Grilled Grandma: Beth

What is a Grilled Grandma? A Grilled Grandma is a grandma whom I've grilled with some grandma-related questions, and she's graciously responded with answers and photos. Here is Grilled Grandma Beth:

How many children do you have? We have two kids. Our daughter is 28 and is married with a baby. Our son is 25, divorced, and has two little girls.

How many grandchildren? What are their ages? We have three granddaughters, ages 6, 4, and 10 months.

Any great grandchildren? No great-grandkids yet (hey, I'm only 46!) We'll hope that special joy doesn't come around for at least another 20 years. My mom seems to love being a great-grandma though!

What do your grandchildren call you? I'm Grandma, and my husband is Papa, although he believes it should be spelled PawPaw. Not sure why, but the spelling seems to make a difference to him. For a while, the older granddaughters called us Grandma and Papa with the RV, and their other set of grandparents Grandma and Papa with the Kitties.

After the initial elation, what was your first concern upon hearing you would soon be a grandmother? We felt pretty young to be grandparents at the time, and it was kind of hard to begin thinking of myself as a grandmother. I think, too, that I worried about not loving the grandkids as much as I loved the kids. Looking back, of course, I see that this was not anything to worry about, as grandkids are several times more loveable than kids at the same age (sorry, kids).

How often do you get to see your grandchildren? We see the 6-year-old and 4-year-old at least once a week, when we take them to church and spend Sunday afternoon with them. The 10-month-old lives about three hours away, but we usually see her about once a month. The baby recognizes us on the computer now, so when we're not visiting, we like to Skype pretty often and have long conversations with her, mostly consisting of buh-buh-buh, and duh-duh-duh. Lots of fun.

What is the best thing about being a grandma? I think just getting to view the world through the eyes of a child, and enjoying all the childhood joys again. Holidays are truly enjoyable when they're shared with a kid, and especially a grandkid. Plus, my grandkids secretly think I'm a rockstar, so I enjoy the adulation.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? Definitely trying to keep the energy level up is hard. You moms who are my age, how do you do it?

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud. They are truly funny, and we laugh all the time. We were having a bit of a rough transition from our house back to mama's house one day recently, and so we decided to stop in to Sonic to get cherry limeades. The girls decided they wanted chicken and fries, but we knew their mom would want to feed them when they got home. They were complaining just a bit, and starting to melt down, so Papa said, "Let's not hear any crying back there, and I definitely don't want to hear about any gorillas," just kind of throwing it out there for a bit of zany humor. Well, they quieted down and decided their limeades were just fine for a few minutes, until the 4-year-old, very quietly, said, "Gorilla." I believe there was some cherry limeade coming out of my nose at that point. Now, if she wants to get a quick laugh, she just has to say, "Gorilla." She's got a great sense of comic timing.

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? Our favorite thing is just to get down on the floor and play with them. Kids absolutely love attention from grownups, and a grandparent who gets down and plays with them, is just tops.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house? The baby likes for us to read her books when we're at her house. She's quite a book lover (her mom's a librarian, of course), and I love to let her pick a book and read it to her. Her current favorite is Goodnight Gorilla. Once again, with the gorillas, seems to be a recurring theme for us.

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? Computer visits are so, so much better than phone calls, and that's our preferred method of keeping in touch with the baby. The 6-year-old is getting to the point where she can talk to us on the phone, and she'll sometimes call with a little help from her dad. Getting a call from a grandchild is pretty great, by the way.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? I had a grandma who really personified love and compassion, and those are probably the traits I'd most like to pass along. I'd also like to teach generosity, and a heart for helping other people. We were really happy this past week when the 6-year-old insisted that we pick an Angel Tree ornament at church, so that we could provide a gift for a child of a prisoner. It's wonderful to see her heart of compassion developing.

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you? Rockstar (is that one word or two?) Really, I've never had fans like they are. I walk in the room and they light up. Of course, they walk in the room and I light up, so we're mutual fans. It's pretty great.

What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent? A big cup of juice right before bed is a bad idea. You know, you learn these things as parents but forget them when you're a grandparent. Trust me on this one.

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma? The days are long; the years are short. Make the most of the time you have with your grandkids. They'll be grown up before long, and the time you spend with them now will be their childhood memories.

Do you have a website or blog? What is it about? I'm at The blog kind of reflects me - I like to blog about loving grandparenting, ideas for connecting, bargain shopping for grandkid gifts, and of course, funny stuff my grandkids say!

Dear Readers: If you'd like to nominate a grandma for grilling—yourself or any other grandma—please e-mail me her first name and e-mail address and I'll take care of the rest. Thank you!