Grilled Grandma: Carmen

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 Carmen:

How many children do you have? I have four children, all boys, ages 22-29.

How many grandchildren? What are their ages? Up until December 17th, 2011, I had two grandchildren: Kai (3) and Lauryn (1). However, one of my sons recently married a girl with 3 children: Haylie (13), Heidi (10), and Ethan (8, almost 9), so now I have five beautiful grandchildren!!

Any great grandchildren? Oh no, I’m much, much too young. ;)

What do your grandchildren call you? Grandma

After the initial elation, what was your first concern upon hearing you would soon be a grandmother? That I would know how to be a Grandma! I immigrated to Canada when I was 6, so I grew up without any extended family.

How often do you get to see your grandchildren? I babysat Kai and Lauryn about 4 days a week for a while, but now I see them once or twice a week on average. Haylie, Heidi and Ethan live in Fort McMurray, Alberta (I’m in B.C.), so I don’t get to see them as much.

What is the best thing about being a grandma? Just being able to spend time with them! I think when you’re a Grandma you can just enjoy them more. I teach them little songs with actions, make things with them, etc. I did this with my own kids too, but it was kind of busy at the time. I tried to write some of those precious moments down when I remembered to.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? I would say that it’s being a grandma from a distance—since my one son and his wife live so far away! However the time we do get with their kids is very precious because of its scarcity!

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud. A recent conversation - Kai (2 at the time) to Lauryn, “Come here bean...come with me...come on honey.”

My 8 yr old grandson is such a free spirit. The other day a bunch of us were sitting in the kitchen when he nonchalantly sauntered down the stairs in a big white towel, in the buff. We all laughed! His response? “What?”

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? I tend to feed them, but then I tend to want to feed everyone! It’s fun to watch them play, and sometimes they just say the cutest things! I also like to do crafty things with the older kids. Recently the girls and I made a bunch of different glycerine soaps of various shapes and scents. We had so much fun! Another time we made a scrapbook album from scratch.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house? Well, there are so many things! We play hide and seek, which they love. I carry Lauryn with me and Kai either finds us or hides on us. When he gets close to our hiding place, we’ll jump out and I’ll say ‘BOO’. Kai loves it.

Sometimes I hide something of his, and he has to find it. He likes to tell me where to hide it first though, so it’s easy to

We like to challenge each other to a duel, take 10 paces in the opposite direction and then pretend to shoot each other with pretend waterguns. Well, you know...he is a boy!

I also read to them and I love to bring the kids my delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies!

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? Once in a while we talk on the phone. Mostly Kai...he likes to tell me about his mishaps. “Grandma? Yes, Kai? I fall down and hurt my bum” Lol...

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? A strong sense of moral values.

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you? Affection...or Fun...or both. (I know, I know, I don’t follow instruction well.)

What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent? To relax!

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma? As the grandmother of a son’s child, it can be difficult to know when to help and when to back off. What I'm learning, and my advice? Just be yourself and relax!

Do you have a website or blog? What is it about? I have two blogs. My craft blog Beyond The Fringe Crafts features free digital stamps and vintage graphics, cards and various crafts. I also have an inspirational blog, Bubbling Springs and Random Things, that focuses on the bible and eschatology, and reflects some personal thoughts.

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!