What Profound Changes Happened When You Became A Grandparent?

grandparent with grandchild

We asked readers of GRAND Magazine to share with us some of the profound changes that took place in their lives when they became a grandparent.  The following are some of the responses.  Enjoy!

Grandparent, Christine Crosby, Editorial Director for GRAND - The Magazine for GRANDparents & Their Families with grandchildren.

Christine Crosby, Editorial Director for GRAND Magazine with grandchildren

Grandparent, Jack Phflug   

In 1991, I had retired early from my job because I was going through a period of depression. That same year, my son was in the Air Force, serving in Desert Storm. And that same year, my only grandchild, Brianna, was born. My grand-daughter entered the world at a time that I needed her most. Because her parents were trying to improve their financial situation, I decided to become Brianna’s caregiver.
Because my wife was still working, there were some concerns about the extra stress of caring for a baby, along with the fears about my son being in a war zone. But as I found out, caring for Brianna would be enough to replace the depression in my life. Besides having a daily companion, my focus had changed now that I was responsible for helping a precious little one through her formative years. And she was treatment for me that doctors and medicine could never have provided–my balm of Gilead.

 

Grandparent, Laurie Emerson    

I had forgotten that there is so much beauty in the little things of life until I had my grandchildren. My 8 year old grandson is Autistic and through his eyes I was able to see a whole new world. I saw weeding our garden as a chore but he saw it as a chance to feel the soft new soil and enjoy the warmth on our backs. I saw raking leaves as an afternoon of hard work and he saw it as a giant pillow of color to jump in and just laugh and feel like a kid again His world has become my world and I will never again look at the world of old tired eyes.

 

Grandparent, Granny Lunceford    

I am a grandmother that is helping to raise my grandson. I never dreamed that I would have to do this. My son and his girlfriend had a son together in 2011. They never married and finally split up. My grandsons name is Jaimen and he is like a breath of fresh air in my life. He loves his grandfather better than anyone. It seems to be a lot harder to raise a child when you are older. This seems to be the norm anymore and is very sad. I would not take a million dollars for him. He had whopping cough when he was two months old. I thank the Lord every day for him and the sunshine he has brought into mine and my husband’s life.

 

Grandparent, Tammy Ruggles    

Before becoming a grandparent, I always thought I’d like be one someday, but wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming feelings of joy, nurture, and fulfillment that came with it. I thought I’d already given the best of myself to my son when I raised him, as a single parent (his dad died in an auto accident when he was 10). Not that I thought I would be empty of those things. I just thought I’d feel them in lesser measure. Little did I know! My two grand babes (as I call them) are the heart and light of my life. Just when I began to miss the days of running around the yard with my little boy, I was blessed to be able to do it all over again with my grand babes. They are little pieces of him, and of the grandpa they never knew.

 

Grandparent, Tonya Jackson  

I became a Grandma at the age of 45. At first I didn’t know how to deal with it. I had just reached the age where my youngest child could be left home alone. I was ready to do my thing! So there was a period of adjustment that had to occur, mainly because it was my youngest child who made me a grandma. I didn’t know whether to feel ashamed or proud.

Once I saw my granddaughter it was very clear to me. I would be the proudest grandma ever. She was 2lbs at birth and her life was not promised to us so we prayed and held on to our faith.

Today, Naveyah is a bright, smart and thriving 6 year old. Because she was such a blessing to us, I encourage her to be a blessing to others. So we started Naveyah’s Reading Room. Our goal is to inspire kid’s passion to read. It’s in the beginning stages but Naveyah is very excited about helping kids learn to read.

All I have to say to all of you is “There is something special about the relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild” and I am loving every moment of it.

 

Nana Joni Simpson

Becoming a Grandparent has been such a blessing to me in countless ways. I have been disabled causing crippling pain and chronic fatigue for 18 years now, unable to work or even get out of bed some days. I find that my 2 grandgirls bring SOOO much joy & happiness into my life and provide the distraction needed to forget my health problems, even if it’s just temporarily. I must plan ahead making sure to allow for rest time prior to visiting or babysitting, as well as scheduling plenty of R&R afterwards.

I’ve even babysat while my daughter and son-in-law have gone away for a few days. Each time I come home and collapse into bed to recuperate, an exhausted and painful wreck; but while I’m there they’re so much fun and we love each other so much that it is all worth it! I just love that we are so close and that when I’m staying with them both the 2 and 6 year olds call me ‘Nana-Momma’~ that just melts my heart!

