors” that they’re trying, or understand the heartbreak they’ve already been through hoping to become parents. You may have not even seen it coming! However it came to this point, doesn’t matter. Grandparenting has stepped into your future. Are you ready?
1.) Offer advice if asked.
This applies to everything baby-related beginning with the time you hear the news. The parents-to-be will find their way or ask for advice from you if they need it. Baby “procedures” have changed since you became a parent yourself. Give non-judgemental, non-critical advice when asked. It’s a scary thing, being pregnant, wondering what’s in store, for Mom & Dad alike, and taking that new baby home. Especially for first-time parents. Allow them time to find their way, but be there when you’re needed. Be a supportive new Grandma.
2.) Be there, but not in the way.
Let the new parents know you are available and ready to help. But don’t go overboard. Being a new parent can be stressful and challenging. Don’t give them more reasons to worry. Allow them to enjoy their time with their new little family. Be an available new Grandmother.
How Often Should Grandparents See Their Grandchildren
3.) Keep your opinions to yourself.
Suppress the urge to correct, judge or criticize the decisions made about the care of the new baby. Unless you actually see imminent harm coming to the child, it’s better to discuss your concerns with an understanding attitude than the “what in the world are you thinking?” approach. Be a kind new Grandma.
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A Message to my Grandchildren: Things I Want my Grandkids to Know
4.) Get your home ready.
If you want the chance to babysit or even have your Grandchild visit your home, you need to make it safe and comfortable. Check for dangers and remove or replace what needs attention. Have supplies on hand, like wipes, a few diapers, a blanket, and maybe a crib or portable sleeping arrangements. Your children will be more likely to leave the child in your care or come for a visit if they feel comfortable in your home. Knowing the baby is safe and that a few emergency supplies are available will help to ease their minds. Be a conscientious new Grandma.
5.) Get your camera ready.
As a first-time Grandma, you’ll probably be excited to take photos of this little one. Don’t forget to take your camera, or at least your phone, when you visit. Make your visits the priority, though. Instead of trying for the perfect photo, try for the perfect connection. Have someone else snap a few pictures of you with your new Grandchild. When they are a little older, they will love seeing themselves as a baby and will know that you were there. Be an interested new Grandma.
6.) Start your memory keeping efforts.
Begin the process of memory keeping as soon as you discover you’re going to be a Grandma. Start a journal, record how you’re feeling, write stories of their birth from your perspective. Make a memory book, scrapbook or photo album. You could even start a blog. Choose a method, or a combination of methods, to preserve these precious moments. Babies aren’t babies for very long – help yourself remember the days. Be a storytelling new Grandma.
7.) Pick your name.
What will your Grandchild and future Grandchildren call you? Nana, Mimi, Grandma, Granny? Decide on a name that will distinguish you from other Grandparents. When the parents refer to you, the child will understand that they are talking about you. Be a recognized new Grandma.
8.) Buy a few children’s books.
Reading to a child is a great way to connect. Have books available to read while you snuggle. Hearing your voice, getting to know you, and starting an appreciation for reading early are only a few of the reasons for reading to your Grandchild. Be an educational new Grandma.
9.) Love this child.
Another important tip for the new Grandma – every child is different. No two people are alike, and your Grandchild should be perfect in your eyes. Accept this child unconditionally, expressing your love at every opportunity. They are only little once. Your relationship with your Grandchild starts the first moments you are together. This bond you’re forming will be off to a good start! Be a loving Grandma.
There are other people in this child’s life that want to show their love, too. Be considerate and welcoming of those who want to know your Grandchild. As they say, it takes a village. Graciously giving space to others will serve to enrich your own experiences with your little person. He or she has enough love to go around. Be a generous Grandma.
Here is some advice from other parents and grandparents: Advice for soon-to-be grandparents. Tips from this post were included!
Becoming a Grandparent can be a rewarding, fulfilling experience for everyone involved. Make an effort to be the best Grandma in the world. Babies will see you as a “best” Grandma from the beginning, so start the connection early, and keep it up! It’s SO worth it!
Keep Passing Down the Love,
Grandma’s Tip of the Day: The best things to give your Grandchildren are not material things. Your time and your love are what matter most.
101 Simple Things That Make Me Happy: It’s the Little Things in Life
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The 7 Personality Traits of Successful Grandparents
As grandparents, many women over 60 are embracing a new role in life. Seeing our children grow up to have children of their own is one of life’s great joys and privileges, and it reminds us of how life is a circle, with so many stages and cycles. The young become the old, and “The Child is father of the Man,” as William Wordsworth wrote.
For women our age, it might have been awhile since our own grandparents have been part of our lives. Today’s women over 60 are looking for new ways to fulfill the role of grandparents by providing the right blend of support and independence and helping our grandkids grow up with a positive, influential family presence around them.
What does it take to be a successful grandparent in today’s world? Here are a few ideas. We would also love to hear your ideas. Please add your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the article.
The best grandparents tend to be full of patience – for their grandchildren as well as for their grandchildren’s mom and dad. Even if your grandchildren are boisterous or sometimes misbehave, the best grandparents know that it’s all part of growing up.
The most successful grandparents tend to be generous – not necessarily in terms of buying toys, gifts and offering financial generosity, but generous with their time, generous with their hospitality and generous with advice (when asked).
The best grandparents are a rock-solid foundation of love in a child’s life. Children need to know that no matter what might be going on in their lives, no matter what disappointments they might encounter at school or on the street out in the world, they are always safe and loved at grandma’s house.
Successful grandparents learn once again how to see the world through a child’s eyes. This is a surprising and wonderful privilege of being a grandparent – we get to interact with our grandchildren and live life, for a little while, with their sense of time and their capacity for wonder.
Willingness to Listen
The best grandparents know how to listen. Just being there to listen to your grandchildren’s stories and encourage their enthusiasms is a wonderful gift to give.
“Detachment” doesn’t mean that you don’t care about your grandchildren – it means you know how to maintain a healthy distance without meddling or constantly injecting your own views. Even if your own (grown) son or daughter isn’t doing everything “the right way” or “the normal way” in raising your grandkids, even if they follow different traditions or aren’t raising your grandkids in the same church or faith as you, the best grandparents know how to let things be and allow your grown children to chart their own course as parents.
