The Next Generation

Two years after they married, my life was changed when Walt and Kathy gave birth to their first child, Jaime Lorraine. I was a grandmother now. Was my friend right, that this was the natural step after motherhood? Not exactly.

There had never been a grandmother in my own growing-up years. Then, as my own children grew, there had been no grandmother nearby. One lived five hours away in New Jersey, while the other was seven hours away in upstate New York. There were no frequent visits, no interaction at frivolous moments, no involvement in responsibility for the children. With that background, I hadn’t a clue just what a grandmother’s role should be.

Still, I knitted for my little grandkids, sewed dresses and made soft sculpture dolls when they were tots. Occasionally, I took each one to some special place. Mostly, though, we gathered together for dinners at our house, where I tried to engage them in meaningful conversation. At their young ages? Not a chance.

It was the second set of grandchildren that clarified the role. Since they live 700 miles away, I’m always in their home on much longer visits, and the family dynamics are entirely different being with them all day.

Maybe the relationships developed more with teaching moments. Always the instructor, I held “Beauty Shop” sessions, where the girls would perhaps become more concerned with their appearance. I took them on woodland hikes to show appreciation for nature, we wrote stories together, celebrated silly things. And more. These were the precious days of being with my young grandchildren. And ultimately, spawned the idea of a book to share these ideas with other grandmas who might be looking for fun activities with their own grandchildren.

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