How Does Grandma Measure a Year

“Seasons of Love,” the song from the Broadway play, “Rent,” starts out: “five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.  How do you measure, measure a year.”

CalendarHaving just lost a dear, dear friend, a wonderful grandfather, at this moment, being very philosophical, I think we grandparents measure a year by one that gives us another year of life, the good health to enjoy it, and the common sense to appreciate life.  The ability to watch a grandchild reach another year and another stage is a precious gift.

A year in the life of a baby grandchild is a year of great change.  To be able to be present often, either in person or by Face Time, to enjoy the many “firsts” and milestones is our measure of this year.  Some of us are “baby” people and some are not.  How hands on Grandma wants to be seems to relate to how a grandparent likes babies. I personally got hooked on HGTV the first year of my oldest grandson’s life.  My greatest joy was rocking the sleeping baby in front of the TV.  Thank God the current theory is that we cannot spoil babies by holding them too much.  Some of my grandma friends, though, think babies are boring and want nothing to do with grandchildren until they can interact with the grandchild.  I think if you are the latter kind of grandma you need to communicate that to the parents so they don’t equate your lack of interest to lack of love.  How much that little one means is beyond words.  We feel overwhelmed by the love we give unconditionally.

I love learning the temperament and personality of the baby grandchild.  Each is so different.  I personally think we can see these traits from birth.  The baby who can sleep anywhere to the baby who needs silence to sleep.  The baby who will go to anyone (even in the separation stage of 6-9 months when some babies will only go to primary caretaker) to the baby who only smiles to the special known caretaker(s).  We can help the parents of our grandchildren  know their babies better as we have the experience to identify a resilient child from a fragile child and know what they need from their parents.  I love the video, “Calm Baby.”  It calms even the most fussy of babies.  Now, it seems, the company has more choices. A great gift for Grandma to bring when visiting young baby grandchildren!

A year in the life of a toddler grandchild is a year of laughs and laughter.  Toddlers are hilarious as they learn about the world around them.  I love seeing the world anew through the life of a toddler grandchild.  Each toddler grandchild makes me appreciate the beauty of nature, the beauty of exploration and the beauty of living things all over again.

A year in the life of a preschooler is a year of going from babydom to doing things for themselves.  The “mine” becomes, “I can do it.” Watching this growth and development and helping grandchildren learn about life and living is joyful.  Sometimes, grandparents just start wanting to spend time at this point in a grand child’s life.  I think grandmas who find their grandchildren interesting beginning at this stage should explain that and why to the parents.  I am not a “blood,” “vomit,” or “diarrhea” grandma and you can bet I let the parents of my grandchildren that they cannot count on me for any of those!

My greatest joy about preschoolers is that grandma’s presence as an important person in their lives is cemented.  Grandma’s special name and being is secured through mutual unconditional pure love and joy.  I love the preschooler grandchild running into my arms the moment they see me.  I love that when they have me, they want nothing to do with their parents.

A year in the life of a school age grandchild is a year of activity and learning.  This is where Grandma transitions from participant to observer.  It is really fine–it gets harder as we get older.  It takes great effort to learn the games, the apps, the songs, the activities, the schooling of today’s

children.  It takes even more time to be an integral part of a grand child’s life.  Now, if you are not at an event you could have attended, you have to answer to the grandchild, as well as the parent of the grandchild!

This Grandma does not yet have a teenage grandchild.  But I have been warned to spend as much time as I can with the little ones.  We well know time goes by quickly and soon Grandma takes a third row seat, not even a back seat.  The love is strong but a teen’s growth and development means priorities elsewhere.

I have seen the love of twenty somethings with their Grandmas.  Just like our own teens came back into the fold, these grandchildren call, visit, speak often and fondly of their Grandmas.  I know some to even care for their Grandmas as they age.  Mutual unconditional love and commitment to one another is what this Grandma sees, that the love between generations just gets stronger.

I have been fortunate to be able to be at every grand child’s birthday or birthday party to date.  Sometimes it was difficult to get there, but this was important to this Grandma.  If it is not possible for you, you should explain why not and make a special celebration birthday time and date with your grandchild for them to anticipate.  We never can have enough birthday

celebrations.  Yes, a birthday is a life passage event to a child.  We know the significance of life passage events in our lives, but as we are older, these that we Grandmas define as life passage events are fewer to anticipate and enjoy.    What a joy to see life through the year of a child.  There are so many sad events in life.  Let us celebrate the happy ones with



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