Being a grandparent isn’t always about buying gifts or hosting dinners or taking your grandchildren on special vacations or anything like that. Aside from all of the fun things to do together with your grandchildren (which are wonderful), some of the best gifts you can offer your grandchildren are just the gifts of your time and your presence. Children learn a great deal just from being in the same room with you, watching how you prepare a meal, listening to you sing your favorite song.
Seeing multiple generations of their family is an important way for children to learn who they are and how to live. This transmission of identity and family connection can be one of the greatest and simplest gifts of all.
What have you learned about yourself from becoming a grandparent? What do you think of this advice? Please join the conversation.
I fretted for 30 years about all that could go wrong with my children. Now, I’m dropping my worry and picking up my new granddaughter instead.
When, at two in the morning, after about five hours of active labor, the nurse said that my daughter Stoli was ready to push, I was so relieved I burst into a big smile. Before that, as my son-in-law Nels put it, I had been “kind of worried.” I’m willing to admit that was an understatement.
This is their first child. They do not know how much can go wrong. Nels hadn’t even noticed the alarming diagrams on the wall above the fetal heart monitor, but I couldn’t help but read the instructions for resuscitating an unresponsive infant.
Before I could dwell much on that possibility, Nels pressed Stoli’s back, I held her hand and she groaned deeply, straining with her whole body. Suddenly, the baby was on her belly instead of in it—a bluish-wrinkled-old-woman-alien, all smeared with the white grease of the womb. Stoli was tearfully wide-eyed. Nels beamed. I scanned the faces of the professionals in the room and they were all smiling, too. I was the only one, it seemed, who had been at all concerned.
The fact is, I’ve been worrying for almost 30 years about my own children and I’m not about to quit on my grandchildren. It is my job.
When the baby girl squawked, I let out a huge sigh of relief.
In spite of my fears, all was very well. As the doctor attended to Stoli the nurse lifted the little baby they named Lani, who grew prettier by the second, to the heat table. I was told to rub feet smaller than my thumbs.Her skin flushed pink from her dainty ankles to the scalp beneath her lovely black hair. Everything got blurry, but I quickly wiped my eyes. I needed to keep watch, so Lani wouldn’t accidentally be switched with another newborn.
Stoli never worries, which constantly amazes me. And worries me. Could it be that the upside to worrying all night about your children is that they, at least, sleep soundly?
My daughter, my youngest of five children, lives in the moment, just as we all say we should, but most of us do not. When I asked her if she was concerned that the labor could stall and she’d have to have an emergency C-section, she said, simply, “No.”
“Didn’t you read the labor and delivery section of What to Expect When You’re Expecting?” I had given her the book and had my own well-worn copy on the night table.
“It was too scary, so I kind of scanned it,” she said. What? Is this my child?
Stoli’s pregnancy was as relatively easy for her as the birth. It was a tad more challenging for me. For starters, it was a surprise, and one that prompted her to decide not to finish her junior year of college. I had so wanted her to graduate. Secondly, she was single, and just 21. She has since married her boyfriend, with my blessing. But they are so young. Never mind that I was 22 when I got married. That was totally different.
Because it was me.
Later that morning, after we had all napped, I remembered the worried look on my mother’s face when I told her I was pregnant that first year of our marriage. Then I hear myself telling Stoli what my mother told me before my baby was born: “Sleep when the baby is sleeping.” If I didn’t, she had said, I could get overtired, which would lead to all kinds of woes, from postpartum depression to mastitis.
Stoli looks up. “Mastitis?”
“It’s an infection in your milk ducts that is very serious.”
“Mom, I’ll be fine.”
I start to remind her not to let anyone near the baby who hasn’t sanitized her hands.
But then I look at my daughter’s peaceful face and at the perfect baby she produced in spite of all my fretting, and instead I share something more helpful that my mother taught me after I had given birth: that used tea bags take the sting out of nursing.
My mother died when Stoli was a teenager. She will never rock this great-grandbaby, but she is here, in the room with us. You’d think I have been around long enough to know that worry does not make the world turn, love does. You’d think.
The afternoon of Lani’s first day her great-aunt Tanya came to visit, scrubbing her hands well before reaching for her (and thus endearing herself to me forever).
I was still groggy from being up all night, and thought at first I was dreaming as Tanya floated into the room, all joy and praise. To me, she declared I must be Stoli’s sister, that I was too young to be a grandmother. (Honestly, I did not look my best. A daughter’s labor adds years to a mother’s face.) To Stoli, who was puffy-eyed and tired to her marrow, she exclaimed that she never looked so lovely. It was impossible, Auntie Tanya said, that she had just given birth—”Impossible!” To her nephew she said, “Oh Nels, oh Nels, oh Nels! How lucky we are!” Then lightly, reverently, she pressed that baby to her heart and they waltzed across the linoleum. “The world is so beautiful,” Auntie Tanya cooed as she swayed—”You are so beautiful. We are so lucky.”
That’s when I decided what kind of grandmother I will be. I will be more like Auntie Tanya. I no longer have to worry. That is Lani’s mother’s job, although it seems unlikely that she will embrace it. Good for her, the new me says.
This is the reward for surviving my own childrearing years. This is the secret that no one tells you about being a grandmother. It is not the old joke that grandchildren are great because you can play with them and then give them back to their parents to change and feed. It is that you are no longer the chief worrier. You are now the good cop. A mother must say no, but from the beginning a good grandmother gets to say yes.
Yes, little darling, you are beautiful and brilliant. Yes, the world is wonderful. Yes, everything is OK, and yes, there is nothing to worry about because your daddy is kind and your mama is happy and your grandma is right here.
HEATHER LENDE is a contributing editor to Woman’s Day. Her most recent book is Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs. She lives in Haines, AK.
Her husband, Andrew, was stretched out on the bed next to her so they could pass the baby back and forth. A pair so suddenly a threesome.
Since he and Tay had come to the hospital early, I kept urging them to take a nap. They laughed and teased me — I guess it was pretty obvious that all I wanted was to hold Jordan. Have her to myself.
When it was finally my turn, I felt I was growing a whole new chamber in my heart. I nearly swooned, staring at her like a lover. I’d never seen anything so delicate and beautiful, so sweet, every feature perfect. And it’s not that I didn’t see her three chins.
This is what I didn’t expect. I was at a time in my life where I’d assumed I had already had my best day, my tallest high. But now I was overwhelmed with euphoria. Why was she hitting with such a force? What explains this joy, this grandmother elation that is a new kind of love?
