The Importance of Being Grandma

Read about being a mother of 12 as our resident 'Supermom' shares her wise parenting advice.

My grandma died when I was a little girl of 5, but I still remember her. Whenever she received a gift, she would save the ribbon. The ribbons were kept in a giant candy box, and kept in a special place just for me. Whenever I would visit her, I would go retrieve 'my' box of ribbons. I just loved feeling the different textures and seeing the array of colors in my collection.

Holidays just weren't the same

My 12 kids had the misfortune of growing up thousands of miles away from their grandparents. Though we had good reasons for living far away, it didn't assuage our guilt for depriving both our parents and our children of an important relationship. The lack was also palpable for me as a mother. I couldn't just pick up the phone every time I needed my mom's advice, and she couldn't bail me out with housework help and childcare when I wasn't feeling well. Holidays just weren't the same without our folks, either.

A fairytale ending

We did our best at forging an absentee relationship between the kids and our parents, but it just wasn't the same. Three of our adult children spent extended time living with our parents and this was wonderful, a kind of better late than never fairytale ending. Our parents were so pleased with the people our kids had become, and we basked in the light of their pleasure.

Today, my two eldest, both daughters, have kids of their own. That makes my seven year old a very young uncle! My phone is ringing off the hook several times a day with one or another of my married daughters seeking my advice on a variety of issues, from teething or possible learning disabilities, to behavioral issues. My daughters may have had their adolescent struggles with me, but they know who to come to when the going gets rough.

My granddaughters know that I'm a grandma who gets down on the floor to play with them. I am unafraid of making silly noises, and am happy to listen to a long, stuttered recitation of a nursery school saga. When I come to their house, I can and do read every book to them that they own, or even read their favorite book to them at least 15 times in a row.

Spoiling them rotten 

My daughters love coming for the weekend and getting a break. I change diapers and spoil my granddaughters rotten.

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