Grilled Grandma: Joyce

How many children do you have?  Two: Denise and Eric

How many grandchildren? What are their ages? Eleven grandchildren (four girls and seven boys) ranging in age from nine to seventeen.

Any great grandchildren? No, not yet.

What do your grandchildren call you? Grandma, but one Christmas, our eldest grandson decided to give everyone around the table a "food" name. Mine was "Gramcracker." So when I go to their schools for a storytelling session, I call myself "Gramcracker the Storyteller." Also, to be funny, another grandson started to call me "Grammar" because of my love of English.

How often do you get to see your grandchildren? One family lives close, so we interact with them a few times a week. Our daughter's family lives two hours away, so we connect about once a month.

What is the best thing about being a grandma? Pouring everything good and lovely into them. I love sitting down with them and explaining why manners are important, how valuable they are, and why we do this, and not that, etc. When I do something for them, I like to ask, "And why am I doing this?" Then, after we laugh, they reply, "Because you love me." They know!

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? Teaching the concept that "actions have consequences."

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud.
We were going out and the youngest said, " I want to wear black nylons just like you and have white hair just like you." We laughed at how she would look in white hair.

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? I am always looking for fun crafts to do, and I read stories and play games with them. Sometimes, we put on plays. I never want to hear that anyone was bored! But this is a favorite request when they come.

We love to experience Indoor Picnics as a special treat. Everyone helps to hide stuffed animals and dolls all around the house, along with construction paper rivers and trees. Previously, one of the children has created a map. First, everyone packs a bag lunch. Then we chose silly hats and neckerchiefs. A large toy airplane in the living room marks our eventual picnic spot.

The "mapmaker" leads us single file around the dining room table three times, then we travel through the hall to start our adventure. We hop over water, stop and talk to other hikers (dolls), and shy away from wild animals peeking out at us. We follow the map which takes us on a different route each time we do this.

"Oh, look over there, I think I see a plane!" We all rush over to investigate and decide that's the perfect place to spread our picnic cloth. After eating, we sing songs like "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" and "Teddy Bears' Picnic," chant "Let's Go On A Bear Hunt," etc., and enjoy lively conversation.

Afterward, we pick up our things, express what a good time we had, and head back to civilization with new, happy deposits in our memory banks. On the way back, someone invariably asks, "When can we do this again?"

I am not the "good cook" grandma; I am the "imagination" grandma!

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house? We play games, read books, and most of all, I enjoy participating in whatever they are doing. I help with school projects and planning upcoming events.

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? We talk on the phone very often. When they are anticipating something at school or church, I call to see how things went. Even though distance separates us, I want them to know that I am still interested in all they do.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? Christian values

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you?
Integrity (I chose that to be an example to them, but it is hard to choose only ONE word!)