You see, I had always wanted at least six children but due to health problems was told for years that I could never have any children.When I became unexpectedly expecting with my daughter in 1982 I was told that I couldn’t carry her full term (which I did), would miscarry (which I didn’t), and wouldn’t be able to have her naturally (which I also did). So you can see how much I’ve cherished my own Miracle Baby; now she’s given me two sweet, smart, beautiful and amazing babies to love ~ for that I will always be grateful.
I love my grand sweeties more than life itself; they bring so much JOY, FUN, SNUGGLES, LAUGHS & LOVE into our lives!! When we’re making couch forts, doing special crafts, drawing & painting, playing hide-and-seek, dressing up and pulling out the musical instruments and putting on kinderconcerts, or even just snuggling up watching a movie during one of my ‘bad’ days, it all helps for us to bond as well as distract me from my illnesses.

My two grandchildren mean the world to my husband (Papa) and I, and they make our world so much brighter! There’s a saying that states “You don’t know how much love your heart can hold until someone calls you Nana”! We are blessed!

Grandparent, Barbara Byrd   

Many of us like to feel we are in control of our environment, but as we continue on this journey called life, we begin to see that there is much that is not in our control. Becoming a grandparent 11 years ago reinforced this truth in ways I did not expect.

My daughter, Rebecca was only 18 when my grandson, Isaiah, was born. She did marry Isaiah’s father, but it was a tumultuous relationship from the beginning and, they soon went their separate ways. Rebecca needed a lot of help from me, but what she was not willing to accept was my well-intentioned counsel. Although I never doubted my daughter’s love for my grandson, she was still a teenager and could be thoughtless and selfish.

Everybody tells you what a blessing it is to be a grandparent, but I seldom heard how heart rending it can be when you feel they are not being loved and nurtured the way you would do it. You love them as much as if they were your children, but they are not. My daughter was strong willed, and I had to walk a fine line between my concern for Isaiah and what she would tolerate in the way of advice, so that I could continue to be his anchor without alienating her or making her feel judged, which could result in her withholding him from me for periods of time.

I never wanted to take on a parental role in Isaiah’s life, but it was a real balancing act. He told me he never wanted to leave me, and he asked if he could call me mommy. More than once he said “You are so nice to me.” Rebecca is in her late twenties now. She is still not the warm and fuzzy mom I would prefer her to be, but her personality has mellowed with time. She also married a man who calls Isaiah his son, and together they are raising him and his younger sister. Rebecca is happy with her husband, and that tempers her cool personality as well. However, Isaiah still loves to spend weekends at my house, and our bond has remained intact.

There is still a big difference in the “parenting” philosophies of my daughter and me, and that will, likely, never change. What has changed is my ability to recognize that my daughter loves differently than I do and that children are resilient. Perhaps there are things she is doing right in her more firm approach. I have to say that discipline was never my strong suite even with my own four kids. My connection with God is also invaluable in my ability to let go of the situation and realize that God loves my grandson even more than I do regardless of the changes in his life and my own.

Grandparent, Mr. Happy Moyers   

When my “grand” kids became “grand” teens, I made this promise to them and I try to keep this promise for them: I promise to love, care, listen, encourage, and forgive you; I promise to be honest, be happy, be healthy, be humble, and give time to you; I promise to ask good questions, give good answers, and pray for you; I promise to control my words, admit my mistakes and shortcomings, trust God, and be like Jesus each day.. Then I told them the truth about life. Be like Jesus to everyone. See Jesus in everyone. Teach others how to be like Jesus by what you say and what you do. Love to all “grand” kids everywhere.

 

Grandparent, Mema Welze   

Many of us like to feel we are in control of our environment, but as we continue on this journey called life, we begin to see that there is much that is not in our control. Becoming a grandparent 11 years ago reinforced this truth in ways I did not expect.

My daughter, Rebecca was only 18 when my grandson, Isaiah, was born. She did marry Isaiah’s father, but it was a tumultuous relationship from the beginning and, they soon went their separate ways. Rebecca needed a lot of help from me, but what she was not willing to accept was my well-intentioned counsel. Although I never doubted my daughter’s love for my grandson, she was still a teenager and could be thoughtless and selfish.

Everybody tells you what a blessing it is to be a grandparent, but I seldom heard how heart rending it can be when you feel they are not being loved and nurtured the way you would do it. You love them as much as if they were your children, but they are not.

