The Glory of Grandma

As I have “matured” (ok, sounds  better than aged) as a mother, the beauty of becoming a grandmother is becoming much clearer. Perhaps parenting the teenage years and the mental anguish from raging hormones is sending me back to the glorious, sweet and simple days of babyhood… sleep, feed, change, cuddle, REPEAT….

Young mothers would argue these are not the simple years, but for those of us who have been there, we can honestly say it is so. In the midst of diapers and temper tantrums, all we wished was for children who could talk, potty and tie their shoes without our help.  Fortunately, those things do happen. However the temper tantrums continue on in more complicated ways, and there is a growing uncertainty that all the “right” things we’ve done are not a guarantee the end result will be an amazing young adult we’ve dreamed of. As our children grow there are too many unknowns, too many temptations, too many mistakes and any of them can turn everything on its head.

With mothering there is so much angst and dare I say, regret? Wanting to do our best each and every day, at the job we were blessed to be given. Loving so completely at the core of our being, yet falling into bed many nights berating ourselves for not being better…more patient, more available, more loving, less hurried, less negative, less stressed.

That’s where I see the glory of being Grandma. There is no self-loathing, second guessing… regrets. As a mother, you did that, you’ve been there. You did the best you could at the time. But now there are these sweet little babies you get to hold and try again without the familiar angst.

Sure, you absolutely worry about your grandbabies (don’t nobody cross Grandma!) but this time you are more patient, more available, more loving, less hurried, less negative and less stressed, at least when it comes to their day-to-day lives. The little things stay little and the big things matter. It isn’t because you are a better person than you used to be, you’re just not MOM. Perhaps its nature’s sweet reward.  Or as I like to say, grandkids are like a great, big, fat, delicious dessert- saving the best for last!

To recognize the hard earned role as Grandma, these are a few thoughts I jotted down one day. I think they speak to the essence of  what it truly means to be a grandparent.

That old on the outside, doesn’t mean old on the inside.

The answer to seconds is “yes”.

The best gifts are hand drawn and heart spoken.

Simple walks make great moments.

A heart has super human powers.

A dandelion is not a weed, it’s a flower.

Puddles do not have “no jumping” signs.

Fingerprints on glass are stains on the heart.

It’s OK to eat a little dirt occasionally.

“Why” is a perfectly good question.

Naps are good for your mood at any age.

Comments about body parts aren’t mean, just honest observations.

The best compliment is grandkids fighting over who sits in your lap or who gets to hold your hand.

 

I’m sure you may have a few favorite gems yourself, so feel free to share.

In angst for now-

Teri

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…….2003     …….10 years later….                                                2013

Grandparents Day Interview with Life Lessons Radio

Had a good time today talking about Grandparent’s Day with Rick from Life Lessons radio.

We talked about how the day got its start and ways you can celebrate with your family- have a listen!

Celebrate Grandparents Day with Teri Harrison 09/05 by Lessons Learned | Life Podcasts.

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A sweet memory from my days as a much-loved grandchild. What’s your memory?
Join us The Grandparent Gift Co. on facebook for more trips down memory lane.

Will You Love me Tomorrow? For Moms and Daughters

Will You Love Me Tomorrow?

 

 The mommy and little girl walked hand in hand at the park.

The mommy looked down at her little girl and asked,

“Did I forget to tell you I love you today?”

“Yes” said the little girl. “I love you today” said the mommy.

“Will you love me tomorrow? questioned the little girl.

“I will love you tomorrow” answered mommy.

She smiled at her little girl and quietly hoped she would not grow up too fast.

 But the little girl grew and grew. She dressed herself each morning. She combed her hair and clipped in her favorite barrette. She now reached the sink on her tippy toes to get her own glass of water.

It was time for the little girl to go to kindergarten. On her first day of school, the little girl wore a brand new pair of shoes and a dress she picked out all by herself. She carried a book bag with her name on it. Mommy walked the little girl to her new classroom. Before saying goodbye, Mommy held the little girl close and whispered,

“Did I forget to tell you I love you today?’

“Yes” whispered the little girl.

“I love you today” said the Mommy.

“Will you love me tomorrow?” asked the little girl.

“I will always love you tomorrow.” said Mommy.

She watched her little girl walk away and join her new classmates.

Mommy stood in the hallway with a tear in her eye and quietly wondered how her baby had grown so fast.

 The little girl finished kindergarten, and each year thereafter she had more first days of school. Each year she wore a bigger new pair of shoes, a bigger new outfit and a carried a bigger back pack.

 When the young girl turned 10, she went to summer camp for a whole week without her parents. As the camp bus was filled with excited boys and girls, the Mom and daughter hugged.

“Did I forget to tell you I love you today?” asked the Mom.

“Yes” said the young daughter.

“I love you today.” said the Mom.