But there was something more at work here, something mysterious welling up inside me. It wasn’t that I hadn’t been told that becoming a grandmother was the best thing that ever happens to a woman. But what I couldn’t get over was the physicality of my feelings. When I got into bed at night, I would pretend I was holding Jordan in my arms. I was infatuated.
Dare I say it? It felt like … ardor.
Aha! There it was. We grandmas literally, actually, fall in love.
Being a grandmother became my new identity. And I fast became a stereotype. Whenever I passed a store that sold anything for babies, man, was I sucked in. Dresses, little shoes, toys, books.
If you came to our apartment in New York right now, you’d see a dollhouse in the hallway, a little stove by the kitchen, a miniature baby grand piano in the living room, a huge stuffed dog, a baby rocking chair. You can walk into any room and know we’re grandparents.
How to survive becoming a grandmother for the first time
Gone are the days of grannies as grey-haired ladies who knit blankets – nowadays half of British grandparents are under 65.
We all want to be a brilliant gran, but it can be hard work not to spoil the little’uns and avoid annoying your offspring.
These tips from Gransnet.com will make sure you’re everyone’s favourite grandma…
1. The Waiting Game
Waiting for the new arrival can be nerve-wracking (Image: Getty)
Be helpful: Waiting for your grandchild to be born can seem to take forever. Try to channel that energy into practical pursuits, such as baking, freezer-filling or making a cot quilt.
Things to avoid include watching lots of One Born Every Minute and calling the parents-to-be and asking for news.
Relax: The big day can be even more nerve wracking than giving birth yourself – this time you have the baby and your daughter/daughter- in-law to worry about.
You’ll be poised by the phone to receive the call, but be prepared that the new parents may choose to let extended family and friends know via text, email or even Facebook.
If this is something you’re uncomfortable with, offer in advance to let key people know yourself.
2. Pitter patter of tiny feet
Don’t take on too much (Image: Getty)
Childcare: Sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of whether you’re a nan or a nanny. Nearly six million UK grandparents regularly care for their grandchildren, for an average of 10 hours a week, and this army of childminders saves parents £11 billion a year.
Before you embark on regular babysitting duties, make sure you aren’t taking on more than you can manage. And if you have other children, you may be expected to spend equal amounts of time with each grandchild.
Think very hard about how you want to spend your precious free time – no one wants a knackered granny!
Discipline: A 2012 study concluded that the average toddler’s daily antics amounted to the equivalent energy of an adult running an entire marathon.
But no matter how tired you feel, it’s important to maintain some level of discipline. It can be hard to know how far you should go as a grandparent, so take your lead from your daughter/son and use similar rules.
You won’t want to be an overly strict gran, but your offspring are unlikely to thank you if you undermine them by being too relaxed.
3. Older children
Take an interest in your grandchildren’s pursuits (Image: Rex)
Screen time: Problems now are a world away from ones we dealt with when our kids were small, with the amount of time children spend in front of screens being a major cause of family conflict.
When you’re childminding, set screen time parameters and stick to them. They’re more likely to turn off their phones and laptops if fun activities are on offer, such as baking or board games.
Confidence: Many kids go through a confidence wobble and being there to listen can make a big difference. Always ask a child’s opinion, and listen to what they have to say, so they feel valued.
Even if they ask a daft question, answer as sensibly as you can. To boost a fragile ego, give them small but ‘vital’ tasks and praise them for a job well done.
Give advice when asked and don’t take on too much childcare (Image: Getty)
Let them bond: Chances are, you’re going to think your new grandchild is the most wonderful thing and you’ll want to spend every waking moment with them.
But try to remember what being a new parent feels like – they need time to bond as a family too, and you don’t want to leave them feeling swamped.
Offer to help, but remember you have many years ahead to enjoy being a gran.
Mum knows best: Being tactful can be the toughest part of being a gran, particularly if you’ve been asked for advice but they don’t like the answer.
Try not to go against their style of parenting, but find a solution within their framework. And avoid giving advice that hasn’t been asked for – it may be seen as criticism.
The New Granny’s Survival Guide by Gransnet is published by Vermilion (RRP £14.99).
The 10 Best Things About Being a Grandparent
After your children grow up and leave home, life changes. The family ‘nest’ is no longer full, and your focus shifts away from that of full-time parent. For many mums and dads, this is the period when ‘empty nest syndrome’ begins, and it can be a challenge adapting to an unfamiliar lifestyle. But you may want to embrace that empty nest while you can. In only a few short years, your adult children may start getting married and having children of their own, refilling the nest with precious little babies. Time for another transition. Now, you’re stepping forward into a new role. Your family is growing again, and you’re taking on a fresh title—that of the grandparent.
Welcome to grandparenthood, what many will claim is the best time of their life. If you’re already a proud grandparent, you already know about the great things that come along with this role. If you’re about to become a grandparent for the first time, you’re likely filled with anticipation at what is to come. This is a beautiful time in your life, not only because you’ll have gorgeous grandchildren to love and spoil, but because being a grandparent brings with it numerous other benefits. While there are probably too many to count, we’ve boiled it down to 10 of the best.
These are the very best things about being a grandparent:
1. Seeing your family grow & grow
There’s something incredible about witnessing the growth and expansion of your family. On one hand, you’re observing the continuation of your ancestral line. This alone is a fascinating and special element. Without a doubt, we humans have an inborn nature to see our genes passed down through the generations. Watching it happen right in front of you is a real privilege.
As a grandparent, you can stand back and watch the future unfold in front of you. As your grandchildren enter the world, it’s thrilling to watch them grow, seeing which relatives they might resemble and discovering what type of people they will become as individuals. Noticing the similarities between your own children and their children is a particularly enjoyable aspect. Watch for those little quirks within your grandchildren: a style of laughter, a proclivity for certain foods, or simply a familiar temperament. So many grandparents are amazed when they see just how much history seems to repeat itself!
As grandparents, you’re at the head of a blossoming clan.
2. Unconditional love, without the responsibilities
Both as a parent and as a grandparent, you’re sure to feel insurmountable love for your offspring. But while parenting is a balance between care and guidance, grandparenting is somewhat different. We grandparents have all the luck in this department. We get to enjoy the unconditional love of our grandchildren without having to shoulder the responsibilities allotted to parents. Of course, we’ve already paid those dues when we raised our own children!
Those with grandbabies will cheer in agreement when we mention the words “no nappies!” As a grandparent, you get a free pass for dealing with all the less-enjoyable aspects of rearing babies. Sure, you might change the occasional nappy, especially if you’re babysitting for an evening, but on the whole, you are absolved of these unpleasant responsibilities. This is one thing that makes being a grandparent such great fun.
