Think Grand. Act Grand. Be Grand

I am now a “step-grandmother” to 10 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-grandmother’s 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 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. I take them to Johnny Rockets for hamburgers and fries, to Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Company and the Dairy Queen for ice cream. We have day trips to a museum, a play or a movie. It’s always a treat to have pizza afterward at Lou Malnati’s or Giordano’s in Chicago, and sit at a round table and discuss the event. I like to hike and bike. I like to go for walks and talks. I even email and text with my grandchildren. 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. I want my grandchildren to think of me as their guardian angel. 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 loving recipe for step-grandmother success.

Honey Good's signature