“Will you love me tomorrow while I’m a camp?”  wondered the young girl.

 “I will always love you tomorrow.” said the Mom.

She watched her daughter climb aboard the yellow bus.

The young girl smiled and waved from the open window. The mom stood waving from the curb and quietly wondered how her baby had grown so fast.

 The young girl continued to go to camp each summer. The summer she turned 16, she worked at a local ice cream parlor and spent most of her free time with friends. That summer she also learned to drive and her mother let her drive to the mall on her own.

 As her daughter started the car engine and tuned the radio to her favorite station, the mom called out,

“Did I forget to tell you I love you today?!”

But the daughter didn’t hear her mother.

The mother stood alone in the driveway and slowly whispered the answer to herself,

“Yes… I love you today and I will always love you tomorrow.”

How had her baby grown so fast?

 The teenage girl became a young lady. She graduated from high school and enrolled in college. Her mother helped her daughter pack most of her belongings. This first day of school did not come with special outfits or shoes, but there was a car loaded with clothes, a computer, books, sheets, towels and a small television.

 When the young lady was settled in her new dorm room, the mother hugged her daughter and said, “Did I forget to tell you I love you today?”

“I think so”, replied the daughter.

“I love you today.” said the mother.

“OK “ said the daughter as she hurried off to meet her new roommates for pizza.

The mother stood alone in the dorm room and realized her baby had grown too fast.

 The young lady spent several years attending college, coming home in the summers and driving back to college each fall. Soon she graduated from college and got a job in a new city. This time the daughter moved further away from her mother. She lived in a little apartment and paid all her own bills. She was a grown woman. However, sometimes the grown woman would get sad and lonely and would call her Mother to talk. Before she would hang up, the Mother would ask,

“Did I forget to tell you I love you today?”

The woman would answer “Yes Mom”.

“I love you today” the mother would reply.

“Will you be there for me if I need to call tomorrow?” the woman asked.

“I will always be here for you tomorrow.” said the Mother. The mother hung up and quietly wondered how her baby had grown so fast.

 The woman soon found her way in the world and met a man she loved.

 The two got married and eventually started a family. When the woman held her new baby for the first time, she could only think of her mother. As she had done many times before, she called her mother on the phone.

” Hi Mom, said the daughter. “Did I forget to tell you I love you today?”

“Yes Dear” murmured the mother softly.

“I love you today” said the daughter.

“Will you love me tomorrow?” choked backed the mother.

“I will love you tomorrow and forever” said the daughter in a voice that was filled with a new understanding.

The mother said goodbye and pressed the phone to her heart. She wore a tear-filled smile and quietly wondered how her baby had grown up so fast. 

 The daughter stared lovingly down at the sleepy face of her beautiful newborn baby, and quietly prayed her little baby would not grow up too fast….

Call your Mother..because time goes so fast.

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Copyright Teri Harrison

www.grandparentgiftco.com

Happy Mother’s Day Princess Grandma

I wanted to share one of my favorite Mother’s Day Posts- lovin’ those Grandmas!

I was expecting my first child at 34. We had tried for nearly 5 years to start a family and many emotions from this time are still very real. But they are greatly overshadowed by my first emotions of motherhood.

I still vividly recall the first 5 am morning, when the night nurse roused me out of bed after a late-night c-section. ”You have to get moving” she said. Believe it or not, I was ready!

All I wanted to do was hold my baby. With her help, I eased into the chair next to my hospital bed. For two hours, I awkwardly, yet lovingly held my new baby.

I could not take my eyes off of him.

No longer concerned with my exhaustion, pain, or hunger, I was solely focused on my joy.

This year I celebrate my 16th year as a mother, having added another three sweet babies along the way. I often think, “Did my mother feel this way about me?”. Certainly I felt it with all of my children.

Each time I was filled with awe at creating a new life. I also realized there was not a finite amount of love to go around.

Each successive child was not left with a smaller piece of the pie. No, instead, I learned that a mother’s love does not have boundaries and seating is not limited.

A mother’s love truly was infinite– amazing.

This Mother’s Day I take a little extra time to reflect on my mother and how her infinite love for me, not only shaped my childhood, but how it has continued to shape me, as I became Mommy and she became Grandma.

Not only does she love me, but she deeply loves the little people I made.

They are a part of her too.

Over the past ten years, my Mom certainly has done it all, and without complaint. I would actually say she has relished it.

She has made being a Grandma her profession and she is REALLY good at it.

The other day I asked my 3 year-old daughter what she wanted to be when she grew up. She quickly declared, (thanks to great retail marketing)- a princess would suit her.

When I informed her there weren’t going to be too many princess jobs available, she reconsidered. She sat still for a moment, then her little eyes lit up with one of those “ah-ha” moments.

I want to be a “Gramma!” she exclaimed.