But it’s more than that. As a grandmother or grandfather, you are able to spend your time loving on your grandkids, instead of focusing on their raising. While parents look to ensure their children develop good manners, self-control, and the like, grandparents can take their focus off of these responsibilities. Nan and Grandad’s house isn’t the place for discipline and chores. It’s not the place where you eat all your vegetables. No, this is where the spoiling and the cuddling take place. Grandkids come over to eat cookies and go on outings, and grandparents get to pour out the love and simply enjoy their quality time together.
3. Children energise you
It’s common to become a first-time grandparent in your 50s and 60s. For many of us, these are thriving years, but they are a time when our energy begins to wane a bit. You may not feel you’re as active or energetic as you were in your 20s and 30s. But when the grandkids come over, you forget all of that.
Kids energise those around them. With their boundless enthusiasm and zest for life, you can’t help but be swept into the chaos. Experts often say that children keep us young, and there’s a great deal of truth to that statement. We may not be able to run and play with them for hours on end, but children can be a positive influence on us. They remind us what it means to be children; to be carefree and curious, to explore without hesitation or self-consciousness. Spending time with your grandkids offers a wonderful reminder of the pleasures of life.
4. You often have a busy nest, but the nest is all yours
Perhaps the finest aspect of being a grandparent is that you get the best of both worlds. Case in point: your home. While you may have the joy of having your grandkids over often, at the end of a crazy day, they will go home to their mummy and daddy. Your house is still your own, providing you with some lovely peace and quiet. As a parent, you likely had a house chaotic with toys and mess, but as a grandparent, you have a lot more control over this. The children don’t take over as they do in their own home! For those that love having a personal space, decorated the way they like, it can be fabulous having grandchildren who come…and then go.
5. A focus on the fun
Daily life brings with it a to-do list. But not at grandma’s. At grandma’s, it’s all about having fun. Here there are no dentist appointments to attend, no chores to be done, and no to-do lists to check off. When you’re a grandparent, you needn’t concern yourself with the day-to-day necessities of life with children. These are left to their parents, meaning your time spent with them can be focussed completely on having a great time.
There are also opportunities for one-on-one time with your grandkids. You may not have these same chances when you’re a parent, all under one roof. But as a grandparent, you might get one grandchild at a time. This means they get a day of spoiling and adventure—what grandkid wouldn’t love that?!
Being a grandparent is all about snuggle time.
One of the best aspects of raising kids is revelling in all the affection. Babies and young children can be so cuddly. As a grandparent and as a parent, you’ll probably spend a lot of time just holding, cradling, and cooing over the little ones. Well, as a grandparent, you likely get this advantage times two! On a short visit, there may be no naptime to worry about, and of course, there are no chores or rules at the grandparent’s house, so there’s ample time for snuggles and relaxing.
Speaking of affection, grandparents are blessed with truly adorable nicknames. While nan and pop are common titles, the iterations are endless: grammy, grampy, papa, nanny, or a new, creative name given to you by your grandkids. There’s definitely something special about being referred to by a sweet pet name.
7. The financial situation is different…and usually better
You’ve worked hard throughout your life. By the time you become a grandparent, it’s probable that you’re enjoying the rewards of your labour. This means that grandparents are generally in better financial situations than they were as young parents. More importantly, this means that the money spent on grandchildren is ‘fun money.’ Instead of paying for piano lessons, new shoes, or other essentials, grandparents can use their money to spoil the little ones. This means holidays, trips to theme parks, cinema tickets, new toys….virtually anything. With money to spare, it’s a pleasure to spend it on those you love so much, and especially to spend it on something that will bring them enormous joy.
8. Watching your own children become amazing parents
Being a grandparent is not just about your beautiful grandkids, it’s about your own children too. There’s nothing that can compare to the magic of watching your children turn into loving, caring parents. Witnessing the growth can feel miraculous. For many grandparents, this period brings about a sense of pride. You can feel secure in the knowledge that you did an amazing job raising your kids, as you see them doing the same with their own children.
Passing down parenting knowledge is a treasure, too. Go easy, though, as your kids are probably anxious to figure things out for themselves. Still, the occasional helpful suggestion will be a welcome touch. And make sure to regularly compliment your children on what terrific parents they are becoming. This will warm their hearts and fill everyone with family gratitude. That’s just the best.
9. Your grandkids love your stories
It’s something of a requirement for grandparents to tell stories. And many of us have fabulous tales to share. After all, we’re so much older than our grandchildren, meaning we grew up in a vastly different era. Don’t be afraid to tell your grandkids about what life was like when you were a child. Chances are, they’ll be fascinated by the way the world has changed. They may not even believe you when you tell them that phones used to have cords!
As a grandparent, telling stories can be great fun. But it’s not every day you have a willing audience. Passing down family traditions and tales can be a lovely way to forge an intergenerational bond, and you never know how your wisdom will impact your grandkids.
Sharing stories is a beautiful pastime between grandparent and grandchild.
10. The grandparent-grandchild relationship is like no other
The connection between a grandparent and a grandchild is unique and meaningful. It is a relationship that differs from that of parent and child and takes on its own special shine. Nothing can compare to this kind of relationship, and every grandparent will surely agree that their grandkids have changed their lives.
Unlike the perennial best seller and pregnancy bible What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which has provided guidelines for expectant parents for 25 years, there is no similar manual for grandparents. But we think the best advice comes from those in the trenches: expect the unexpected.
1. They might come along when you least expect it.
Andrea King Collier of Lansing, Michigan, received the shock of her life when her 20-year-old son announced that his girlfriend had just delivered a baby boy. “I was furious that he hadn’t told us the baby was on the way. Then one of my mom’s friends said, ‘You had the best grandparents in the world, and I don’t expect any less from you,'” Andrea says.
“There was nothing ever like the love I felt the first time I held Miles,” she continues. “I even gave up traveling for business so I wouldn’t miss seeing him smile, sit or walk for the first time.” The Colliers keep their grandson every weekend and now, at age three, Miles views even the simplest excursion as an adventure. “His favorite activity is going to the grocery store to watch the live lobsters in the tank,” Andrea says.
And the joy keeps coming: “Our daughter’s first baby was born just two weeks after my husband lost his father. It was like sunshine in the midst of sadness.”
