Quest to Earn Glam’Ma Cred – With This Grandparent name
By Terri Hill
For Sheila Williams-Stinson
Glamourous – beautiful, attractive, lovely, bewitching, enchanting, dazzling, elegant, chic, stylish, fashionable, More…charming, charismatic, appealing, alluring, seductive, classy
Before the word became a thing, my mom was the first Glam’Ma I knew. Sheila was everything. She gave you all of the above, plus sophistication, a good vibe, mmm…food, sharp taste, memories, clean house, hair check, nails check, everything check. Never overdone; always “the most” in any setting. When you saw her, your guard fell; it just happened. She had a career, she was a boss. With her, it was done. She was a feeling! Authenticity was captured in her smile. You could talk to my mother. With ma days were breezy, even in difficult times. She had it, and convinced loved ones (everyone she knew) that they had her; that she was there for them; that they mattered; that she’d never let them down. Before the term ride-or-die was a thing, Sheila was one.
Since my mother set the bar high, I stop short of designating myself a Glam’Ma. When I hear others throwing it out there casually, in my brain, Katt Williams’ voice asks, “Are you even the least bit enchanting?” In many cases, they’re not, but I get it. We feel too fabulous to be Grandma. Even so, I think Glam’Ma cred is an earned distinction. We can’t wake up, put on a Glam-ma t-shirt and suddenly, we are. There are levels to the throne. It’s a distinction we should strive for. Want to get there? Here are some of Sheila’s practices re-mixed.
Pre-Work (Be Appealing)
The first thing to do is decide what grandchildren (Grands) will call us. Leave it to them; we could end up with Fats. Fats is ok, if spelled PHATs, or if we’re seeking easy to say. But dig deep – find a name that’s you. And, be reasonable. I like the name Veronique, but it’s random. Not Glam’Ma name. I chose Ya-Ya – a form of the Swahili word for Grandmother (Nya-Nya) that connects me with my African roots. Could’ve used Nya-Nya, but how would a 2-year-old say it? My mother hated GranMaw, the name we called her mother. It sounded broken and lacked polish, so she went with Granny. A Clampett!? Whatever the name, it has to be one we can stomach hearing over, and over (repeat). With our name, we can proceed.
Now ladies, our route will be diametrically opposed to that of our foremothers. They spent too much time posted up in kitchens, in check-out lanes at grocery stores, fingering racks at retail chains, and OMG, they hand-washed dishes, and routinely wrote checks. We can get their results without taking that road. So, I introduce Level 1on the quest.
Level 1 – Remix the Mundane (Be Dazzling)
Don’t spend time with Grands doing humdrum tasks like shopping. Humdrum is a bad word in the Glam’Ma vocab. Stores aren’t for children. We shouldn’t expect them to behave while we walk aisles and stand in line. Shop before their visits. Take advantage of Wal-Mart online; they take your list, pick the food, and bring it to your car. We can get creative and set up monthly pickups withour Grand’s favorite snacks; or make a recurring list for a Grand in college – to be picked up at their nearest Wal-Mart.
Level 2 – Get Out (Be Charming)
Spending time outside keeps Glam’Ma’s house fresh. Pack a sack and explore the world – as if you were Martians checking out Earth. One thing to do while out is buy colorful tinted plastic and look at things, including each other, through the film. We can use this time to talk about race, stereotypes, etc. We can also discuss surroundings and feelings in the moment. Try sharing what stifles and/or moves us and seize chances to re-frame what might be stifling. For instance, granddaughter runs in from the rain, “I hate rain” she says, for me, this became a Glam’Moment, the next level on our quest.
Level 3 – Create New Traditions (Be Charismatic)
I love rain, and won’t allow one of mine to downgrade such a gift from the Creator. So, a Glam’Ma fills a closet with cool umbrellas, various rain boots, and colorful rain jackets. When showers come, she shouts “Last one to the closet’s a rotten egg!” She’s all in, encouraging everyone to get out into it. Those who don’t have gear, tear open plastic garbage bags, cover heads in small grocery bags, and play! Wet days become events for experiencing extraordinary moments in time; like clouds parting. That night Granddaughter was overheard praying, for rain.
Level 4 – …In with the New (Be Stylish)
The foremothers wore panty hose and didn’t wear black in summer, or white after Labor Day. Some covered furniture in plastic. The African-American ones didn’t swim (Sheila included). A Glam’Ma wears Spanx, rocks white year-round and her closet has curated pieces that reign in compliments. Antiques have their place, but not in Glam’Ma’s space – a delightful empty nest free of knick-knacks, with scenes set for get-togethers, cartoons under crisp covers, and both.
Although hairdos prohibited some Grannys from water fun, Glam’Ma swims. Those who can’t, learn. Tip: A swim cures the hot-flash. Glam’Ma has a great head of hair and/or wigs! All kinds to fall back in after dips in the pool or ocean. Hers are silky human hair (not synthetic) groomed to compliment her face. She doesn’t spend hours in salons, her wigs do. She drops them off on the way to Zumba Tuesdays and swoops them up after Line Dancing Fridays. Glam’Mas sweat, and smell good doing it. Sheila’s scent was Chloe. Here’s the fragrance I’m wild about:
Level 5 – Make Something of Nothing (Be Enchanting)
One of Glam’Ma’s prized possessions is her craft trunk. Every Glam’Ma needs one. In it she has pieces of this, that, and a myriad of other things, like yarn, markers, buttons, scrap paper, glitter, glue, pop-sickle sticks, poster board, fabric swatches, zip-lock bags, colored pencils, stickers, felt, stones and coloring pages. She and the Grand crew make magic, tell stories, travel abroad, poke fun at parents and get messy. Clean up usually involves tossing it all in the trunk before Bruno stops belting “24 Karat Magic.” A Glam’Ma’s trunk should be an exquisite piece that’s ever ready for whatever.
These things strengthen family ties, particularly during rough seasons. Let’s mix them up on our quest. Should we get lost, we’ll consult the guides, our grandchildren.