Think Grand. Act Grand. Be Grand
I am a “step-grandmother” to several grandchildren. When I remarried after losing my first husband, the package included my “new-found family.” I felt set apart. Twenty-three years later, I am “their grandmother.” I am my daughter-in-law’s second mom, and my natural grandchildren feel no jealousy. How did this happen? Here is my step-grandmothers guide to success.
A Tale of Two Grandmas
I was the granddaughter of a “step-grandmother.” One of my grandmothers passed away before I was born. I loved my “step” grandmother as much as my biological grandmother. They were women who loved me unconditionally. Titles meant nothing to me. Their actions meant the world.
I had to call my “step-grandmother” Aunt Clara instead of Grandma because my grandfather insisted that all 14 grandchildren respect the memory of our deceased grandmother, the grandmother we never knew.
For over 40 years I did just that. But, in my heart of hearts, I wanted to call her grandma. She was a “granddaughter’s gift.”
One day I whispered in her ear, “I wish I could call you Grandma.” I wanted her to know how much this little girl loved her. She smiled, pulled me to her, and told me she loved me. Little did I know that one day I would bear the title: “Step” Grandmother. But not for long!
The Key to Step-Grandmother Success
Today I am, like many of you, an “Aunt Clara!” A large group of us have step-grandchildren who have a deceased grandmother, no grandmother, or a few biological living grandmothers. We are the outsiders who yearn to be insiders. Right? You will not be thought of as a “step” grandma if you think of your blended grandchildren’s feelings before your own. Don’t be a narcissist. That is the key to a “step” grandmother’s success.
Please don’t feel helpless in your role. Celebrate it. Think Grand! Act Grand! Be Grand! Understand that there is a lot of love to go around. Find your niche with each grandchild. They have different personalities and needs and one ingredient in common: They want to be loved and recognized as special. Make them special. In return, they will make you special.
A Simple Recipe
This is my recipe. I hug and kiss my grandchildren no matter their age.
When they were younger, I took them to Johnny Rockets for hamburgers and fries, to Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Company and the Dairy Queen for ice cream. Before COVID-19 we would take trips to a museum, a play, or a movie. It’s always a treat when they visit so we can have pizza afterward at Lou Malnati’s or Giordano’s in Chicago. We sit at a round table and discuss the event. I like to hike and bike and I like to go for walks and talks. I even email and text with my grandchildren, especially now being so far away. We bond as a family laughing and learning and exploring.
I have told my blended grandchildren about my family history and the “Aunt Clara” story. I never discuss my grandchildren’s parents or another grandmother because I want my grandchildren to think of me as their guardian angel. And, I am available to them at a moment’s notice. I am not confrontational nor am I a disciplinarian. I learned “to get it.”
You have your special ingredients! Turn them into a loving recipe for step-grandmother success. For more tips, if you live far away, read my story from last week. This will help you!
Are you a step-grandmother? Tell me what you have learned or your questions in the comments below.
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