She was quite confident her second choice was a winner. For although she doesn’t know any real princesses, she does know a Grandma, and she is real. In the eyes of a three year-old, the life of a Grandma seems comparable to those of a storybook princess. So maybe Grandma doesn’t dress in a beautiful gown and bejeweled crown.

And perhaps, although some Grandpas’ would argue, even come with a handsome prince on her arm. But Grandma does possess all the magic and wonder of a princess.

Perhaps it is the constant smile, the giggles, or the willingness to read stories and play games well past her Mother’s tolerance. Perhaps it is the unconditional hugs and kisses and little presents that appear when Grandma is around. Maybe just spending time with Grandma is like a fairy tale with an always happy ending.

And so Mom, this Mother’s Day, it appears that becoming a Grandma is the happy ending (or beginning) to all the years and all the love. For not only in the eyes of a 3-year old, but her forty-something mother as well, you have officially risen to the place of Princess in our family.

A mother’s infinite generous love can make fairy tales come true.

So an extended “Happy Mother’s Day” to Princess Grandmas everywhere who too deserve the royal treatment for all the fairy tale days they have written and all those they have yet to write.

To all  the Princesses- Happy Mother’s Day!

till next time- Teri

10 Ideas for Putting Thoughtfulness in Everyday

It’s a hot summer day and the swim moms are standing under the umbrellas as we do each morning, watching our kids lap it. Some days the conversation is lively, other days intense, and some days there is NO conversation. This seems to be the way it goes when you are in the throws of the activity phase of raising children.

Moms and dads always running, competing for the “busiest schedule trophy”, to longing for a few minutes to stop and smell the roses, to just too darn tired to speak.

It was one of those, “I wish I could stop and smell the roses moments” that I remember a friend’s reflection that stopped me. With coffee mug, keys and phone in hand, on a short break from running her very busy “Mom” taxi service, she lamented that one day…yes one day, she hoped to have the time to be thoughtful again.

I thought, must we really wait? How old will I be when I stop running? What about all those years, and all those chances I would have missed?

I didn’t make a plan for being more thoughtful at the time, but I tucked her reflections away. They weren’t far away, as I figuratively put them in my back pocket. I would take them out occasionally, like an old school note, read them and fold them back up and tuck them away again.

It was several years later that I took them out (again figuratively!)…ironed them like a wrinkled shirt and decided to put them on.

I decided to make thoughtfulness a part of my life. A conscious part of who I wanted to be. I didn’t think it would take much extra time and the benefit would be huge. Not only for me, my heart…my soul, but for my family too. Don’t get me wrong, I am far, far from perfect and not always thoughtful, but finding time in my head (more than hours on the clock), I have started weaving thoughtfulness into my every day.

Here are 10 tips and ideas to help you move to a more thoughtful place:

1. Work on your mind. Thoughtfulness is really finding a bit of “mind” time. Making a conscious effort and becoming aware of what others are experiencing. Ask yourself the question each day, “what have I done today?” or “what will I do today to make a difference?”

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2. Put thoughtfulness on your to-do list. Write it down. You don’t have to know exactly what it will be at that moment, but writing it down makes you aware and more likely to take an opportunity to be kind.

3. Purchase note cards and stamps. Leave them in places where you find you often have downtime. I think a great place is in the car. How many times during the week do you wait in a carpool line or at a child’s event or at a doctor’s appointment? Keep a list of friends/family with you so you can address and mail them. I love the art of letter writing, but if time is tight and letters are not your thing, send a caring email or text.

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4. Set aside a very specific time each week to do something thoughtful. Perhaps it is Wednesday mornings for 15 minutes, you reach out to friends, family or neighbors you noticed needed a little extra kindness that week.

5. Gather like-minded friends and form an informal group. Trade off and schedule to do something kind each month. Volunteer at a shelter, make a meal for a firehouse, help a local family in need, pick up trash at a local park…

6. When you cook or bake, make a double batch. Give it away, or freeze it and when the opportunity presents itself you will have something from the heart ready to give.

7. When you see items on sale or clearance that would make a great little gifts of kindness, stock up and stock away. Again having items on hand takes the “work” out of being kind. Good suggestions would be note cards, cards, candles, small frames, healthy snacks or foods, gift cards, teas and coffees.

8. Save magazines or articles you think a friend or family member would be interested in. Attach a kind note and deliver to them. If you have finished reading a great book, pass it on to someone else who would enjoy.

9. When you are out doing errands and just living your life, make a conscious effort to thank those who do a good job or share a positive thought you might have in your head, but never thought to share…ie.. “you seem to really love your job, you make it nice to shop here.” Hold the door, help a senior with their groceries, slip a few quarters in the gumball or drink machine, some other simple daily kindnesses.

