Grilled Grandma: Mae

How many children do you have? Seven: three daughters, three step-sons and one adopted son.  When I was first married, I had a miscarriage and my doctor told me that I would never be able to have any children, so my first husband and I adopted a little boy.  He passed away on his 21st birthday – he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  My two oldest step-sons are also deceased.  My two oldest girls were born during my second marriage and my youngest daughter from my third.  All three husbands are deceased.

How many grandchildren and what is the age range? A total of 23 grandchildren. Darlene has 3, Leonard has 1, Raymond has 2, Jane has 6, Bobby has 4, and Ann has 7.  The oldest one is Jeffrey – I think he is 50?  51?  The youngest, Kevin, is 32.

How many great grandchildren and what is the age range?

A total of 55 great grandchildren:

Becky (2 children, 2 step-children: ages 28-35)

Lisa (3 children: ages 24-27)

Jennifer (4 children: ages 12-21)

David (5 children: ages 3-18)

Susan (5 children: ages 13-24)

April (5 children: ages 6-16) 

Jason (2 children: ages 6-9) 

Kevin (2 children: ages 9-13) 

Jennifer (2 children: age 15 – one died at age 6) 

Arthur (4 children: ages 7-29),

Paul (2 children: ages 9-13),

Tammy (1 child: age 25) 

Paula (1 child: age 17)

Paulette (5 children: ages 4-16) 

JanieMae (1 child: age 16)

Connie (1 child: age ?) 

Jonathan (3 children: ages ?) 

Joseph Lee  (2 children: ages ?)

Bobby Leroy, Jr. (?)*

Charlie Vance, II (?)*

Vera Lorene (Sissy) (3 children: ages 13- 21)

*Bobby Leroy, Jr. and Charlie Vance II have been missing from the family tree since 1968.

And great-great grandchildren? Age range?

14 great-great grandchildren:

Becky (6 grandchildren: ages 6-15)

Lisa (1 grandchild: age 17 months)

Arthur (3 grandchildren: ages 1-8) 

Bobby (3 grandchildren)

Connie (1 grandchild)

What do your grandchildren call you?

A variety of things.  When I first became a grandma, I wanted to be called Mammaw.  Now I think that everybody calls me Grandma or Grandma Wiggins, with the exception of my youngest daughter’s grandchildren.  They call her Mema and I’m the Great Mema.

What is the best thing about being a grandma?  Having grandchildren, of course.

What has been the most challenging part of being a grandma? Not getting to see them and get to know them because they live so far away.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? A Christian life because it would make their lives happier.

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you?  Love

What advice would you give to new grandparents?  Have lots of patience, love and understanding but don’t let them get away with things they shouldn’t do – you’ve got to have discipline, too.

Is there anything else you'd like to add about being a grandma/great grandma/great-great grandma?  I don’t think that I was very much of a grandma like other grandmas were.  I never asked to be able to keep any of the grandchildren at my house, such as an overnight visit.  I would do things differently if I could do it over and spend more time with all of them.  I guess we all have regrets.