2. They’ll ask a lot of questions.
Even though she had always wanted to be a grandmother, Bonnie Mason of Salisbury, Massachusetts, didn’t anticipate the total love and laughter her granddaughter brought into her life. What surprised her most were the deep questions Gianna asked: “Where is your daddy?” (meaning Bonnie’s deceased husband) and “What happens when you die?”
“I had to think really hard about how to give her answers that were appropriate for a young child,” she says. The hardest part of being a grandmother? “Learning not to give advice unless it’s asked for, which it rarely is,” Bonnie says. The best part: “The chance to be completely silly and act like a child again, especially when her mother goes out of town and leaves her with me.”
3. You might become the primary caregiver.
Mary and Tom Miller* of Florida were relaxing at home on a Sunday afternoon 10 years ago when two policemen and a social worker holding their six-month-old grandson knocked on the door. “Either you take him, or we’ll have to find a foster family,” the social worker said. “His home environment is totally unsuitable for a baby.”
The Millers were stunned. Although they had cared for their grandson on many occasions, their son and his girlfriend had a house full of pit bulls that terrified Mary, so they exchanged the baby at the car. Being full-time caregivers was supposed to be temporary, but four years later, the boy’s parents hadn’t gotten their act together. The Millers formally adopted him and have never looked back. “We’re at the ages when most people retire. Instead, we’re full-time parents again attending soccer games, parent-teacher meetings, and enjoying watching our (grand)son grow,” Mary says.
*Not their actual names.
4. It’s never too late to be a first-time grandparent.
Margie Goldsmith of New York City had never had children, but when she re-married at age 70, she became an instant grandmother to her husband’s grandchildren: a newborn, a toddler, and four teenagers. “I had never even held a newborn and didn’t expect the wonder and total love I felt,” Margie says. “I was amazed at my grandson’s 10 perfect fingers and toes and fuzzball hair—he completely stole my heart. My husband says the only duty grandparents have is to make being together fun, and we try our best.”
She’s also blown away with the 4-year-old’s creativity. “He literally becomes Captain America, and when we bought him a full costume with built-in muscles, he threw his arms around me and said, ‘Oh, my heart!’ I just melted.”
5. Grandparenting is not always sunshine and roses.
Suzanne Smith* of Tennessee had always been close to her son, who was a Marine, and his two children. But when he was tragically killed in Afghanistan, his wife packed up the kids, took them back to her hometown in Maine, and completely cut off Smith’s access to them.
“I was very close to my own grandparents and never dreamed that I would have a strained relationship with my daughter-in-law,” Suzanne says. “She doesn’t want me around, and if I displease her, she retaliates by preventing me from talking to the kids.”
It became so difficult that Suzanne threatened to take her daughter-in-law to court to get grandparent’s rights. Even now, Suzanne has to wage war just to have a weekly conversation. “Their mother’s only concession is letting them visit me for two weeks every summer which we all love, but the long separation is heartbreaking.”
* Not her actual name.
6. But it can be even better than what you’ve heard.
“Whatever I thought having grandchildren would be like, it’s 1,000 times better,” says Janey Pillsbury of El Dorado, Arkansas. “I listened to my friends talk about their grandkids and swore I would not drag out pictures and bore everyone, but now I’m doing exactly the same thing.”
Her grandchildren are seven months and 2 years old, and Pillsbury is thrilled when they hold out their arms to be picked up. “My hope is they love us as much as my kids love their grandparents, because that’s how much we love them.”
7. You may be a l-o-n-g distance grandparent.
Eileen and Mike Pink’s daughter, Sara, first surprised them when she came home from a study-abroad year in Spain with her future husband. The second surprise was that she was moving permanently to Seville. “I was still teaching, so we could only see them during the summer months,” Eileen says. “Luckily, they come back to Dallas once a year.” On one memorable visit, Sara told them she was expecting.
“Even though we live 5,000 miles away, I’m not sure we ‘grandparent’ any differently than others who live a distance from their grandchildren,” Eileen says. “We stay in touch frequently via email and Skype—sometimes at 5 a.m. due to the time change—and send them books in English that are difficult to find in Spain. The kids are bilingual and speak English at home, which eliminates the language barrier.”
Recently retired, the Pinks have rented an apartment in Seville for three months this summer to test the waters for a permanent move. “It’s still on the back burner,” she says. “This elongated visit will help us decide.”
8. You won’t grandparent the way you parented.
Unlike the Pinks, Myron and Deborah Brown of Charlotte, North Carolina, live very close to their three grandchildren. “It’s a real blessing because I never expected to feel such incredible love,” Deborah says. “I’ll even reschedule business meetings in favor of going to the kids’ sports activities. My grandchildren take priority over everything.”
When Angelina, their first granddaughter, was six or seven, she loved to spend the night. “We would kick Paw Paw out of the bedroom and sing songs, tell stories and go outside and look at the stars —things I would never have allowed my two girls to do,” she says. “As far as I’m concerned, these children came straight from heaven just for me.”
9. You may learn a few things about yourself.
First-time grandmother Amy Swanson lives in Atlanta, and her daughter and granddaughter in Charleston, South Carolina, a five-hour drive away. Compared to the Pink’s 5,000-mile separation, it’s like being next door, but Amy says she hated missing Emma’s first smile, first laugh, and first steps. “There is a level of joyousness in being with this child I didn’t expect,” she says. “As a mother, I was just trying to survive each day. As a grandparent, I laugh the entire time I’m with her.”
The birth of her granddaughter inspired Amy to reflect on bloodlines. “It’s like all the secrets of the universe are poured into her,” she says. “My husband’s family is pure Swedish, I’m Scotch-Irish and Native American. A little part of all who came before her is in that one little body.”
10. You may be a diva granny.
“I knew from the start that I wouldn’t be one of those grandmothers who takes care of the grandbaby all the time,” says Wylene Campbell Adwater of Atlanta. “When they were babies, I considered myself a ‘Granny Diva’ and didn’t want my kids to get too comfortable with the idea that I was available to bear the responsibilities of doing their motherly chores.”
But she also knew that she would love and spoil them—so much so that when they were young, she created a playroom complete with musical instruments, books, and toys. “They looked forward to visiting ‘their room’ at grandma’s house but knew that nothing went home with them.”
Now that all seven grandchildren are well out of diapers, Adwater asks to keep them. “We have granny chats where I share stories about their moms and dad and when they get in trouble with their parents, I beg for mercy for them. I also love bragging on them to anyone who will listen.”