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10. What are you good at? What do you love doing? Are you a photographer, an artist, an exercise or diet enthusiast, a gardener or pet lover? Use your passion and skills to help others, when it is something that comes naturally to you, it makes it easier to do.

I would  love to hear your ideas and stories- it is only through others that we become our best selves, so please share.

Until next time-

Teri

 

A Few Thoughts on Grandkids

I write a lot about grandkids and have for over 18 years. It is not that I am a grandparent myself, but that I am a grandchild and a great observer of my parents and grandparents. Here are a few thoughts about the special relationship between the generations.

Lessons from Grandkids… a few life observations…

That old on the outside, can still be young on the inside.

Never say “no” to seconds.

It’s OK to eat a little dirt occasionally.

The best gifts are hand drawn and heart spoken.

Simple walks make great moments.

A grandparent’s heart has super human powers.

It’s how we look at life…A dandelion is a flower.

Puddles never have no swimming signs.

Fingerprints on glass are stains on the heart.

“Why” is a perfectly good question.

Grandkids are like dessert, saving the best for last.

Naps are good for your mood at any age.

Comments about body parts aren’t mean, just honest observations.

The best compliment is grandkids fighting over your lap or your hand.

And This Too Shall Pass

AND THIS TOO SHALL PASS…

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Have you ever heard the saying? Have you ever said it to yourself? or someone else? I have. To be honest, I am not sure if I like it, at least when it comes to parenting. For me, it’s cloaked in getting through something, toughing it out, and wishing for an end.

I remember the baby days, so exhausted, most days muddling through in a sleep-deprived daze. Thinking you will remember when you fed and changed baby, and 30 minutes later asking yourself

“Did I forget to feed and change the baby?” Friends offer, “and this too shall pass…wait until they can walk and talk, it is so much easier!”

Then comes the walking and talking toddler years and oh my! Who would have thought it would require physical prowess, negotiating and child psychology skills to get a pair of shoes on a 3- year old. But remember, and this too shall pass. Wait until they can be more reasonable…Yes, so reasonable that every request is cause for debate or argument, ultimately ending in an “eye roll”.  You’ve had these moments…and yes, these too shall pass.

But with these moments, go other moments, like the soft, chubby toddler arms wrapped around you because you ARE the best thing ever, or a card with little stick people with the arms coming from their heads scribbled just for you,  or a heart-to-heart talk with a teen who is interested in your advice and guidance. These moments too shall pass…

I am going to choose not to wish for time to pass, but instead when life gives me moments I mistakenly want to wish away..I think I will just BREATHE through them.

After all, isn’t it the first and best parenting advice we received anyway?

Until another day…Teri

The Joy of Parenting: Discovering Love is Infinity…

With Valentine’s Day in the air, hearts and love are everywhere.

I was working our annual tradeshow booth recently, and as I have come to experience, grandparent love is always in the air.

So many customers are grandparents, and each has heartwarming stories about their grandparenting experience. I heard about a playroom being designed with a lollipop theme, receiving pregnancy news over the holidays, and plans for an upcoming grandchild sleepover they couldn’t wait to get home to.

As I happily nod and listen to the glowing stories and unabashed happiness, I thought, what is it that grandparents have? Why at this time in life does everything seem so much “lovelier”. I thought back to my own experience as a new Mom to understand.

As a new mother, I was stunned…no, blown away by the love I felt for my first child. What an “ah-ha” moment in life. Did my mother feel this way about me? Was that why she was always interested in where I was, keeping in touch, wanting to make sure I was ok? Was that the reason she often said, “We are doing this because we love you?’

Was love the reason she cried when I moved across the country, and without reserve spent months away from home to help care for me and my newborn twins?

OK, now I get it…I mean I really get it.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I had the same thoughts many Moms having their second child have. You question how you could possibly love another child as much as the first. It is so big, so awesome, so consuming, is it possible to feel that for another? And how about another and another?
But motherhood is amazing because the answer is simply and easily answered -YES.

That’s it.

The second arrives and you are again blown away. Your heart doesn’t say, “Sorry that’s enough, you’ve given all the love you have. If anyone wants more, they will have to share.” No in fact, your heart grows.

The challenge in mothering is as your children get older convincing them of this. They endlessly vie for your time and attention. They measure your love like slicing the last remaining piece of cake in perfectly equal portions.

They are unaware although your time is finite, your love is not.

The heart is not something to divvy out in equal portions. When they say a child is always a part of you, I think what they mean is you have a unique heart inside you for each of them.

And so I see the magic of grandparents. Grandparents have been through parenthood and know without a doubt, with 100% certainty that they can love without condition, because they learned love is infinity.

They get it.

There is no time needed to figure things out, it was done long ago. Grandparents are joyful and giving because they understand loves mystery and when given a second chance they fill the air with love just like Valentine’s Day.