Be an Extraordinary Step-Grandparent

By: Honey Good

A blended family is not a gift …

IT IS AN ACHIEVEMENT!

“My 20 Grands are not mine and his…they are ours! How lucky is that!”

I wanted to know when I started writing this blog where the term ‘step’ originated. I thought you would too, darlings! In biblical times, a man would ‘step up’ and marry his deceased brother’s wife in order carry on the bloodline. The term has since expanded to other members of the family, to include step grandparents, which to be honest with you…I really do not like! It sounds so cold like the ‘steps’ in Cinderella.

And this ‘step’ grandmother is anything but cold!

Never-the–less I am the step grandmother to the Good 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 own step grandmother.

I profess with pride that my step grandchildren and I made it through the rain. My second husband, Shelly (we were both widowed) and I have a total of 20 Grands between us. These are the guidelines I incorporated to earn their love and respect. I am Honey, grandmother to 20 Grands. The word ‘step’ never enters their minds.

My Motto:

As the matriarchs of our families we have the responsibility to put our grandchildren’s feelings above our own. We have earned our PhD in life. They are children. Second, 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.

Then:

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. Don’t be sensitive. Put yourself in their shoes. Remember once you gain a relationship with the children…the grandchildren will slide into place.

Attention/Nurture: I email. I text. I Facebook. I listen to problems over the phone and on Skype. I praise their successes. I never forget an occasion. I seal each birthday card with a huge kiss on the back of the envelope with my lips full of lipstick. I am their pen pal when they travel. I tell them I love them. 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 seven states! You can still nurture them with your attention. It is only time, grandmas, only your time.

Wisdom: Our role is to make each of our blends feel special. I have figured out what makes each of my twenty grandchildren, ‘tick.’ Have you? When you accomplish this, the bond between you and your grandchildren will tighten.

Trust: Be an open book with your grandchildren. Show your vulnerability. Share secrets and never break your pledge of secrecy.

Participation: Share holidays. Take family trips. Travel to their events if proximity makes it feasible. Blend. Blend. Blend.

I am not a therapist. But I do know how to handle my blends with my maternal instincts guiding me. I worked hard. Had trials and tribulations feeling my way into the world of the blended family but once I arrived, darlings…I arrived!

I am joyful when I think of my blended family. The Grands did their part too. They welcomed me into the fold. I am their grandmother! I am Honey to all of them and they are Grands. We love each other. How lucky is that!

HAPPY STEPFAMILY DAY! Aren’t we blessed?

For more Grandparenting tips, click here