Grilled Grandma: Vicki

How many children do you have? We have two children plus their spouses; our daughter Katy and her husband Travis and our son Nick and his wife Marie. I consider them all my kids.

How many grandchildren? We have one granddaughter, Ezra, affectionately known as “Our Little Princess.”  Our second grandchild is due in April.

What are their ages? She’s 19 months old.

Any great grandchildren?

What do your grandchildren call you?
The plan was for her to call me “Grams.” Right now, it comes out as “Mams” which is fine with me. I don’t really care what she calls me.

How often do you get to see your grandchildren? We make it a point to see her at least once a month. We live about 2½ hours apart. If I haven’t seen her in a month, the next Saturday I drive to San Antonio.

What is the best thing about being a grandma? I get a huge kick out of seeing how much like her mother she is. It’s like I get to relive my own kid’s childhood without the responsibility.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? For me it’s the feeling of competition to “keep up” with the other grandparents. It would be very easy for it to turn uncomfortably competitive.

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud. My husband has a game he plays with her where he walks his fingers towards her and tickles her. Last night she was trying to do the same thing to him through the webcam.

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? I love to walk around the neighborhood with her and visit the neighbors. We’ve known most of the neighbors for years. They watched her mom grow up and are so delighted when she visits.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house? I love to be the one who puts her to bed. I give her a bath, read her a book, and then sit in her room and read my own book until she falls asleep.

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? The webcam is a godsend for this. We talk to her at least once a week. My daughter says that when she asks baby if she wants to talk to Grams and Pop-pop, she immediately stops what she’s doing, squeals with delight, and runs to the computer.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? I want them to have a strong sense of family and to know that my love for them is unconditional.  My practical advice for kids is always … if you wouldn’t want to tell your mom about it, you probably shouldn’t do it. I plan to pass that advice along as they get older. I think the world would be a better place if we measured all our actions by that yardstick.

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you? This is probably the toughest of all your “Grilled Grandma” questions. How do you condense all the hopes and dreams you have for your family into one word? But if I have to choose one, I’ll go with “beloved.” I want them to know that they are my beloved and I hope to be theirs.

What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent? Be sensitive to what the new parents need from you. Help as much as they’ll let you. I didn’t want to overstep and wanted to give their new family some privacy, so I came home just a couple days after they got out of the hospital. It was only a day or so before my daughter called and asked me to come back. I stayed another week and took the early morning shift with the baby and took over all the cooking. It gave my daughter time to recuperate and I got to bond with the baby right away.

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma? Just share what you love with your grandchildren. For us, it’s reading. I love, love, love to read to her and she loves it too. It’s something special we share every time we’re together.

You'll find more grandma ideas -- and delectable recipes -- on Vicki's blog, Grams Made It.