My daughter was strong willed, and I had to walk a fine line between my concern for Isaiah and what she would tolerate in the way of advice, so that I could continue to be his anchor without alienating her or making her feel judged, which could result in her withholding him from me for periods of time. I never wanted to take on a parental role in Isaiah’s life, but it was a real balancing act. He told me he never wanted to leave me, and he asked if he could call me mommy. More than once he said “You are so nice to me.”

Rebecca is in her late twenties now. She is still not the warm and fuzzy mom I would prefer her to be, but her personality has mellowed with time. She also married a man who calls Isaiah his son, and together they are raising him and his younger sister. Rebecca is happy with her husband, and that tempers her cool personality as well. However, Isaiah still loves to spend weekends at my house, and our bond has remained intact. There is still a big difference in the “parenting” philosophies of my daughter and me, and that will, likely, never change.

What has changed is my ability to recognize that my daughter loves differently than I do and that children are resilient. Perhaps there are things she is doing right in her more firm approach. I have to say that discipline was never my strong suite even with my own four kids. My connection with God is also invaluable in my ability to let go of the situation and realize that God loves my grandson even more than I do regardless of the changes in his life and my own.

 

Grandparent, Name withheld by request

I was a grandmother, until I wasn’t. My eldest granddaughter came into my life when she was five, and she lived with my spouse and me on and off all her life. My middle granddaughter won my heart as a 28 week preemie whose early entrance terrified us all. By the time she moved in with us full time at 20 months, she was thriving physically and had stayed with us often enough that the “Night Night Song”/”Hush Little Baby Song” would put her to sleep after being sung just two times instead of twenty; the “Horsey Song” (otherwise known as “Stewball”) wouldn’t become her favorite until she was 3. The youngest was born when her older sisters were 1 and 7, just before my marriage became irreparably damaged.

I was their grandmother – and in the case of the middle child, her primary parent – for all or most of their lives, and yet because we didn’t share DNA, I had no right to even ask the courts to consider letting me see them, when my ex decided to punish me for my refusal to stay in a badly broken marriage by refusing to let me see the kids.

I see them every few months, when my ex gives in to the middle grandchild’s pleadings to see me. They are no longer allowed to call me “Abuela” in my ex’s presence.

My heart bursts with missing them every single day. Their pictures cover my walls, my Facebook page, my phone and computer wallpapers. They are being forced out of my life, but they will never leave my heart. They will be my grandchildren forever.

Grandparent, Kerry Bennett

What changed when I first became a grandmother? PINK! As the mother of four sons, the color pink never got much of a foothold in our family. One time, in an attempt to establish a more feminine space in our busy household, I painted the master bedroom pink. Give kudos to my husband for going along with the spontaneous outburst. The color transformation, however, was short-lived. It didn’t feel authentic in a house strewn with hockey sticks, building blocks and superhero action figures.

But when our first grandchild — a granddaughter — made her way into the world, pink became very authentic. Wrapped in a little pink blanket with only her tiny face and a wisp of curl on the top of her head peeking out, she looked perfect in pink. The gentle color gave a soft blush to her cheeks and an aura of softness.

She was oh-so-small when she arrived, a little earlier than she should of. But she was greeted by family and friends bearing packages wrapped up in ribbons and bows — most of them pink. As she grew out of one set of pink sleepers and into the next size, our little granddaughter was followed by three more granddaughters. Each one is equally gifted at charming their fathers, grandpa and uncles.

I still love hockey sticks and basketballs, building blocks and superheroes. But I also love the addition of baby dolls, princess puzzles, tea parties and girly dress-up clothes. Being a mother of boys is great, but nothing is tenderer than watching those boys, now grown men, cradle their own little bundles dressed in pink.

 

Grandparent, Lynda Gavelis    

Being a grandparent had a very big effect on my life. My oldest daughter, Briana, had our first grandchild 6 1/2 years ago. We lived in California and Briana lived in Georgia. As the pregnancy progressed we made plans for me to fly to GA for the birth. Briana learned she was having a girl and we were all excited.

My husband and I owned a small business in CA. We made plans for someone to work with my husband while I was gone. I ended up leaving a little sooner for GA because the doctor decided to induce labor before the due date. Then I ended up staying longer because I did not want to leave my precious new granddaughter. I think I was in GA about 6 weeks.

