Archive for the ‘grandchildren’ Category

My first little granddaughter called me “Umma” when she was learning to talk.

I loved being called Umma, but I knew it would not last.

She caught very quickly onto “Grandma,” and the rest is history. Since then, all of my grandchildren have called me Grandma.

Except Benjamin, Audrey’s littlest guy.

He calls me Mama.

Now, it is true that I see him every day because I work with Audrey. And it is true that I am pretty involved with his care, especially now that Audrey is due with Henry in a couple of weeks. Yes, I can still bend and lift and all that good stuff.

I just melt when he extends his arms and hands to me… looks into my eyes with his big baby-blues… and says, “Mama. Mama.” Thank goodness that Audrey is so comfortable in her own role as the “real” Mama. She laughs and melts right along with me.

Maybe Benjamin just knows exactly what he wants and how to get it from the world’s biggest sucker.

Me. Mama!

– Sharon

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You’ve heard of swimming with sharks. Or Dolphins. And, of course, swimming with the fishes…

But swimming with the grandchildren? Ah, that’s the paddle for my canoe!

Today I joined Alexander during his swimming lesson at our local YMCA. Usually his Dad is the designated swimmer, and my husband is the stand-in… but today was my turn.

The feel of the water, the smell of the chlorine, the sounds of the children splashing and giggling and laughing brought me back to decades ago when my own kids were learning to swim at our local YMCA.

At first, Alexander was a bit reluctant to have me. “Why is your bathing suit purple, Grandma?” he asked as we entered the pool deck and I put my towel aside. Before I could answer (actually, I had no idea what I was going to say anyway), he went on, “Why don’t you have your glasses on, Grandma?”

I did answer this question. “Because the splashing water will make my glasses wet.”

“Oh,” he said. Then, “But you can dry them off with your towel.”

Obviously a trick, intended to discover if I really, really knew anything about pools and water and swimming.

Soon the instructor was instructing us to enter the pool… by way of the steps, please. Not the ladders, as the kids could slip and fall. “Are you going to slip and fall, Grandma?” Alex asked me.

“No, Honey. I am going to be very careful and listen to Miss Hillary,” I answered. And it got me to thinking… just what is going on in that wondrous 2 1/2- year-old head regarding his Grandma and this swimming lesson. I knew I had to get control… somehow.

So as I held his little hand and stepped ever-so-carefully into the pool, I whispered to him, “You know, Honey, I taught your Mommy and your Auntie Janie how to swim.”

And he laughed and laughed. And laughed. “Grandma,” he finally said, “Mommy and Auntie Janie don’t swim.”

OK. Now it was time for some serious business. But as I contemplated explaining to him that both Mommy and his Auntie were champion swimmers and record holders with Junior National and National times and had college recruiters knocking on our doors, I realized that he had never seen either one of them swim. Mommy has been busy with having babies ever since he was a baby, and Auntie Janie switched over to distance running long before he was even born.

So instead, I whispered into his precious little ear, “Well, maybe you can teach them to swim.”

He liked that idea. And his smile lit my life as he yelled, “Cannon Ball!” and leaped off the edge into my waiting arms.

Oh, my little darling Alex… you are going to have such fun teaching Mommy and Auntie to swim this summer.

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I have a big secret.

One that makes me a super/great/cool grandma, but a horrible/scoundrel mother.

This morning I picked up my grandson from pre-school. (No, this is not the horrible thing.)

I guess I should give a bit of background information. Audrey asked if I could possibly pick up William from pre-school.

I said, “Sure.”

She said, “Now, he will ask to play on the playground afterwards… but he can’t.”

I innocently asked, “Why not?”

She said, “Because he had a little problem this morning with listening to me, and I had to take away something that he loves. Like the playground after school.”

“OK,” I said. But I didn’t really give a hoot about the listening thing because it wasn’t ME he didn’t listen to.

So… this morning I picked up my grandson at pre-school. He came bounding out of his classroom and into my waiting arms. He had papers and paintings that he couldn’t wait to show me. His hair was all sweaty from, as he said, “Running faster than a cougar.” He asked if we were getting something to eat. He put his little hand in mine. We left the building.

Then he said, “Can I play on the playground?”

OK. Balance of powers. Tug-of-war. Right from wrong.

