Why, just thinking of him makes me bust out singing: My boy, Ben, he’ll be tough and as tall as a tree, will he! Ben’s truly . . . well, GRAND!
The deficit is mine. And Grandparent’s Day—curse those Holiday Maker-uppers—has me keenly aware of what’s wrong.
When it comes to the whole Granny-Mimi-Nanny-Magah-Oma-Nana-Gigi-Grandmother thing, I’m a Rookie, fledging, novice, newbie, minor-leaguer—definitely lacking in credit and credibility. Especially when compared to friends like Marty with 6 grans (two under 6 months) and 13 years practice; Beverly (whose granny name is Grandmother, as in Would you care to dance. . . ) she's clocked about 8 years experience with both kinds of gran; Marcia, with 3 grands she sees all the time even though they live hours away, and Mimi (not her granny name), with 4 grands—2 sets of each same kind, same age.
Numbers-wise (Not that being a grandmother is a competitive sport or that I’m comparing….), my sis-in-law, Liz (aka Oma) with 2 grangirls, isn’t far ahead of me. Soon (come the end of the year), I’ll have 2 granboys of my own.
But, in terms of time on the field, in the trenches--Play Time--Liz, and my other gran-friends are days-years-diapers-hugs-highlights beyond me. Real Pros!
The other night, coming out of the movie theater, Curtis and I met up with another expat couple we hadn't seen for months, Graham and Kerri. Most every expat in Trinidad vanishes over the summer, so come September, there’s lots of catching up to do. During our catch-up, Kerri, asked, “Have you adjusted to being a grandmother, yet?” then leaned over and whispered, "I know how worried about it you were.”
Worried, me? You bet!
Now, with another grandboy from different parents in a different state, coming soon, make that Gran worryx2!*
Like a 47th round draft pick, I had been stressing over being a grandmother. Still am. Not because I wasn't ready to be one, but because I know great grandparents. And being a great Gran takes commitment, practice, effort, time!
I only had one set of grandparents, my mother’s parents, Nanny & Poppy, who took the job seriously! The time—play and otherwise—they lavished on me and my brother, is the reason we are the adults & parents we are today. (BTW: Wholly deserving of their own holiday.)
However, Nanny & Poppy lived close, in the same house, or a few blocks over for our early years, a day away after that. about 2000 miles, oceans, borders, schedules lie between me and my gran. I can't just pop over for a quick visit, recital, ball game, etc. the way my grandparents did.
Is it any wonder I worry? How are me and my grandbabies supposed to bond with all that's keeping us apart?
When Gran worries hit hardest, as they have with Grandparent's Day--the annual time for Gran self-appraisal--looming, I calm myself by thinking of these Gran-friends, Mom and my 2 mothers-in-law. They never let distance or technological difficulties come between them and their grans.
Grandma Lee called herself "The Coat Grandmother" because she always gave coats for Hanukkah. She could write with either hand, backwards, forwards and both at the same time.
Gramadele is "the Birder Grandmother". Sort of the Auntie Mame of the bunch, always going off on adventures, and laughing about them later.
Having come into the Max and Lexi Gran game when they were 8 & 10, she's proof that starting late doesn't matter. What really counts with grans is heart.
My mom, Grandma Mary, was "the Toy Grandmother." Infamous among friends, known for huge sunglasses and a passion for chocolate!
When the kids were small, she never failed to send goody boxes of decorations & treats on holidays. And every school holiday and summer break, she'd send herself to visit us.
She and Nanny invented what our Watsonville neighbor, Donna (now a Gran to 2--both kinds), called the "30 mile vacation." We'd load up the car for a road trip, 1st stop might not get us out of town, drive over the pass, pull in at the first hotel with a pool (often Anderson's Pea Soup), stay a few nights, then return home. Total trip: 30 miles, tops.
Grandparent's Day is Sunday. In honor of the holiday, I'm getting off this bench and into the Grandparent game. I aim to score some big league Granny-to-Gran bonding time. I've started a HOW TO BE A GREAT GRAN list. Suggestions please:
Let's hear it for Grands!
*How do grans with more than 2 children in different places, do it? (I've asked Marty, just back from the birth of her sixth, but she's too jet lagged to answer.)
Here’s this blog’s playlist:
- I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning from Annie Get Your Gun
- Billy’s Soliloquy from Carousel
- Getting to Know You from The King and I
- Dance Little Sister by Terrance Trent Darby
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