Grilled Grandma: Karen

How many children do you have? 8 children

How many grandchildren? What are their ages? 10 grandchildren, ages 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 7, 6, 4, 3

Any great grandchildren? no

What do your grandchildren call you? Nana

How often do you get to see your grandchildren? Depends, some almost daily; some once every few months; one once a year if I am lucky.

What is the best thing about being a grandma? Being able to love the children without being responsible for everything.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? Keeping my mouth shut when I would do things differently than the parents.

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud. Listening to a 7 year old tell her 10 year old sister while preparing to go to Home Depot, “I don’t think that’s appropriate what you are wearing. There might be little children there to see  you.” The outfit was a bit odd but totally modest.

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? This is a hard one. I spent so many years raising grandchildren that when the others came to visit, they played with the children not me. Now, I mostly go to their homes to visit.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house?
That depends on how long I am staying. I may be taking them to their lessons, helping with home work, going to their school performances, fixing their dinner, or again working on my computer while they do other things. My work is never “done.” I am rarely the doting grandma who makes cookies. We make healthy smoothies instead.

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits?
We talk on the phone mostly. One of my granddaughters and I do a blog together. She is 9. She tells me over the phone what to write and I type her words. She uses a fictitious name of course. We write about what she is learning in school, and I search and add appropriate clip-art to it. She enjoys showing her friends her blog. We started this project when she lived with me and continued it even though she is not with me anymore.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? Perhaps stories of their ancestors and a feeling of belonging. And of course knowing that no matter what happens, I am always here.

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you? 2 words – “Love” and “Healthy.” When they get older I hope they think of me as the epitome of health and a great example. I want to be spry and healthy well into my 90s. As little children, I hope they just know I love them.

You can visit more with Karen on her blog, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, and her website, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.