As wrong as wrong can be… I said, “Sure.”

My wise eyes caught the brilliant blue of his. Then he squinted in that precious way he does when a thought engages his mind. “But, Grandma… didn’t Mommy say…”

Of course my thought process went something like this… “Why, oh beautiful daughter, have I forsaken your demands?” as I uttered the utterly scandalous, “Just don’t tell Mommy.”

Oh, he hesitated. For a nano second. Then he broke into a cougar-like run with me right behind him (well, maybe me more in a cougar-like limp) toward the playground, where we romped and climbed and, well, played.

It is only now that the deed is done that I pose to myself this unsettling query: Am I bad?

Well, if I am, I guess Audrey already knows – or will when she reads this. (Sorry, honey!)

– Sharon

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Run, Grandma, run.

Roll, Grandma, roll.

Faster. Faster.

No, these are not words from a primer or a “Dick and Jane” book.

These are my grandsons thinking that I, their Grandma, am oh… young and agile enough to run and roll and run and roll some more.

And how can I shatter their innocent little perceptions?

I can’t. That’s why yesterday I ran as fast as I could pushing 80 pounds of boys in a double stroller along the streets of my town. And why I rolled (many times) down a hill with them at our town recreation area.

Oh, I am exhausted just writing the words.

But it got me thinking about the day when I realize that I cannot run, roll or play as I do now. I know I am a resilient person who kind-of easily transitions from one thing to another in life… but wow. I know this day will come.

So for now… yes, little ones. Just tell me what to do and I will do it faster than a speeding bullet. Each and every time.

If they think I am currently a “Super-Grandma”… can I ask for more?

– Sharon

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I had an epiphany of sorts last week.

Audrey’s oldest son, 3-year-old William, is getting very interested in letters and words. I happen to have a little sign hanging on my back door inside doorknob, and he was studying the words on it: In the Garden.

“What does this spell,” he asked.

I answered, “In the garden.”

“What does it mean?” he innocently asked.

“Well, Honey… I hang this little sign when I am going out to work in my garden. That way you’ll know where I am.”

Silence. Then he walked four little 3-year-old steps to gaze out my bay window.

Finally, “Grandma, where’s the garden?”

Oh, yeah. Little detail. There isn’t one.

And I got to thinking that this little guy has never seen me work in my garden. My husband and I moved to our home 3 years ago. We had sold our home a little north of here when William was a mere 6 months old.

Now THAT home had gardens. I had a garden for each of our 4 children. We celebrated Audrey and Jane’s graduations from college in those gardens. I had a grandchildren garden (we had 5 grandbabies back then, and William was the youngest).

Audrey and Jane dressed for their weddings in that home, and we captured my gardens in the photographs.

I had a garden tea party baby shower for Audrey when she was expecting William.

My neighbors and I divided our beautiful plantings and often stopped to chat, have a lemonade… or a beer!

I had bountiful blueberry and raspberry bushes. My granddaughters had the greatest fun picking those little fruits.

I had exquisite garden decorations (stone, granite… each with a precious meaning). Thank God my home purchase and sales agreement specified that I take these with us. Oh. They’re in my shed.

But anyway, back to William and his question. I realized at that moment that William was too young to see my gardens. He never saw me at sunrise, noon, sunset, and even in the dark… planning, digging, planting, watering… loving the earth and its glorious bounty.

I realized that he couldn’t know that when we moved to our new home (well, old home… our home was built in 1780), my husband and I spent two years renovating the interior, and almost three years renovating and rebuilding the back of our home. We added decks. A pergola. A shed with its own little cupola, with a rooster weather vane. We leveled the yard of all its weeds and growth and nastiness.

William didn’t know that I would awaken at night and stare out of my bedroom window onto the front lawn below. I actually had nightmares about the front. One day I took a sledge hammer from our shed and hammered the crap out of a horrible fence that smothered the front yard. I felt a twinge of bad for the former owner… and then it seemed that all of my neighbors simultaneously were shouting “hurrah!” I raked all the dead things away… and that’s where we are today.

Ah… my little William who loves to work with his daddy in his own gardens (Audrey is not the gardener in her family) didn’t even know about grandma’s green thumb.