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How to Be a Grandma in 2019
Being a grandma—you would think it would be a piece of cake, a walk in the park—I mean, after all, we have already raised our children. That is how we were crowned with the coveted title of “Grandma.”
But, hold up, not so fast new grandmas or grandmas-to-be. There are some new rules you are going to be hit with in 2019. Don’t get me wrong, most of the basics are all the same—feed a baby, burp a baby, change a dirty diaper.
It is a lot of the other stuff you think you have covered, but don’t. Parents today have a whole new set of ideas when it comes to raising kids. First of all those days where grandparents could run wild, do whatever they do and get a pass well, because they are grandparents… No more.
You must abide by all the news baby raising/caring for rules of 2019. At least that is what I am told. Every time I care for my granddaughter, my daughter leaves a very detailed, and an extensive list of what is to be done, when it is to be done, and how it is to be done.
Due to the new studies surrounding SIDS, babies are to sleep on their backs, no toys, bumper pads, or blankets in the bed with them. Since we live in a state where it is often cold, this one was tough for me, but I adapted.
Feeding—only formula or breast milk until doctor okays it. In my day we, worked in some juice and water. Cereal was given at only months old. Not these days.
It was also called to my attention that if I failed to carry out these instructions my babysitting privileges could be revoked. Okay, this was just the first few months of new mommy stuff going on.
They were all dreamy eyed stating how they as new parents had life all figured out and they wanted to do it their way on their own. I still tend to giggle over that.
Fast forward to months later and new mommy and daddy have also figured out a few things.
- They do not want to do it all on their own, help is a Godsend.
- While it is great to follow all the doctor’s orders, it is important to trust your instincts when it comes to your baby.
- Not all babies are alike, nor will they ever be.
- Grandma did and still does know what she is talking about.
- Grandmas will 100 percent go along with your rules about your babies. After all, we were new moms once also.
- Grandparents are absolutely a million times in love with those grand kids and would put their lives on the line for them.
- Most of us will keep our advise to ourselves unless asked, but then you have opened up a whole new world.
- 8. We will never say “I told you so” well not allowed to you anyway, but we always think it.
- Remember our time here on Earth is fading faster for us grandparents and spending that time with you and the grand kids mean the world to us, so try and be patient with our pop in visits.
- Everything we do is done out of love, love for you, our children, and those magical and precious grand babies.
Despite whatever hurdles, we will jump through knowing that, well, as far as I am concerned, there is and will never be anything else in my life that compares to loving and being a part of my children and grandchildren’s lives.
Being a knock-your-socks-off grandma or grandpa is fun, sure – but it also takes time and effort. Here’s how to be the best grandparent you can be.
Ask rather than answer
As a grandparent, you have years of parenting experience. You may feel like an expert and see your child – the new parent – as needing your guidance. But in that direction lies disaster.
“Hard as it is, you have to realize it’s their turn to make parenting decisions. Grandparents shouldn’t get in the way,” says Sharon O’Neill, a New York family therapist.
When you offer advice and opinions, no matter how well-meaning, you risk making already nervous new parents feel like you don’t trust them or respect their judgment, says O’Neill. Instead, turn the equation around and let your curiosity lead the way.
Ask them about your grandchild’s likes and dislikes, latest accomplishments, and funny tricks. Tread lightly when asking about feeding, health issues, or sleep habits – you don’t want to be intrusive. Gentle, nonjudgmental inquiries show you care and allow you to support your child through any challenges.
Grandparenting can mean all the fun of kids without all the responsibility. So enjoy it! Get down on the floor and play with your new grandbaby. Act out silly scenes with finger puppets, invent stories, and make faces. Save up jokes to tell older kids and watch funny movies together.
Grandmother Sarah Williams made up a special language with her granddaughters when they were young, substituting words so no one else could understand what they were talking about. Now that the girls are older, they’ve started sharing funny video clips with her on Facebook.
“It’s a hoot. My friends see these crazy things that Amelia and Lily post on my page and just laugh,” says Williams.
Beware grandparent rivalry
Avoid the trap of keeping up with Grandpa Joe and Grandma Josie – this will only lead to hard feelings.
“It’s inevitable that one set of grandparents is going to spend more time with the child than the others, but that doesn’t mean anything in terms of the closeness of the relationships,” says Amy Goyer, multigenerational family expert for the AARP and author of Things to Do Now That You’re a Grandparent.
Keep your grandchild’s needs at the top of your mind. There’s no such thing as too much love, after all, and a close relationship with one set of grandparents doesn’t detract from your importance – unless you let it.
Be mellow about mess
Let’s face it, kids are messy. You may have forgotten just how messy! Your best bet is to plan ahead so you’re not dismayed by a piece of toast landing jam-side-down on your white couch.
It’s fine to designate some areas as off-limits and make others child-friendly. Since you don’t want to have to follow your grandchildren around with a sponge, set up a kid eating area where crumbs can fall as they may. You can use a wipe-clean tablecloth and even protect rugs with a floor mat.
You’ll want to keep young grandchildren safe by blocking off dangerous areas and moving valuables and potential poisons out of reach. Our video can show you how to childproof your home, or at least parts of it.
Do things, don’t just give things
It’s tempting to buy the latest toy or game and see your grandchild’s face light up, and that’s fine. But experiences you share are often far more meaningful – and will create memories that last a lifetime.
“My grandchildren eagerly open birthday and Christmas cards to see what experience we’ll be sharing. Two of my grandsons love trains, so we took a three-hour Amtrak trip and had some fun adventures in the little town of Sedalia, Missouri, then rode home again,” says Cathy Svacina, a grandmother of 12.
Document these experiences so they stay in your grandchildren’s memories. “I took pictures and notes and made up a little picture book for them, and they have relived that trip over and over,” says Svacina.
Even a day of babysitting is worth commemorating, she adds. “I’ll take pictures and we come up with a fun story that we make into a book. And when we read the book together, we laugh and have so much fun all over again.”
Don’t be a burden
Be careful of the common pitfall of overenthusiastic grandparents: Making more work for the new parents rather than less.
Amy Goyer of the AARP says she hears from many disappointed grandparents who wonder why they don’t receive more invitations to visit their adult children and grandchildren, seemingly unaware of how high their expectations are and how much effort and work they’re making for others.
As your grandchildren get older, think of ways to spend quality time with them that are helpful to the parents, not intrusive or requiring a lot of organization and planning on their part.
