Grilled Grandma: Gabriele

How many children do you have? Four. Two daughters and two sons. I always wanted the same amount of both, so I'm glad I was able to pull that off after four, instead of twelve.

How many grandchildren? What are their ages?
Five grandchildren. Four girls and one rough & tumbly boy. Their ages are 17, 13, 7, 6, 17 months.

Any great grandchildren? Nope.

What do your grandchildren call you? Oma. That's what I called my European grandmother, who was my favorite person on earth. It's an honor to carry that name now.

How often do you get to see your grandchildren? Only a few times a year. :(

What is the best thing about being a grandma? Unconditional love!! And you can give 'em back when they're poopy, or crabby.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? Not seeing them enough, because they live so far away from me. That breaks my heart. I try to be there for the big, important times, like birthdays and dances, holidays, etc. But to hear a knock at my door and have it be one of them, on just an ordinary day - would be a dream come true!

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud. They're all goofballs - so this is a tough one to choose.

My son said he'd be right back, but took a long time.
My six-year-old granddaughter said, "Daddy's not right back."
Her five-year-old brother said, "He's a big liar."
She said, "He's not a big fat liar!!"
He said, "I didn't say a big FAT one!"

The best ones, are usually naughty. The ones that make you turn around, so they don't see you trying to stifle laughter! And they're almost always said in public - loudly. It's hard to correct a child, when you're about to bust a gut!

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? No matter if it's the oldest one, or the youngest one, we always do some sort of painting, or dyeing. Sometimes it's silk scarves and other times it's t-shirts. The last time the oldest ones visited, they made polymer-clay characters. My rule is: As soon as the kid doesn't want to 'eat' the art-supplies, he/she is old enough to play!

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house?
The oldest ones and I have always had a 'date'. That's when I take one grandchild at a time and let them decide what they want to do.

It usually involves walking down the main street in town, (or mall) and looking through all the coolest shops.

I give them a certain amount of money and that's what they get to spend. I've taught them how to hand the money to the clerk, and how to count their change. And how to exchange something they didn't like - after ten minutes! (It's amazing how their taste changes in that amount of time.)

Our date always includes a meal at a restaurant of their choosing. (My favorite part!) It thrills me to no end, that the seventeen- and thirteen-year-old still want to hang out with their grandmother!

The younger ones and I love to cuddle-up and watch TV. Where, after a few minutes, they beg me to be the "Tickle Monster" until my arms fall off and I can't catch my breath! Dodging those little bony knees and elbows takes it outta ya!

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? Emails and phone calls. And as soon as I figure it out, i-Chat on my computer.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? Be kind to others. Have a good heart. But stand up for yourself, when you have to.

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

What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent?
Not to let everyone move so far away!!  :(

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma?
Savor every moment, every second, because they grow-up too darn fast!! Take a zillion photographs and videos! And write down all the funny things they say! Hug & kiss them until they run away!! :)

Gabriele has both a blog AND a website. Stop by both to tell her hello. Her blog is So Many Things To Love; her website is Gabriele Agustini: Specializing in Hand-painted Silk & Velvet Accessories.