What is a Grilled Grandma? A Grilled Grandma is a grandma whom I've grilled with some grandma-related questions, and she's graciously responded with answers and photos. Here is Grilled Grandma Linda:
How many children do you have? I have 3 children—a son and 2 daughters.
How many grandchildren? What are their ages? I have 8 grandchildren, including my partner's 5 grandchildren. They range from 22 months to 15 years old.
What do your grandchildren call you? They call me Grandma, or GrandmaLinda.
After the initial elation, what was your first concern upon hearing you would soon be a grandmother? My biggest concern at first, was not being able to afford the things I wanted to give them, and that I didn't have a nice place for them to come and stay with me. But I've learned from the children that those things don't matter one bit.
How often do you get to see your grandchildren? I'm so lucky to be with the baby 3-4 days a week, because I'm his Grannny-Nanny, and I see the other kids at least a couple times a month.
What is the best thing about being a grandma? The best part of being a grandmother, besides having precious, adorable little people to dote on, who adore you, is being able to be an important family symbol of both the past and the future. I can give them roots, sharing stories of the past. And for their future: I'm providing a model, by the way I live my life, and by my acceptance, I'm teaching them to believe in themselves, so they can do anything!
What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? The most challenging thing for me, is on holidays, or special occasions, showing grace and consideration for the exes and the extended family. Relatives are often a little uncomfortable because we are divorced grandparents, and so are other family members. Sometimes, I just have to use discretion and wisdom about what I say, or where I seat people or sit myself. Other times we don't get invited, and I must not be sensitive, because it's part of the natural fallout of divorce in families. I have to be careful not to be defensive or hurt by things others may say unwittingly, and I have to be a peacemaker. I want to show grace and dignity, and I pray about this. It's really important to me to be a wise, strong, positive model to my kids, and my sisters, and everyone in the family. I take being the "family matriarch " very seriously!
Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud. I laugh out loud all the time, the children say and do such funny things. Yesterday, the baby ate a handful of sand from his brand new sandbox, I swooped it out and I started spitting in the yard, telling him to spit, but he just giggled and crunched his little teeth on the grit.
What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? At my house, we do art projects, or make cookies.
What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house? At their homes, we have tea parties, watch funny movies, or sing karaoke.
How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? The older ones keep in touch by texting me or calling me, and I (spy on) watch them on Facebook. The best way to bond with the little ones is to make sure to be a support to the parents, make sure they know I'll always be there when they need me.
What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? I want to pass along a legacy of love; self-love, God's love and love for each other.
What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you? One word that will remind them of me—I hope it's " love.”
What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent? I wish I'd learned earlier to have serenity, not to worry about anything, for things usually work out okay after all.
What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma? If I was to give any advice to a new grandma, I would say, don't worry about material things that you are unable to give, or compare yourself to other grandmothers. Just be yourself—give yourself, it's you they want and need.
Accept the grandchildren, just as they are. Don't compare them or boast to one parent about the other's child.
There are inexpensive and free, inspirational and fun things to do with your grandkids. Buy used books to give and read to them,
Dollar stores, thrift shops, yard sales have good stuff, when you really must buy something. Bubbles, homemade playdough, flower seeds, any paper---- these are all resources for activities to do with your grandchild. Take them to a park, play, sing and dance with them, tell them about when you were young, and listen to them! Remember that the little things are really the big things.
Do you have a website or blog? What is it about? I have a website about my work, www.selectiveresidentialservices.blogspot.com, and two business pages on Facebook, for Selective Residential Services, and Vintage Treasures, and an Etsy shop, www.etsy.com/shop/grandmalay. My blog is www.grandmalay.blogspot.com, and it's about being a grandma, vintage decorating, gardening, family and home life, and my adventures. I want to do some painted furniture project demos next. I like to share lots of great quotes and affirmations on my blog, too.
Dear Readers: If you'd like to nominate a grandma for grilling—yourself or any other grandma—please e-mail me her first name and e-mail address and I'll take care of the rest. Thank you!