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    « One-word Wednesday: Uninhibited | Main | GRAND Social — Grandparent linky — August 13 »

    The grandma in a box

    This post named People's Choice in the humor category in the 2013 BlogHer Voices of the Year.

    A STORY:

    Once upon a time there was a woman.

    Who had a husband.

    And three daughters.

    Plus one house, two cats, two dogs, and an addiction to collecting books and pictures of people she loved.

    And she had a writing job that had nothing—yet everything—to do with all of the above that she loved.

    She liked rock music, independent films, and playing games with her friends—which was usually paired with a wee bit of drinking, too, whiskey or beer but never, ever umbrella drinks of any sort.

    The woman also liked learning new things, especially when it came to computers, cameras, cooking and cantatas.

    (She also really liked alliteration, so cantatas worked far better in that sentence than piano.)

    The woman loved her mom, her dad, her brothers and sisters. She loved Jesus and America, too—as well as stories and songs that turned her heart inside out.

    The woman liked the things most women do. No matter what their age.

    Eventually the woman’s daughters grew up and flew away. One got married and had two sons.

    Which made the woman a grandma. Yet another thing she loved.

    So the woman added to her writing job, writing about those grandsons. Writing about them online—along with lots of other things she'd write about—on a blog.

    Which was confusing to some.

    It wasn't the writing on the blog that confused some, it was the being a grandma. Grandmas are old and know nothing about being online. Or anything interesting at all, for that matter. Grandmas rock in rocking chairs, they hug and kiss their grandkids, they pull up their gray hair into buns. Maybe they crochet. But that's pretty much it.

    At least that's what it seemed some non-grandma bloggers thought of grandma bloggers. They’re only grandmas. They’re old. They’re boring. And they’re invisible if there's the G-word in their name, the G-word in their game.

    Once a grandma, only a grandma, they thought.

    Some unenlightened brands, bloggy networks, and PR folks seemed to think the same thing, too.

    If they even thought of grandmas at all.

    Other grandmas understood. Other grandma bloggers really understood—even those who didn’t write specifically about their grandchildren, about being a grandma.

    The other grandmas understood because all of the grandmas, online and off, were put in the very same box. Were trying to get out of the same box. Together were saying, HEY, you meanies who squished us up into this uncomfortable GRANDMA box: We want out! We love our grandkids way beyond words, but they’re not all we love. Can’t you see we are so much more than grandmas? Can’t you see we are all that we were before? Can't you see that we are now all that AND a bag of potato chips, er, grandmas!

    But the non-grandmas didn’t see any of that. They didn't see the woman and her fellow grandmas pounding on the box. All they saw was the word GRANDMA. And the box.

    If they saw anything at all.

    Every once in a while, someone did see something at all. Mostly it was just the word GRANDMA, though, and they thought the boxed-up grandmas would be happy as clams to talk about canes and assisted living centers and denture cream and gadgets that help them when they’ve fallen and can’t get up.

    Those non-grandmas didn’t realize grandmas can and do get up. On their own. And they get down, too. That they're still vibrant and relevant. That they still love music. Still have jobs that have nothing to do with being a grandma, yet love the job of being a grandma, too. They still have spouses and daughters and sons and parents and brothers and sisters and animals and friends and interests.

    And that they do all the very same things they did before they became grandmas.

    They even—gasp!—still have S-E-X.

    And they still talk about and write about things that matter, with people and for people who matter.

    So that woman who was now a grandma but still had a husband and three daughters and still really loved all sorts of things non-grandmas think grandmas shouldn't or couldn't like decided to write about being stuck in the GRANDMA box.

    In hopes others might see her and her grandma friends in there and let them out.

    Or…perhaps they might do nothing at all.

    But at least that grandma who loves, loves, loves being a grandma yet is so much more than a grandma would have her say.

    Then she ended her plea for release from the GRANDMA box with an oh-so cute photo of her grandsons. Simply because she could.

    And to further confuse those non-grandmas who Just. Don't. Get. It. 


    Today's question:

    Anyone second that emotion?

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    Reader Comments (40)

    uhoh, this one's going to be long. My apologies all!!

