Grilled Grandma: Mary

How many children do you have? One daughter.

How many grandchildren?
What are their ages? Two, a boy age 8 and a girl who will be 5 in March.

Any great grandchildren? Not yet, but I hope to see that day.

What do your grandchildren call you? Grandmother. I like the Native American use of this word as respected elder and wise mentor since I hope to be that for my grands.

Other than the initial elation, what was your first concern upon hearing you would be a grandmother? How I would form a relationship with him living so far away.

How often do you get to see your grandchildren? My daughter, her husband and my grandson lived with us for 2 years (aged 1 to 3) so I saw them daily. Wnen my granddaughter was an infant, I moved to Antigua for 2 1/2 years (aged 6 mos to 3) and saw them every other month. Now I live in Italy and visit them in Trinidad for Christmas/ New Years for 1-2 mos and they travel to Italy for 1-2 mos in the summer. It's less often but for longer time.

What is the best thing about being a grandma? Getting to love these two Dear Ones as a gift to the future of our family and the human family.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? Staying in touch in between visits with children so young and so far away in a land of dial up connection.

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud.
When trying to get photos for this interview, my grandson was clowning around making faces and making me laugh. My granddaughter gave me a big hug to make up for his antics and squeezed so hard she made me laugh. 

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house?
Both kids like to go to the beach as do I. So usually it's to go there. But, this last summer, we had great fun having tea parties with a beautiful china tea set. They really got into the whole spirit of making and sharing tea and I loved it.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house? Going for hikes to the waterfalls or rivers near their house in the rainforest.

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? Skype! Often! My grandson and I also swap emails but it's only in the last 2 months that my granddaughter has learned to read and write. Now I hope their village gets high speed internet and we'll be all set.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? My grands are biracial, bicultural children, so it's important to me to help grow their minds and their hearts to accept people as they are. I tell the stories of their Irish/ Scottish roots and give them opportunity to travel the world to experience all people as kin.

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

What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent? That grandparenting is not just about our individual family but about the future of our species.

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma?
Get involved with your grands because it really matters!

Be sure to visit Mary's blog, Journey Into Elderhood, which she says is, in part, "a chronicle of my journey for my grands."