“Come up with fun experiences where all they have to do is show up,” says Goyer.
Avoid playing favorites
Fawning over the dimpled baby while ignoring – or worse, snapping at – the rambunctious 3-year-old sibling is a classic grandparent faux pas.
It’s near impossible not to be struck by the adorableness of whichever grandchild happens to be in the cutest stage. But every child will go through difficult and angelic times, and your job is to love them either way.
“Kids are really smart. If you only seem to like them when they’re on their best behavior or in an ‘easy’ phase, they’ll know this and be wary. It’s the grandparent version of the fair-weather friend,” says Goyer.
The best way to combat favoritism is to make sure your visits include one-on-one time with each grandchild. Kids tend to be at their best when removed from sibling competition, and it’s much easier to get to know a shy child if you’re the only one to talk to.
To make the most of your time together, tailor your activities to your grandchild’s interests. Bring a truck-crazed 4-year-old to a nearby construction site; take a princessy 6-year-old to tea.
Take the lead
It’s your job to stay in touch with your grandchild or grandchildren. If you expect them to do it, you’ll be disappointed and frustrated.
“It’s age-appropriate for kids to be thoughtless about staying in touch. If you want the relationship, you have to be willing to do the work,” says New York therapist Sharon O’Neill.
Remember birthdays, of course, but celebrate other special occasions as well. Send Valentine’s and Halloween cards, or host a valentine-making or costume craft day if you live nearby. Document these and other experiences with photos and videos so your grandchild remembers them.
Follow your grandchild’s milestones closely and ask to be included if possible. (“He just walked? Can I come over and see?” for example.) Acknowledge achievements, from learning to ride a tricycle to the fifth-grade science fair, and request demonstrations.
Ask if you can bring artwork home to put on the fridge. Attend sports games, plays, and dance performances. Cheer loudly, bring flowers, and take everyone out for ice cream afterward.
“As your grandchild grows up, she will remember you as the grandparent who was always there to cheer her on, and that’s priceless,” says O’Neill. Remember, this is your chance to do it all over with just the fun parts.
Be your grandchild’s confidante
You’re an important outlet for your grandchildren because you offer an alternative perspective from their parents. Listen and encourage them to open up to you as much as possible. Don’t limit telephone calls to specific events like birthdays and holidays. Instead, call throughout the year and keep it light and fun.
The first day of school, a tryout, a big game, or a playdate with a new friend are all reason enough to get on the phone. Use video calling if you can – it can be more fun when you can see each other.
Keep track of your grandchild’s interests, the names they give new dolls or stuffed animals, books they’ve been reading – anything you can ask about in the next conversation so they know you’ve been paying attention.
The stereotype of the boring grandpa who’s constantly talking about the good old days has unfairly made many older folks afraid to talk about family history, and that’s a loss for everyone.
Instead, be proud of your role as family historian – you’re providing important continuity between the past, present, and the future. Pepper your stories with humor and adventure and keep them short and to the point and the grandchildren will be hooked.
Talk about your own life, but talk about your adult child’s early years as well. As your grandchild gets older, he’ll love hearing funny stories about his mother or father as a kid – including scrapes, exploits, and what life was like back then.
“Think about what you can contribute from your own culture, history, and personality – what can you pass along to the next generation?” says family therapist Christine Lawlor.
And once the grandkids are doing history projects for school, watch out – they’ll want to hear all about your life “way back when” and what it was like to live through events they’ve only read about in books.
Notes from a New Grandma
Love Thy Grandchild, Though Remember She’s Not Yours
When my granddaughter, Isabelle, was 9 days old, I learned the First Commandment of Grandparenthood: love thy grandchild as thyself, but never presume for one nanosecond that she’s yours.
I had made the mistake of offering — too eagerly, I suppose — to hold her when she started squalling during dinner (which I had cooked and delivered to the new, sleepless parents), causing my son, Clay, to snap, “She’s my daughter, and I’ll hold her.” But 20 minutes later, when he and Tamar, his wife and Isabelle’s mother, decided they needed a Starbucks break, he gladly handed the baby over to me. That’s when I realized that even though I was present at the birth of my granddaughter and am drawn to her with a force that feels stronger than gravity, I am, in fact, backup, part of an extended-family support team, a relief player. I may be besotted, but I must win over Isabelle’s gatekeepers — her parents — in order to spend time with her.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this arrangement; it’s perfectly natural. The first time my parents came to visit after Clay was born, I recall feeling as proprietary about him as a mother tigress feels toward her cubs. Even though my mother had managed to raise two children, I didn’t trust her alone in the room with my son — a fierce protective instinct that must surely be biological. Still, now that I’m on the far side of the fence, I’m discovering that the role of grandmother takes some getting used to as well, especially for women like me who are accustomed to speaking our mind, being in charge (read: bossy), and laying claim to those we love, notably our children. All things considered, this grandmother business is pretty humbling.
“When Juliet, my granddaughter, was born last year, my natural impulse was to jump in with boundless enthusiasm,” says New York City psychotherapist and author Florence Falk. “As a grandparent you feel none of the anxiety or responsibility that comes with being a parent. You’re just flooded with love.” But, Falk realized, “My son and daughter-in-law needed to assert their right of dominion. I had to curb my instincts to offer advice and, instead, take my cues from them.” Not only that, she recalls with a laugh, it was as if she had to audition to prove that her babycare skills were up to snuff. “I was aware of them watching me like a hawk the first few times I changed Juliet’s diaper,” Falk says. “I knew that if I was going to have access to her, I had to abide by their rules even when I disagreed. It was a whole new family dynamic for which I was completely unprepared.”
Image zoom Punchstock
Listen to Your Adult Children
Tensions are bound to arise as new parents and new grandparents adjust not only to the presence of a baby, but also to the changing family order in which the adult children suddenly hold all the cards. “I know my mom tries to bite her tongue constantly,” says Dawn Pons, an executive coach who lives in Arlington, Virginia, and is the mother of 4-month-old Sydney and 4-year-old Tyler. “She thinks our rules, such as no juice and no TV for the first two years, are ridiculous. And when I took Tyler to music class when he was 5 months old, she couldn’t help calling it stupid.”
Complicating matters, Pons adds, are the ever-changing guidelines that seem to barrage new parents and put them on the defensive even before they get criticism from their elders. “Parents today suffer from information overload,” she says. “There are so many rules thrust on us that you feel like you’re negligent if you don’t follow every single one.”
