Grilled Grandma: Suzanne

How many children do you have?  My children are: Christopher, age 28, Mary, age 26, and Russ, age 50.  Russ is actually my husband, but on Sundays, he prefers to be treated like a child. 

How many grandchildren? What are their ages?
  I have one beautiful grandson, Liam, age 2.

Any great grandchildren?  Not unless my kids haven't come clean on some things.  I did see a little girl pushing a stroller up my driveway the other day but realized that her baby was a catatonic Cabbage Patch Kid which, I've been told, are completely harmless.

What do your grandchildren call you? Liam calls me Nimmy.  I initially went by Grammy before Liam could speak.  He's never been able to say Grammy and Nimmy just seemed appropriate when he started calling me by that name.  My husband says the child is a genius in shortening the name "Nimrod" to "Nimmy."

How often do you get to see your grandchildren?  I get to see Liam every day because he and his mother live with us.  Need I say anymore on that topic?

What is the best thing about being a grandma?  The best thing about a grandma is that, by the time your grandchild arrives, you truly have become more seasoned in life, in love, and in the understanding of what is important.  I don't have to work as hard or as much as I did when my kids were little, and I relish the time with Liam.  I couldn't be a stay-at-home mom, but I am a stay-at-home grandmother, for the most part, and I am very involved in his life.  I have been there for his first steps, the sleepless nights when he was teething and I am with him when he is sick.  If I'd only had that luxury when my children were growing up.  I also believe that we are more relaxed about things by the time we become grandparents.  We slow the time down and it doesn't matter that there are dishes in the sink or the laundry needs to get done.  It'll be there later.  What's important is the here and now and the moments with Liam.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? The most challenging part, for me, is the fact that Liam and his mother live with me.  When a child lives with you and he is the central focus in your life, it is extremely difficult to draw the line as to when and when not to interfere.  Our daughter has made some good choices and some bad choices in her life - which is why they live with us.  Because of my closeness with Liam, I love him as if he were my own child.  I have to bite my tongue on occasion and remind myself that he'll be ok if he wears his slippers outside after a downpour instead of his sneakers or if, for whatever reason, he is given cookies at 5 pm when I'm just about to put dinner on the table and it throws his whole schedule off.  These are not drastic things and, while it is very hard for me, he will be ok.

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud.  Liam and my husband were looking out the window at the birdies and the flowers.  Liam commented that the snow was all gone.  My husband said, "Yes, the snow has gone away."  Liam looked at my husband and said, "The snow has gone to be with Jesus."  That caused thunderous laughter and giggles.  When the snowman melted that he and my husband made, it, too, had gone to be with Jesus.  This all came about after his fish died a few months ago and his mother told him that the fish had died and went to be with Jesus (via a quick flush to Heaven).  It is so intriguing and entertaining watching how that little mind works.

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? Since Liam lives with me, we do many things together.  He is a great help in the kitchen.  I make everything fresh and there is a lot of vegetable chopping since we don't eat meat in this house.  I chop the vegetables and Liam puts them into a bowl for me.  Every time we get to the onions and garlic, he looks at me and reminds me that we never ever rub our eyes after touching onions and garlic.  I remind him that garlic and onions are fabulous additions to any meal and will be so until he's about 14 and takes an interest in girls.  We'll then stop cooking with them until he snags one, gets married, and starts a family of his own.  Then he can eat all the onions and garlic he wants again.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house?  Liam likes to make tents.  So when I visit him at his tent, we bring along several stuffed animals.  Nimmy holds each animal and makes them come to the entry of the tent and ask if they can come in.  Sometimes Liam lets a guest in; others, he shuns.  Of course, those little shunned animals go away, sulking, heads bent and despondent.  Liam then calls from the doorway, "Shaw-wee," and they come running back.  Occasionally, I am allowed into the tent and we whisper secrets and call for his mama to come find us.  While she is "looking" for us, we giggle, hold our fingers to our lips and deviously say, "Shh."  We repeat this game at least 67 times until mama can't take it anymore.

Suzanne's hubby.How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits?  Since Liam lives with us, we have a very strong bond with him.  It will be very very difficult for us if/when they move out (which his mother is constantly threatening to do when she's not happy about something - and to which I mutter to myself, "GOOD luck with THAT.")

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren?
  I'd like to pass on the understanding that none of us are perfect and that each day is a new day to try to become better than we were the day before.  That forgiveness is the best medicine for ourselves and those who we feel have wronged us, that honesty is very important as it sets a foundation for all relationships.

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

Want to find out more about Suzanne? Visit her any time at Liam's Grandma or Maggie in Real Life.