    I hereby second that 'e'-motion! Although I readily admit that my day job has a teensy bit to do with being a Gma:) Perhaps Grandma stereotypes are most noticeable to those of us who 'work' in the industry, blogger or not?

    I'd love to know how other Grandmas feel about it. I think Grandma-ism is rampant and I've had way more than my tolerance will allow. Can't believe what brands/vendors/reps have said to me about Grandmas...insulting me, my customers, my family, and my friends.

    On the plus side, marginalization as a Grandmother has offered great opportunities for surprise business attacks. Because I guess Grandmas in a box don't have functioning brains either?

    Thank you for letting me vent. LOL.

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNonnieKelly

    We ARE all that AND a bag of chips and I will add the dip.....or maybe hummus lol

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhonda Wilkinson

    I second that e-motion too! As a matter of fact I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about my blog and what I'm going to write about. I've decided that I'm just going to write about anything I want to write about and if people don't like it, they can stop reading it.

    And I just can't resist saying this, Lisa said S-E-X on her blog. Tee-hee.

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVicki Valenta

    NonnieKelly: Vent any time. I know that you, of all grandmas, see far more grandma-ism and marginalization than most of us because of your business. For me, lately, it's been mostly big bloggy networks. Grandmas are invisible to so many. :-(

    Rhonda: Bring on the hummus!

    Vicki: I say Go For It! Write what you want, when you want. It's your blog, so have it your way! And thanks for making me chuckle this morning. Yes, I said that...but spelled it out so it wasn't so blatant. We grandmas are that way, I guess.

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    Spelling out words, like we used to do with our children. Yikes, our second adulthood has started already.

    I second.

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Covin

    Seconds, thirds and fourths coming from me, sistah! LOVED this post, Lisa. In fact, one of my very favorites from GrandmasBriefs. We ARE so much more than rocking chair grannies. Oh, I do love a good rocking chair, but sadly, I don't own one. And I can crochet, but I'm too dang busy with school, work, writing and family. I have been training online for my new tech support job, and I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard the trainers (and some of the other students) relate "Grandma" as someone who is not so computer savvy. I beg to differ!
    And? I sure do love my grandsons. That part of being in the box is just fine with me! Hugs, my friend.

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTerri Sonoda

    Why on earth would something one or more of your kids did (produce a child themselves) make any vibrant and worthwhile woman of today stop being all the interesting things she truly is?

    That's about the dumbest attitude I can imagine. Having yet another role to play, with all it's opportunities, pitfalls, and concerns simply ADDS to her value and anyone who doesn't understand that has no sense. There, I the great-grandmother of many, have made my stand clear.

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    Love, love, love your post today and I second that emotion (I now have that song in my head)!

    I still think of my mom as the "grandma" but she is a great-grandma of many. I'm the grandma! I must say that my 10 1/2 yr old granddaughter does keep me young.

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie E.

    Add my second to all of the other seconds! Excellent post Lisa and very right on the mark! I'm a Grandma, I'm not dead or stupid! But I love it when I can show them young'uns! It is a family joke that I am freakishly strong! Well when we were moving bales of hay around for the Father/Daughter Dance one of the Dad's commented "Grandma Kc really is freakishly strong!" And not only am I not dead, I am technically advanced! The PTA asked me to build their new website/blog! They asked Grandma!!!!

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    Oh Lisa, I not only second your emotion, I triple, quadruple and high five it! If there is one thing that "getting older" and becoming a grandparent has taught me is that life is what you make of it and age is only a number --there is much more living we all have to do and none of us are slowing down to be the stereotype of what grandmothers used to be! I think advertisers miss out on the fact that women our age are for the most part intelligent, independent, willing to try new things and have the time money and desire to do it.

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPat

    I'm with all of you ladies! I do admit to feeling my age 'some' days, but other days I drive in the car with my granddaughter with Taylor Swift belting out a tune about "...she wears short skirt...I wear Tshirts..." and having a great time. I'm also computer literate, love to sew, enjoy painting, live to garden and farm, and have several other hobbies and interests. When I see an ad tailored to a senior with no brains or common sense, I take note and make sure I don't spend my money with them. I'll go in my grandmother box but only with a revolving door so I can come and go as "I" choose. Great post.

