Grilled Grandma: Kay

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 Kay:

How many children do you have? We have three daughters and one son.

How many grandchildren? What are their ages? We have been blessed with four grandchildren and number five, a little boy, is due June 2nd.

Nicole is fifteen.

Kevin is twelve.

Samantha is almost four.

Madelyn is twenty months.

Any great grandchildren? We don't have any great grandchildren.

What do your grandchildren call you? My grandchildren just call me Grandma. Sometimes, our twelve-year-old grandson affectionately calls me Granny. I don't know why.

After the initial elation, what was your first concern upon hearing you would soon be a grandmother? This is a great question. I confess, I was immediately concerned with how I would juggle work and other family responsibilities with spending time with our grandchild. From the beginning, I knew I wanted to help with any childcare that would be needed as my daughter returned to work. As a grandmother, I understood my energy and time would be limited and I wrestled with how to juggle it all.

I had seen a great example of grandmotherly involvement in my maternal grandmother. She did not work and had no other grandchildren. I was fearful I would not live up to all that she was able to do for us. I have since learned to balance my expectations with reality.

How often do you get to see your grandchildren? We are fortunate to live close to all of our grandchildren. It would be rare for us to not see them every week. We try to babysit when we can and to have the families come for dinner so we can spend time just enjoying one another.

What is the best thing about being a grandma? This is a difficult question because I love the totality of what it means to be a grandma. The opportunity to share in the lives of my children's children is a gift and a privilege and I hope to make the most of it. I probably most enjoy our conversations. My grandchildren are all very interesting people and I love the times we can sit and talk without being rushed.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? Energy! How I wish I had more energy. There are so many things I want to do with my grandchildren, but I must remind myself to be realistic about what I can do.

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud. I babysit the two youngest girls every Friday. Madelyn, the twenty month old, loves to clean up. If I can't find my shoes when I leave their house it is probably because Maddi has lined them up with the other shoes in the closet. When we play with play doh, she is always picking up after her older sister. Maddi still uses a pacifier. One day, when I got her up from her nap, she took her binky over to a table and put it next to another one. She organizes her binkies!

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? We love food and enjoy cooking and eating new things. We also enjoy games and walks around our neighborhood. Our older grandkids just love coming to our house to hang out and we don't need to do anything special at all.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house? When we visit our younger grandchildren, we often go for walks or to the park. In the summer we spend a lot of time blowing bubbles or using sidewalk chalk. In the winter, we pretend so many things. Just last week our 3 1/2 year old had a wedding in the living room. She wore a princess dress and tiara and carried some silk flowers. It was adorable. Sometimes, we take flashlights into the basement and play in a little, pink tent. We imagine we are camping and making s'mores.  There is nothing like imaginative play.

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? All of our grandchildren live very close. However, as the two oldest become more involved in other activities, we try to be intentional about keeping that bond strong. We send each other notes on the internet and make frequent phone calls. We also plan special days here and there so that we can just be together.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? I hope to play a role in helping my grandchildren become mature and responsible adults. I also hope to see them become creative people who love life. Most importantly, I hope to pass along my faith so that my grandchildren will have Someone to turn to in times of trouble. It is faith that gets us through the hard times and I want my grandchildren to have the strength that comes with faith.

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you? My initial reaction is that I hope my grandkids will think of the word love. Someone has said that every child deserves to know there is someone who is crazy about them. Throughout my childhood and adolescence I was certain of this one thing: my grandparents were crazy about me. I hope that my grandchildren will experience great love in our family and know for a certainty that I am absolutely crazy about them.

What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent? You don't have to bake cookies to be a good grandma. You don't have to be rich or talented. You just need to be loving and available.

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma? Have fun. Be yourself. Don't compare yourself to other grandmothers. Use the best of who YOU are to enrich the lives of your grandchildren.

Do you have a website or blog? What is it about? I have a fun grandma blog, Our blog is meant to be an encouragement to grandmothers who are trying to balance work, aging parents, health concerns or just busyness with their desire to spend time with grandkids. We also want to encourage grandmothers about their unique role in guiding their grandchildren spiritually. Our blog has recipes, articles, fun ideas,self-care tips, book lists and links to other grandmother websites. I hope you will visit soon.

I also have written a Kindle book for grandmothers, One Endless Line of Faith: 30 Days of Prayer for Our Grandchildren.

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!