When I arrived back in GA my husband told me that if he ever wanted to see me we would need to sell our business and move to GA. He figured I would be flying to GA often to see our little Katie. We put our business and our home up for sale. Our business sold but our home didn’t. On a wing and a prayer with no jobs in GA and our home in CA unsold we moved to GA.

We have a very happy ending! We bought a house in GA, rented our home in CA and my husband ended up with a great job. My daughter has had another child, a little girl again named Emma. My younger daughter and her husband moved to GA two years ago from CA and lived with us for 1 1/2 years, bought a home of their own and Elena and Nick had a little boy 4 months ago and his name is Clark. My youngest son moved to GA a little over a year ago, he is single, no children.

So, our hearts are full and we now have 3 wonderful grandchildren and are enjoying being grandparents very much. Who would have thought one little baby would have such a big impact on so many lives!

 

Grandparent, Konkolo Talaktochoba  

it is good to learn you will live forever…worth never being in the lives of your child and grandchild, if they keep their peace of mind; such is the wrath of your child’s mom to keep your child from you most of their life, and now holds her help with the first grandchild ransom to see I’m not in my grandchild’s life; my crime? leaving for another woman–but after losing my job, home, 60 lbs and very nearly my mind because of my ex, I was leaving anyway, proud I’m the first man in six generations never to beat or buy a woman–and my son the second; such is the price to live forever…the price of peace, one any father would pay for his children or grandchildren, one once paid your son never has to, one I would pay thrice again, for a man without pride is nothing, but a man without honour is less than nothing. And now my honour is to live forever, my pride must pay for it, not my son his; he twice the man I could ever hope to be, so will make our family whole again when I am grass his grandchildren play upon; I am your grandfather; remember me.

 

Grandparent, Angie Mangino     

The tune of Imagine played softly, as lights twinkled on the plush star mobile in the bassinet. Thanks to a retro return to the sixties, I found this in the John Lennon Baby Collection in 2006 for my first grandchild.

Gino stared sleepily at the blinking lights. The smile on his face as he drifted into dreamland captured my heart. I was unprepared for the depth of love I experience with this child.

Promoted to the status of Grandma, I was overwhelmed with all I wanted for this precious little boy. I anticipated passing on to him all of the accumulated knowledge I acquired over the years. Never did I expect how this innocent child would be the one to teach me so much!

Having raised three children, I knew the importance of routine in their lives. Sure, children can go with the flow occasionally, as was the passion of the sixties, adaptable to so many new things. Yet what makes for a secure child is an overall pattern of stability.

So whenever Gino is here, I made sure to establish a routine at Grandma’s house to give Gino that security, a much easier task freed from the hectic 24 hours, 7 days a week, ongoing onslaught of raising children. I now had more patience to share this with my grandchild.

After seeing his comfort with our routines for these past seven years, an astounding thought hit me. I realized that this routine I established for my grandchild, a growing and changing one as he grew and changed, gave me security, too. Life is now less chaotic, a source of comfort for me, bringing with it an inner peace that I chased while younger, but never quite grasped before this.

Thanks, Gino, for teaching Grandma so much!

 

Grandparent, Grandma D Markland   

I became a grandmother 5 times. A great grandmother 7 times. And since my oldest GG is 22 and I am 88 and in good health, it is likely I will become a great-great grandmother.

Being a grandmother meant travel to me, because none of my family lives near me. And it meant staying on to help, because I remember how much a new mother needs someone to say “Go rest. I’ll change and bring the baby to you when he wakes. (And I’ll have the clothes folded and dinner in the oven) When other babies came so did I, to tend the sweet little new one, but even more important to play with the brothers and sisters, to bake cookies for them, share their awe and hear their stories. And it meant watching my own children grow in wisdom as they became parents.

Being a great grandmother meant stepping back and taking in the big picture, enjoying not chasing the children (now they came to me, for hugs and stories), not setting rules, not teaching. Just loving. And loving watching my children grow as new grandparents.

But a major part of my experience has been sharing these things with my husband as he became grandpa and great grandpa. Grandpa always had treats for them, and coins. He listened to them and sometimes conspired to help them with their wildest plans. With Grandpa I went to baptisms, ballgames, recitals, school plays, graduations, and weddings. And through it all we were the ones who were learning.

My mother used to hold a new infant, looking into its eyes, and saying “Oh my dear, you have so much to learn.” This grandma cuddles a new infant and lovingly says “Oh my dear, we have so much to learn from you.

PLEASE SHARE YOUR STORY WITH US - ccrosby@grandmagazine.com

 

 

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