Grilled Grandma: Edna

How many children do you have? We have been blessed with five children, three sons and two daughters. They are the healthy main course of my life. I have loved being their mother.

How many grandchildren? What are their ages?
We have seventeen grandchildren; Aubree 18, Curtis 16, Kaitlyn 15, Mikayla 14, Kerra 13, Faith 11, Steele 11, Briana 11, Chloe 10, Grace 9, Luca 9, Lincoln 7, Anna 6, Abby 4, Ande 2, Kai 2, Olivia 1. They are the dessert and I am loving being their grandmother.

Any great grandchildren? Not yet, although it looks like we are almost old enough!

What do your grandchildren call you? The young ones who try to say Grandma Henke sound like they are saying “HaHaHeeHee”. Now and then Anna calls me “M’ Lady”, but mostly it’s just plain “Grandma”.

How often do you get to see your grand children? We don’t get to see them as often as we’d like because two of our children live in Washington and the other three live near us in Southern Utah. Last year my husband retired and we bought a motor home so we can spend more time in Washington. We now consider ourselves as reverse snowbirds.

What is the best thing about being a grandma?
Unconditional love and adoration … how can you possibly top that in a lifetime?

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? Keeping in touch with and up to date on each grandchild and spending quality time with them doing what they want to do.  

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud.
Little two-year-old Ande loves to tell us about her movies … talking fast and furiously, throwing in hand gestures, phrasing, emotional expressions, pantomimes, and now and then some actual real words. We can actually tell exactly what she is saying even without very many words we recognize. She loves to make us laugh.

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? There is something to do with each age. I love to rockabye, sing and smell the sweet smells of a newborn, then comes the playing and playing and playing with the toddlers, the walks, the stories, the games come along and then they are teenagers and we go shopping … giggling over lunch as I listen to them chatter. If I was to choose one favorite thing they’ve all loved it would be my large bin of dress up clothes, purchased at the Deseret Industries (thrift shop). It is full of costumes, dresses, wigs, shoes, bags, scarfs, jewelry, suits, and fake furs.    

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house?
Believe it or not, when we go to visit the families I find I also enjoy spending time with my own children as well as the grandchildren. We often are all gathered in someone’s family room where we chatter and laugh with all ages mingled in. The little ones are on the floor, the middle ones are in and out, and the teenagers are part of the fun. Gradually we migrate into groups where I often find I’m with the youngest and we play silly make believe games.

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? Telephones, texting, slow mail, and Internet. I couldn’t live without the Internet. It cuts the distance off the miles.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? I want my children to know they are part of a big family with lots of aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents who love them. We are an eternal, forever family and there is always someone to turn to. My grandfather had a saying he always told his kids, then us grandkids, as we left his house. “Remember whose kid you are.” We are all children of a kind, loving Heavenly Father. I want them to always remember whose “kid” they are.     

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you? One word I know they will think of is “funny”. I am the funny grandma who makes them laugh. I would hope that they would also think of the word love because I am pretty sure they know how much I love each one of them.

Find out more about Edna and her grandchildren on her blog, Grandma Henke. Stop by any time -- I'm sure she'd love to meet you.