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

    Just had to make a second opinion known (sorry, sort of).

    If I were head honcho of any big corporation, I'd ask every advertising agency: What demographic are you MOST interested in capturing? Any one that DIDN'T answer, "Grandmothers" would be fired on the spot because, whatever age, THAT is the most knowledgeable, least restricted, and ready to spend money on whatever they want.

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    So nice! I'm lovin' all the seconds and thirds and high fives! You ladies rock! And that revolving door for the GRANDMA box that Judy mentions? Well, I agree. A revolving door would sure come in handy at times. Though I'm all for just burning the darn box altogether, revolving door or not.

    Thank you for the positive response to my little story.

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    Wonderful, wonderful post Lisa, I second it.

    Some people think of grandmothers as having purple hair and ready to leave this mortal coil. I'm not ready for that to much to do, to many things that are still out there for me to explore. My body may not be what it used to be and tire more quickly yet my age has made me wiser. I'm proud of being a grandmother, proud of raising our beautiful Lucy who keeps me young and on my toes. I wouldn't swap places for the world.

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSally Kabak

    You are so right on! Thanks so much for the great post. We grandmas have to stick together :)

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

    "Those non-grandmas didn’t realize grandmas can and do get up. On their own. And they get down, too." Love it! And I agree!

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Adcox

    I'm all in for this! Love this! Oh yes, I love being a grandma but I also love being a wife and just being me:)

    August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvelyn

    What wonderful writing. You are so right about how grandmas are assumed to be unidimensional with only their identity as grandmothers making them interesting. This is perfect!

    August 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrown and Flown

    Wow. Where do I begin? First, I suppose by saying that this wonderful piece of writing kept me at the edge of my seat wondering where you were going with it, and I was not disappointed at all! Right after I registered my domain name (with the word "grandma" in it) I began to receive spam for walk-in bath tubs and 3 footed canes! Really! HA! If only they knew that the majority of my blog email is from young mothers asking me to explain how I made something so they can duplicate it for themselves. Again, HA!
    My most honest reaction, however, was touched on by NonnieKelly's comment...."surprise business attacks!" I kinda like "flying under the radar" while I enjoy the best parts of parenthood without the drudgery. Mostly I love spending my money on the grandkids. If businesses don't realize how much is out there, they are relying on flawed intel and even that gives me a chuckle! Having said that, I do love Judy's "revolving door" of grandmahood and I have used it several times. "What? a RECEIPT is required for this return? I'm so sorry but I am just a grandma who didn't see the fine print on your ad. Are you able to make an exception for me this time?" DONE! LOL so who's the unsavy consumer now? Go Grandma!

    August 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

    Wow! I am not sure what a grandmother is "supposed" to be, but I am sure I don't fit in that box. I never knew my grandparents so I didn't have a pre-conceived notion about what a grandparent was. I am a unplanned child born years after my siblings so my parents became grandparents when I was 15 months old. I never really looked at them as grandparents to my nieces and nephews, they were treated like me. So I never had that prespective that grandparents treated grandchildren differently than their kids. My brothers and sisters probably have a different opinion on this one. So I feel like a pioneer exploring this business of grandparenting. I am not that sweet little ol lady kniting and baking (although I do those things). I think I am defining my role from day to day and hope that my grandsons love me for who I am and feel they have a pretty great Gram.

    August 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGram

    SEXY post! :)

    August 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdebra

    Sometimes I wish there was a 'like' button on blog post responses...;)

    August 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNonnieKelly

    I love this post! I love that you are bringing new voices the internet...I love it!

    August 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

    Hallelujah sister!! I love being the savvy "Mamaw" in my group of friends!! I just wish my old body didn't feel like a mamaw!! Too much DIY!!

    Thanks for writing what all us gma's feel most of the time!!!

    I am totally going to send this to my mother-in-law, as she will love it! She, too, is not a grandma of the grandma box! Great job! :) Stopping by from SITS Sharefest.

