Grilled Grandma: Janie

How many children do you have? I have 3, two sons and one daughter.

How many grandchildren? What are their ages? I have 5 grandchildren, ages 7, 5, 2, 18 months, and 6 months.

Any great grandchildren? Not yet!

What do your grandchildren call you? Grandma Jane

After the initial elation, what was your first concern upon hearing you would soon be a grandmother?
I was in my 50's by then, so I was ready to be a grandma. My one concern was the realization that my generation had become the old folks. How did that happen?

How often do you get to see your grandchildren?
Not nearly as often as I'd like! 4 of them live on the east coast, thousands of miles away. We see them only twice a year, usually for a week each time. My 18 month old granddaughter lives 150 miles away, which is much more manageable. I get to see that little darling at least once a month.

What is the best thing about being a grandma? The hugs and kisses and fun playtimes that we have when we're together are the best. I love seeing the children grow, change, and learn, and I love any opportunity I have to teach them something.  I also love seeing that my kids have grown up to be loving parents, I hope passing on some of the things I taught them to their children.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma?
I have been the caretaker for the grandchildren when new ones come along in their family. I was also the babysitter when my son and his wife went on vacation for a week. In both cases, I was delighted to be trusted with those precious little lives, but also worried about taking good care of them. With my own children, I didn't worry as much.  Caring for young children is also a bit more taxing than it used to be. Age matters more than I like to admit!

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud. My 18 month old granddaughter recently began coughing and hacking violently whenever she saw a cat. We finally realized that she was imitating the "spitting up a hair ball" sound!

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? They are all city kids and I live in the country, so I love taking them out to see the horses, cows, chickens, peacocks, etc. I love baking cookies or cupcakes with them, and going out for short hikes to explore and show them interesting parts of the natural world they haven't seem before.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house?
In the city, we do city things, such as a museum, the zoo, or various shows. Sometimes we go to the beach or play in the park. We fly kites or styrofoam airplanes. We bake goodies. We do crafts. I try to recall things I enjoyed as a child so that they might have new things to experience.

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits?
I write letters. Sometimes we Skype. Phone calls are always good.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren?
I hope I can share my love of and appreciation for nature with them. I hope I can share my love of reading and writing.

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

What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent?
Since I had been anticipating grandmotherhood for years before I actually became a grandma, I had plenty of time to get ready. Still, I had forgotten how precious a little bundle of baby is. Maybe I should have held babies more after mine were grown, so I wouldn't have felt that twinge of insecurity when I first held a grandchild.

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma? My advice is the same as I would give to a new parent. Enjoy those little ones. They grow up so fast! Give them lots of hugs, kisses, and "I love you's", because a child can never have too much love.

Do not miss Janie's blog, Janie and Steve, Utah Trails: Exploring paths less traveled. It's a must-see for those with wanderlust, as well as those who just enjoy awesome photos and equally awesome stories to go with.