Grilled Grandma: Linda

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 Linda:

How many grandchildren do you have? What are their ages? I have four grandchildren: Andrew Michael (9), Lauren Grace (5), Grace Carolyn (5), and Payton Elizabeth (3).

What do your grandchildren call you? Grandkids call me “Grandma.” I don’t care for “grandma nicknames.”

How often do you get to see your grandchildren? Andrew & Lauren live with their parents in Beaverton, Oregon and I live in St. Louis, MO. However, we manage to see them 2 or 3 times each year for several days each visit. Grace and Payton live with their parents nearby, so we see them 2 or 3 days each week.

What was your biggest concern upon learning you were to become a grandma? I was very happy to learn I was going to be a grandma when Andrew was born. His parents had been married for 4 years, and I was 56 years old. My biggest concern with all the grandkids is growing up in a world filled with so much turmoil and uncertainty. Although, history has a way of teaching us that the world and mankind remains pretty much the same – just with newer technology.

What is the best thing about being a grandma? The best thing about being a grandparent is teaching and influencing the kids based on my life experiences, and growing up in a different time. I would like to instill in them some of the “old fashioned” ways to go along with the “new fashioned” ways.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? The most challenging part of being a grandparent is understanding the large generation gap between me and the kids. I do make every effort to bridge the gap as much as possible though, and accept the gap as reality and a natural and good thing.

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud. The grandkids make me laugh all the time. Once Lauren came into the living room ready for bed wearing her horse theme nightgown and included her pink cowgirl boots I had given her last Christmas and pink cowgirl hat. The kids do say “the darndest” things all the time which makes me laugh.

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? When the kids are visiting our house I enjoy getting out old toys that belonged to their mothers (I have two daughters). I saved Barbie dolls, Barbie jeep and horse trailer, My Little Ponies and their stable. Recently we got out the old Lite Brite and there were still some unused pictures which were the Smurfs theme. I also have a large collection of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans memorabilia in a bedroom. I let the kids play with those items and encourage their questions and interest. They are pretty careful not to play too rough with some items so they don’t break, but that is my decision as I really want them to make that special connection with my childhood (and adulthood).

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house? When we are visiting their house I enjoy them showing me their old and new toys and games. Andrew has been taking piano lessons and I enjoy hearing him practice songs. He and I also share a love of baseball (St. Louis Cardinals). It is a special thrill for me to play catch with my grandson. He may not think it too cool to play catch with grandma much longer though.  My husband and I met the Oregon family in Disneyland last March for a few days, and we had a great time being young and old kids.

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? Between visits with the two kids on the west coast we talk on the telephone occasionally, and hear from their mother on e-mail or Facebook about their school and extra-curricular activities – including pictures (many pictures).

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? I would like to pass along to the grandkids “appreciation” – for their families and the many opportunities they have. Also, the Golden Rule is one that never goes out of style!

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you? One word I would choose when the grandkids think of me – “interesting” (not dull or boring). I want them to enjoy being and talking with me.

What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent? I am still learning and don’t think I have made many mistakes as a grandparent (unlike many mistakes as a parent). I try to be helpful with them and their parents, but not overbearing.

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma? Just enjoy every moment you have with the kids. Don’t put too much pressure on them or yourself for perfection. We are truly blessed!

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!