A blended family is not a gift…IT IS AN ACHIEVEMENT! That’s why today I am sharing how to be an extraordinary step-grandparent.
I wanted to know when I started writing today’s musing, where the term ‘step’ originated. And, I thought you would too, darling! In biblical times, a man would ‘step up’ and marry his deceased brother’s wife to carry on the bloodline. The term has since expanded to other members of the family to include step-grandparents, which is a term that, to be honest with you, I do not like! It sounds so cold like the ‘steps’ in Cinderella.
And this ‘step’ grandmother is anything but cold!
Nevertheless, I am the step-grandmother to all of the Good Family Grands. We are a happily blended (meaning harmonious and mixed) family. Does this mean my blended family was always a harmonious mix? No. It took my tender loving care, lots of sleepless nights of thought-provoking options, and thank goodness, the extraordinary role model I had to follow…my step-grandmother!
I profess with pride that my step-grandchildren and I made it through the rain. My Ultimate Concierge and I have a total of 25 Grands between us. These are the guidelines I incorporated to earn their love and respect. That is how I became their, “Honey.”
My Motto As a Step-Grandparent
As the matriarchs of our families, we have the responsibility to put our grandchildren’s feelings above our own. We have earned our Ph.D. in life. They are children. Also, it is important for the grandchildren to see devotion and loyalty between you and their grandfather. This gives them confidence in the new relationship which will help with their bonding.
Next, You Need Tolerance!
Most adult children will be skeptical of the new blended family because it is not easy for them to invite a stranger into the fold. Whatever it takes, show tolerance. Put yourself in their shoes. Remember, once you gain a relationship with the children, the grandchildren will slide into place.
I email and text and Facebook them. When they need me, I listen to problems over the phone and on Skype. Always, I praise their successes. And, I never forget an occasion. Each birthday card is sealed with a huge kiss on the back of the envelope with my lips full of lipstick. When they travel, I am their pen pal and I tell them I love them. As well, when we see each other, I shower them with hugs and kisses. Please don’t use the excuse that your family is scattered all over the country. Mine is also. In many states! You can still nurture them with your attention. It is only time, grandmas, only your time.
Our role is to make each of our Grands feel special. I have figured out what makes each of my 25 grandchildren ‘tick.’ Have you? When you accomplish this, the bond between you and your grandchildren will tighten.
Be an open book with your grandchildren. Show your vulnerability. Share secrets and never break your pledge of secrecy.
Share holidays. Take family trips. Travel to their events if proximity and COVID-19 precautions make it feasible. Blend, blend, blend.
I am not a therapist. But I do know how to handle my blended family with my maternal instincts guiding me. I worked hard and of course, had trials and tribulations, feeling my way into the world of the blended family. It is tough at times, and I have made mistakes. But I keep trying because I love each one of my Grands, blended or not, to the moon and back.