Recently, on a video app, my sisters and I were talking about what makes a great-grandma. The topic came up because one of my sisters has been accused of not being a good grandmother. It’s odd too because she is one of the coolest.
It’s Gotta Be Candy!
This sister has a candy drawer. Yea, a whole drawer. It is the lowest drawer so any kid can reach it. All the neighborhood kids and her class at church know about the drawer. They all come regularly and get stuff from the drawer. The drawer doesn’t have rules.
She is also a fun grandma. She jokes around with her grandkids all the time. Her word of endearment to them is DORK. I know, doesn’t seem like a great choice of words but the grands get it. It means “You are one of the BEST!”
And she is just plain silly. She laughs a lot and does and says goofy stuff to her grandkids. They seem to adore her. So why do her kids think she isn’t a great-grandma. Well, she doesn’t babysit. At least not very often. She makes feasts and invites everyone over. She visits the homes of her grandkids regularly, like weekly. She is there, with the candy drawer, whenever one of the grands needs a listening ear. Her grandkids think she is the BEST! But she doesn’t babysit!
Hence the conversation about what is a great grandma or grandpa for that matter. Let me tell you about my other sisters and their grandmotherly qualities.
No, It’s Babysitting, Right!
I have a sister who does babysit. She babysits whenever she isn’t working, and she works a lot. She is still young and so she has a fulltime job. But when she isn’t working, she is usually babysitting. Sometimes it’s at her child’s home but mostly it’s at her home. She keeps doing her stuff and the kids play. She kisses owies. She answers dozens of questions. She gives hugs. She makes good snacks. She carries on with her work and her grands carry on, noise and mess all over the place. Her grandkids think she is the BEST!
No, Really, Its Praise!
Another sister of mine has a brain injury. That has complicated her life a lot. However, some of her grandchildren live with her. Others are close by and they come and visit regularly. She does babysit now and then. She bakes treats. She hugs and kisses. But here is her greatest grandmother strength. She talks about her grandkids all the time. She talks about them in glowing terms. They are the brightest. They are beautiful. They are talented. They hear her do all this talking, and they know she means it and they know what she says is true. They think she is the BEST grandma!
Odds Are, It’s the Pool!
Another sister lives in sunny Arizona. She has a pool. Her grandkids love to come and swim. She will even get in with them now and then. She has three grandkids that live with her. She drives them to school and picks them up. She keeps her annoyance at bay which isn’t always easy. She answers tons of questions and teaches life lessons. For her other grands, she has great family events. She makes good food and decorates. She writes letters to the far away grands. They all think she is the BEST!
Gotta Be This – Build Your House for the Grands!
My youngest sister is quite different. She is so invested in the whole grandmother thing. She sends wonderful gifts. She gets her grands together regularly and they go camping. When she and her husband built their home, they built it with the grands in mind. There are nooks and crannies just for them. They celebrate all the holidays together. She bakes. She cooks. She cuddles and hugs and kisses. Her grands think she is the BEST grandma.
Wanna Be the Best – Just Have Everything!
And what about me? Well, I live with four of my grandkids. Don and I babysit a lot because one of them has severe cerebral palsy and we know what to do. We share all our stuff. It’s inevitable when you live with your grands because they come and borrow everything. Getting it back can be an issue. LOL
I hug and kiss but it not my main thing. My great claim to fame is having everything they need. You name it. An old toothbrush, a toilet paper tube, an old medicine bottle, crayons, new markers, white-out. Anything. I also make treats. I teach life lessons. I don’t yell much. That’s a biggie. I go to visit my other grands. I send them messages on a video app. I sing and tell stories on the app. I write letters. In fact, I am known as the gum grandma and every letter and card contains gum. Even if you’re over 18 there is gum. I have a candy jar. You can get in it once a day. This grandma has rules.
I am a strict grandma but loving. I have boundaries. My grandkids know where the lines are. But despite that, my grandkids think I am the BEST grandma.
Here are the stories of six grandmothers. We are all so different. Some are soft. Some are sharp. Some buy gifts. Some give gum. Some are close and some far away. Some hug and kiss a lot and some do it less often. Some take their grands on special outings and some spend most of the time with them at home. Some babysit and some don’t.
Finally, We Got It. BE THERE!!
But in every case, the grands think their brand of a grandmother is the best. Why. What is the common denominator among the six? It’s simple. They are THERE. The best grandmothers and grandfathers are there. They can be counted on to be present when it matters.
It isn’t what we do or where we take kids. It isn’t the candy jar or drawer. It’s not the gifts. It’s being there!