God knows, I’d go straight to jail today if I rode home from the hospital with my newborn son cradled in my arms, as I did with Clay, instead of having him securely belted into a regulation, fire-department-installed car seat. What’s more, as soon as we got home, I put my tiny boy down to sleep on his stomach — didn’t everyone, per Dr. Spock? This leads me to the Second Commandment of Grandparenthood: Listen to your adult children. They may know something you don’t.
A lot depends on how the message is conveyed — and that works both ways. “I would rather have my mother say out loud what she’s thinking than grumble under her breath,” Pons says. “Talking things over allows me to say, ‘I hear you, but I don’t have to agree.'”
Though her mother is coming around, it is Pons’s father who seems most open to candid discussions of generational differences in child rearing. “He pointed out that my mother, while she was raising her children, had two grandmothers nearby who helped out nearly every day,” Pons says. “To her, it seemed natural that she should be very involved with her own grandkids. But our situation today is totally different. My husband and I are a team, and my parents live several hours away.”
Image zoom Veer
Communicate — and Be Flexible
Grandparents want to do right — by their adult children and their grandchildren alike — but it takes time and, inevitably, a few missteps to feel their way into this new role. “I knew I wanted my Grandma role to be big, probably to a fault,” says Estelle Slon, an artist in Washington, D.C., whose two grandkids — Sarah Lily, 3 1/2, and Sammy, 8 months — live in New Jersey. “I have an outgoing personality, and I see now that when Sarah Lily came along, my daughter-in-law needed to feel confident as a mom before she could let me get too close, so there was some tension.” Fortunately, that’s no longer the case. “It took effort, but I talked openly with my son and daughter-in-law about how I wanted to be present, and a lot of good came from those discussions,” Slon adds. She now spends two or three days each month at their house, and more time when needed. “Although it would be lovely if we lived closer to each other, this rhythm works for me,” she says.
Which brings us to the Third and Fourth Commandments of Grandparenthood: Communicate, and accept that one size does not fit all. Every family needs to find its own rhythm of togetherness and time apart. For example, when my sister-in-law’s first grandchild was born two years ago, she vowed to see him once a month even though she lives in New York and the little boy, who has since gained a baby sister, lives all the way in Kentucky. But this arrangement has worked well for all concerned. And I have one friend who has gone into semiretirement in order to babysit three afternoons a week for her new granddaughter. Another friend has moved from Minneapolis to Kansas City — giving up a tenured teaching post along the way — to help her daughter take care of three young children.
But not all grandparents are the hands-on type. Florence Falk, who lives across town from granddaughter Juliet, volunteers to babysit once every other weekend or so — when she’s not traveling. “I’m a zealous grandmother,” she explains, “but I work hard and have a strong commitment to my own active life.” What’s more, she adds, “It’s critical for women to maintain their sense of identity and not become dependent on their grandchildren for fulfillment. As with children, grandchildren grow up and lead their own separate lives.”
In my experience, I’ve learned that even when grandparents and adult children talk through their hopes and expectations — as I did with my son and daughter-in-law shortly before Isabelle was born — the game can change in a heartbeat. At the time of our conversation, Clay and Tamar were living about a mile from my husband and me in Washington, D.C., and they happily accepted my offer to babysit one or two afternoons a week. I was thrilled too — until a few months later when they moved to Paris for my son’s work.
Now, when I’m winging my way across the Atlantic, which I do about every three months, I’m grateful that after my initial grief over their sudden departure, I’ve been able to embrace the Fifth Commandment, and that is: Let go of all your preconceived notions, and get ready to roll with the punches. There’s (almost) always a silver lining.
In my case, Paris.
- By Barbara Graham
The 8 Best Things About Being Close With Your Grandma
If you were lucky enough to grow up with a grandma, then you know how nice it is to have someone in your family who cares about you in ways that differ from your parents.
Your grandparents didn’t have to deal with the day-to-day nuisances of raising you, which means they got to be involved in all the fun parts of growing up.
My whole life I have been fortunate enough to have a grandma who was extremely present in my life, and the times I spent with her were always unique and special.
Whether or not your grandma is still alive, there are things you can take with you for the rest of your life that come from the time you spent together.
Here are the 8 best things about being close with your grandma.
1. You Have Special Things In Common
Sometimes traits and interests skip a generation, and you and grandma likely share a few qualities that your mom and dad lack.
Spending time painting with my grandma, going on nature walks, and cooking elaborate dinners are the times I’ll never forget.
ganddaughter learning to embroider with granny on sofa
2. She Makes You Feel Good About Yourself
Your grandma sees you for the best you, and she’ll be the first to give you a confidence boost.
No one brags more about you than your grandma, who can’t wait to tell her friends about all the different things you have been up to.
Young woman hugging her grandmother
3. She Wants To Make Your Dreams Come True
Grandparents want their kids—and their kid’s kid —to have all the things they never had growing up.
They’ll do whatever it takes to help you enjoy the finer things in life. When my grandma saw how badly I wanted a trip to Europe, she and my grandpa were the ones to help take me there.
4. She Has All The Remedies
I don’t know how she does it, but grandma always has the solution to a stomach ache or the natural remedy for dry skin.
Need something to soothe a headache? Grandma will whip up that peppermint tea, and you’ll feel better in no time.
Getty Images | Christopher Furlong
5. She’ll Feed You The Best Food
Nothing says comfort food like your grandma’s cooking. I grew up craving her meatloaf, begging for her to make it every time she came over.
If you’re ever feeling down, grandma’s food is the ultimate cure.
6. She Has Fun Stories
Sure, the childhood stories of your parents are fun to hear, but your grandparents go further back in history, making their stories more magical and riveting.
I loved listening to my grandma’s stories of growing up in New York and making her way out to California, where she met my grandpa while playing tennis.
7. Her Closet Is A Playground
Who needs to go vintage shopping when you’ve got grandma’s closet?
Grandma’s got a whole trove of stringed pearls, silk scarves, and crazy sunglasses, and whether you were just playing dress up as a child or going for that retro look as an adult, nothing is more fun than uncovering grandma’s fashion choices from year’s past.
8. She’s Good At Advice
When you need someone to turn to, grandma is always a good go-to.
You might not want to share all your secrets with your parents, and sometimes your friends just don’t have the same amount of wisdom as your grandma.
She’ll listen to you without judgment, help figure out what’s best for you, and support you no matter what you choose.
Little girl and grandma whispering secrets