Grilled Grandma: Grandma Barbara of Sixty Days in Paris and more

grilled grandma barbara

How many children do you have? Four — two daughters and two sons.

How many grandchildren? What are their ages? Six — 13 years old, two 4-year olds, three 2-year olds.

What do your grandchildren call you? Nana.

After the initial elation, what was your first concern upon hearing you would soon be a grandmother? What my mother would think about being a great-grandmother.

How often do you get to see your grandchildren? Only a few times a year.

grilled grandma barbara

What is the best thing about being a grandma? Being removed from the day to day chores of raising them, I can simply enjoy a slower pace with them, spoil them, relish their curiosity and smiles and snuggle, snuggle, snuggle while they’re young enough.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? The amount of time I get to spend with them because of the geographic distance between where I live and where they are.

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud. When the two year old twins, Jack and Lulu, were laughing hysterically as they were being bounced up and down on the trampoline by their four year old sister, Stella, as she jumped and ran around them. Their giggles and delight had me laughing out loud. And it never got old for them. They’d laugh just at the anticipation of her doing it again and again.

grilled grandma barbara

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? Well, when I used to live in a house it was doing things in the kitchen with who was for years my only grandchild, Brooke. One of her favorite things was to help me with the assembly line of making weinerschnitzel. After I’d pounded the meat (which made her laugh) she’d help dip it in flour then egg whites and then bread crumbs before we’d sizzle it in the pan.  And of course, the holiday decorating of sugar cookies, be it for Halloween, Christmas or Easter, which was always colorful, sparkly fun.  Now we live and travel in an RV (have for 3 1/2 years) so I don’t have a house they come to. I go to them.  If they were older, I’d love to take them on the road with us.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house? Go for walks, rock them, read with them, feed them, just be close to them.

What/where has been your favorite family vacation?  We’re all so spread out now. I have four children in four different states, literally from the East Coast to the West Coast; two with children of their own, one single, one married but with no children yet — so the dynamics are so disparate between what their day to day lives are that it’s difficult to get everyone together. Looking back, a favorite family vacation we took that involved a grandchild was when my oldest daughter had Brooke (my 13 year old granddaughter) and my other kids were still in school — we all went up to Breckenridge, Colorado one July. We rented a cabin, jet-skied, hiked, played games, rode bikes, and sat under the stars at night high in the Rockies.

grilled grandma barbara

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? I send them things for their birthdays and holidays, although they’re too young at this point to have that be a bonding experience. With my 13-year old granddaughter — I text her, I write to her, I follow her on Instagram and always try to remind her that she was my first and therefore holds such a special place in my heart. Especially because she was the only child for so long and now there are three others in her family who are little and need so much care from her mother — I don’t want her to feel lost in the shuffle.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? A legacy of being loved and seeing beauty in the world.

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you? Oh boy — this is tough. One word? Wise. Because from my vantage point — I know wisdom is hard won.

What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent? I’m too early in the stages of grand-parenting to know what that will be.

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma? Remind your children that they’re doing a good job parenting and be an encourager to them in their efforts. Being a parent is tough. I find when I support them and tell them I’m proud of them — they tend to come to me for advice (which I always want to give but bobble head until they do).

grilled grandma barbara

Is there anything else you would you like to add about being a grandmother? You know — I just love, love, love the women in my family. I had strong, very different grandmothers. My mother is an independent kind of tough bird. I’m close with and admire my sisters and I adore my daughters and daughter-in-law. I feel that matriarchal pull and strength through the generations — and have had some very real “visits” from both my grandmothers since they’ve passed on, as well as my ex-mother-in-law. So I know that bond extends beyond the grave — that our ancestors watch over and continue to love us and are pulling for us to be the glue that holds our families together. As such, I’m honored to step into the role of grandmother. It’s such a blessing to be enjoyed at this stage of life.

Do you have a website or blog? What is the URL and what is it about? Yes, I have two. I travel a lot and have this dream of returning to Paris for sixty days for my sixtieth birthday because I’ve learned from RV-ing that you experience a place so differently when you can stay a while. So I write about long term travel, soulful travel, Paris and moving toward the things we dream about at  The second blog is, where I write about holistic health, spiritual prosperity and, well, love — because love illuminates everything, doesn’t it?

Do you have other published work you'd like to share (books, articles, etc)?  I’m a freelance writer, having been published multiple times in Spirituality and Health Magazine, both in print and on-line, and have had travel writing and photos published multiple times in the Los Angeles Times. My next piece will be published Sunday, May 1 about a fun/artsy trip I took with a girlfriend to the Oregon Coast. I’ve written for Purple Clover and try, really try, to maintain a writer’s website with clips at

If you would like to be featured as a Grilled Grandma or know of a grandma whom you'd like to nominate to be grilled, please email me with the subject line GRILLED GRANDMA and include the grandma's name and email address. Thank you!