Long story, well, long! I have entered DIY Network’s America’s Most Desperate Landscape contest. I’ve gotta get back to the soil. I’ve gotta hit dirt.

But I had to have a little fun doing it. So. Have a couple of laughs on me (and my son-in-law, Steve, and my granddogs in their breakthrough acting rolls) in the video HERE.

And while you’re there, rate my landscape as the worst in America so my front yard will get a little respect! Rate it as ONE shovel (“landscape emergency!”). I’ll thank you all on the Today Show if I’m a finalist!


– Sharon


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Grandma’s Home!

mombenjafloor.jpgLet me tell you…

There is nothing in the world quite like being a grandmother.

Maybe being a princess. A queen. A fairy Godmother.

But I think even these “vocations” simply cannot compare.

Take last evening, for example. Audrey and her little family had traveled to visit her husband’s family in Pittsburgh for the Easter holiday. I know the kids had the most wonderful time coloring eggs, visiting the Easter Bunny, celebrating with their other grandparents, aunts and extended family and friends.

But I know that a 10-hour car trip home is, well, a 10-hour car trip.

They started out at around 8:30 am. I followed their travel progress by way of text messaging. At around 4:00, Audrey text messaged me that she was starving (and being 27 weeks pregnant and having 3 kids in the car… well, “starving” takes on a whole new meaning), and could I please deliver dinner to her family when they arrived.

Now, if you know Audrey, you know that she LOVES food. We joke that Audrey starts thinking about dinner right after breakfast. She has been this way since she began talking.

Anyway, it just so happens that I had lots of leftovers from Easter dinner. So when I texted (is this a word?) that I had turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, sweet potatoes, Dad’s special homemade gravy… and even fresh grilled swordfish for her husband, she texted back “Bless Your Heart!” Believe me, Audrey would have driven back to Pittsburgh if I had texted that I would bring her a cheese pizza.

But I digress.

We live less than a mile from Audrey’s home, so my husband and I timed our arrival very accurately. My husband is a great cook and a great fan of delectable leftovers, so the “dinner” was like his crown achievement.

But what can supersede this?

A 2-year old grandson, hearing the click of the storm door, running (no, racing) around the corner from the living room to the kitchen excitedly, “Grandma’s home! Pop-up’s home!”

His 3-year old brother racing right behind… “Grandma and Pop-up!”

And their 1-year old brother breaking from a walk to a crawl to catch up to his brothers.

Oh, my. Princess? Queen? Fairy Godmother?

No, just call me Grandma. Any day!

– Sharon

Speaking of being a Grandma, you’ll soon find me posting on Type-A Mom as a “Grandmothering” Editor!

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… or more specifically, Daddy.

OK, I don’t think I can be described as a pushover or a sucker. Unless, of course, it has anything to do with my grandchildren.

I was even one of those pre-grandmother women who said, “How can grandkids be that different from our own kids?”

Well, they are.

Not the kids. But the “suckerdom” that comes with the precious little bundles.

It starts from Day One. It never, ever, ever ends. And it supersedes almost anything that the parents have to say (sorry parents!).

Take this morning, for example.

My little guy Alexander, Audrey’s 2-year old, loves his binkie. Well, not just loves it, but LOVES it.

Now I know damn well that Audrey and her husband Matthew are trying to wean Ally from his beloved “binka,” as he calls it. They have him down to binka at nap and bedtime… unequivocably no binka during the day.

Whoops. Grandma done them wrong!

Matt is out of town for the week. Audrey was driving William to pre-school. Benjamin was napping. Ally had just finished his breakfast… and spotted his binka on the kitchen counter (I had taken it from his crib to wash… or you know how Grandmas are… to sterilize).

Then came the tiny, innocent, whispering “let’s make a deal” question, “Grandma, can I have my binka?”

“ALLLLLLLY… you know Mommy and Daddy don’t allow binkas during the day.”

And then the melt-me answer, “But Grandma, Mommy isn’t home. And Daddy’s in New Ork (his pronunciation of New York).”

Our eyes met. I melted like buttah. Yes, Ally got his binka.

That is, until Mommy got home!

Then the little buggah “convinced” me to play Connect 4 with him while I worked.

Here’s the evidence:


Ah, the “suckerdom” of grandparenthood.

– Sharon

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