A Shoutout to Grandparents
By Diana Y. Paul
There are now 70 million grandparents in the US. So let’s celebrate Grandparents Month in September and Grandparents Day on September 11, with a shoutout to our grandkids and to us! Or, if you are the grandkids reading this, note the feelings many of us grandparents share: “If we knew grandkids would be so much fun, we’d have had them first.”
Those of us lucky enough to be grandparents remember our own grandmothers knitting, aprons, house dresses and the mouth-watering smells of old-fashioned cooking wafting from the kitchen. A lot has changed.
As Baby Boomers we are living longer, healthier, more active and dynamic lives than at any other time in history. Some of us have even taken up another career in retirement or are still working. We ourselves are growing and evolving!
We are searching for a new role model for grandparenting too. An entire industry has developed including websites: (grandparenteffect.com, grandparents.com, grand.com, aarp.org, babycentral.com), lists of international names for grandmother and grandfather on the Internet, how-to books, novels, grandparents’ daily routine (grandmasbriefs.com), product marketing (marketingsherpa.com, grandparentmarketing.com),movies (“Grandma”, “Parental Guidance” and classics “Homecoming” and “Parenthood”), and specialized travel tours with grandkids (roadscholaradventures.com). There are even websites for grandparenting when there are estranged adult children (invisiblegrandparenting.com).
In addition, electronic devices allow texting and FaceTime or Skype for convenient long-distance communication with the younger family members face-to-face and in real time!
Grandparenting is so different from parenting: a first-run, learn-as-you-go set of experiences for many of us. Today’s grandparents offer grandchildren a broader range of knowledge, emotions and experience with a safe, trusted place as a second home, and for some grandkids their primary home.
This is the time to be a little more playful as we watch these marvelous amazing little (or older) boys and girls exude such joy, vibrance, energy and curiosity as they explore a world for the first time. And with that playfulness we grandparents can share, as if we were students, recapturing that exuberance. It is an amazing and transformative experience—being exposed to life anew—to being a teacher with unconditional love and empowerment for one’s children’s children as well as being a student of a time past and nearly forgotten. My two favorite children’s books, “How to Babysit a Grandma” and “How to Babysit a Grandpa” will get you into a riotously funny and playful mood.
The simplest acts can become magical with a little wizardry thrown in—as grandparents play some small role in observing and participating in their own children’s parenting—a multigenerational adventure. Just as no one is a perfect parent, no one is a perfect grandparent but the ride is incredibly delightful!
About the Author – Diana Y. Paul
Diana Y. Paul is an author and also a grandmother to one-year old Isla and three-year old Izzy. Born in Akron, Ohio, she is a graduate of Northwestern University, with degrees in psychology and philosophy, and of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a PhD in Buddhist Studies. Her debut novel, Things Unsaid has been ranked #2 in the “Top 14 Books about Families Crazier Than Yours”, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and is the winner of the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Award for New Adult Fiction. One of the main characters in Things Unsaid is a narcissistic mother who has a second chance as a grandmother.
A former Stanford University professor, she is also the author of three books on Buddhism. Women in Buddhism (University of California Press) has been translated into Japanese and German. Her short stories have appeared in a number of literary journals and she is currently working on a second novel, A Perfect Match. Diana lives in Carmel, CA with her husband, Doug, and their white-and-grey calico, Mao. They enjoy visiting their two adult children, Maya Miller ( San Francisco) and Keith Paul (Los Angeles) and grandchildren whenever they can. In her spare time, Diana is a mixed media artist and has exhibited in California, Hawaii, and Japan.
Author of Things Unsaid (She Writes Press, October 2015)
WINNER of best New Adult Fiction, Beverly Hills Book Awards for 2016
author website: www.dianaypaul.com