Grilled Grandma: Sandy

How many children do you have? I have one son.

How many grandchildren? What are their ages?
Matthew, 12; Andrew 10; Kendal, 7; and another little sweetie will be joining us in late October or early November!!

Any great grandchildren?
  Not yet - and I'm in no hurry!

What do your grandchildren call you?  Grama Sandy

After the initial elation, what was your first concern upon hearing you would soon be a grandmother?  That we live so far from our son. At the time he was in the Navy and stationed in Florida and then Virginia Beach. They now live near Washington, DC.

How often do you get to see your grandchildren?  About 4 times a year ... they try to make a trip to Michigan twice a year, and we try to get there at least twice.

What is the best thing about being a grandma?  The amazing joy of seeing your child as a parent himself. And the wonderful relationship we can have with the grandkids that is so different than being a parent. It's more relaxed, and in some ways more fun. Maybe because we ourselves are older and wiser.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma?
  Not being able to see them on a regular basis. I hate that they've grown up so fast and we've missed so much - their births, Halloween costumes, birthday parties, babysitting, going to swim meets and ball games, school events. And it's never easy to say goodbye because I know it will be months before I see them again.

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud.
  When the kids visited last summer, my husband and I took the boys for a ride on our Harley's for the first time. Matthew rode with my husband, Mark; and Drew rode with me. As we were heading down the driveway, Drew said, "Grama, have you done this much?" I told him we'd ridden lots and lots of miles - and reminded him we'd ridden all the way to California and back one summer. And I asked him if he was scared and had changed his mind. He told me no. We rode to visit my mother that day. On our way home as we were riding back up our long driveway, Drew said to me, "Grama, this has been the best day of my whole life! The pancakes you made this morning were the best I ever ate. And now I've had my first ride on a Harley!" I couldn't imagine any Grama having more fun than I did that day, too!!

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house?
  I am a massage therapist with my practice here at our home, so they all get massages when they come to visit. What an honor to lovingly massage their little bodies and know how much they love it! We love to play board/card games, Wii games, cooking, making popcorn and watching a movie together, shopping. Our favorite game is hide and seek. I think it's more fun now than it ever was when I was a kid myself! There is never a time when we all laugh longer or harder than when we're playing hide and seek together! Grampa Mark's specialty is wrestling - all three of them can't wait to tag team him!

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house?  We play games, cards, go shopping, read books, play hide and seek, and talk talk talk.

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits?
  Phone calls, and I'm just now shopping for a web camera.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren?
  That we love them unconditionally, of course. And that they can do anything they want, be anything they want to be.

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

What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent?
  That time goes by with them even faster than it did when our son was growing up. Maybe because we ourselves are older, and time is so much more precious.

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma?
  Enjoy this opportunity to be a kid again with your grandkids! We don't have the responsibilities of parenting now - all we have to do is love them and have fun together!