    August 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterthedoseofreality

    This is great! My mom will love it. She loves being a grandma but hate what the title implies (aside from a ridiculously loveable grandson!)

    Visiting from SITS.

    August 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterannie

    Love this post! Go Grandmas!
    Stopping by from SITS!

    August 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

    I love this post. I'm not a grandma yet, but my live-in sweetie is a grandpa. His kids still haven't figured out what to call me, I keep saying Nonnie (my name's Connie).

    December 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterConnie McLeod

    This is, I think, the first post I ever read here Lisa. Loved it. And can so relate - being a grandma (Nana) to 3 little granddaughters. Love 'em. Love my life too.

    December 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

    No one puts THIS Grannie in a corner! Tell it, Lisa!

    December 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRisa

    I love this! Breaking the grandma stereotype. You're the kind of grandma I look forward to being. No box necessary ;)

    December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarpool Goddess

    That was awesome!
    Did you know, there's a market for 'grandma porn'...? True! Google searches bring people to my site all the time when they put that it search. (And, as of yet, I've never done it! Or, I have but had too much 'juice' to recall??) As creepy as that sounds, it gives me a wee bit of hope. Some people are still realizing we do all those amazing things. And, they want to see how, why, when you do them. I mean, if Google says... it must be true. And while I'm still rockin' the sexy time, I don't think Grandpa will let me vlog that. Maybe with a lot of 'juice'? But probably not.
    Also, ya know who's suffocating in boxes? The pink heart, rainbow mommy bloggers. A big PINK pepto bismal threw up all over the place kind of colored box! Blech. And how bland and dry it must be in that box for never knowing the magic of Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath and a different hue with Pink Floyd? Sad, huh? You'd think they would want us to share our vivid, colorful knowledge rather than what came from Nick Jr stars. Because, clearly, my grandchildren watch that. And they don't have the disposable income ladies of our worldly experience have. If I were at the head of a PR firm, I'd totally 'tap that'...

    December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Juice

    Such good thoughts. You know, I think I put myself in a "Mom Box" for so many years and found I missed out on so many good things. Not that I didn't love being a mom and raising my children, but I think I made that role too narrow. And I somehow "got it" when I became a grandma....I decided I wasn't going to climb from a mom box to a grandma box. Wish I'd learned it sooner.
    Thanks for your wit and wisdom.

    Yes Lisa, that is a great post! Very well said, and funny too. Love it! I'm out of my box!

    December 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

    The perfect post for today! Loved reading all the comments I missed the first time! We are Grandmas hear us ROAR!

    December 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    A toast to you for getting grandma out of the box!! Salut!

    July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterConnie McLeod

    I just found your blog and am grinning from ear to ear. You expressed my own views so beautifully! I intentionally did not include the word "grandma" for my newly created blog "" because I wanted distance from that BOX.
    I am single, looking for love, regaining my avocation as an artist and a writer. Plus I love having grandchildren and loving relationships with family and friends. I love so much more about life too, that I cannot possibly list it all. I am a work still in progress. Thankfully so.
    Thanks for being a wonderful force.

    July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Phelps

    First of all congratulations on VOTY! Plus having your piece read. Way to go! I'm also a VOTY, and a 72 year old blogger and grandmother. We need to stick together. Of course I also have gray hair. Can you imagine? I'm bogging, learning tons of new things, still keeping my hair gray and still loveing ebing a grandma. My grandkids also live 7 hours away by car and an hour by plane.I completely identify with you. Looking forward to meeting you at Blogher13 grandma.

    July 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSandra Sallin

    Loved this post, Lisa, and no surprise it won the People's Choice Blogher Voice of Year Award. You tell it like it is and lead the way reminding all of us, there are no limits to what a woman can do at any age. Congratulations and Write On! Go granny go. tee hee

    August 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat

    This is the BEST POST I've read! WE HAVE TO STOP GRANDMAISM !
    Lets talk about another word for us, lets invent a new identity, full of love, vigour and wisdom, common girls, lets break out of this mouldy mould!
    Xx Linda

    August 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

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