NANA’S HOUSE by Teresa Bell Kindred
The Best Things About Being a Nana
If you are about to be a grandmother for the first time, you may be wondering what being a grandparent is like. It’s different for everyone, but if you want to hear from someone who thinks being called “Nana” is one of the best things to every happen to her, then you’ve come to the right place.
For several years I was the only one in my group of friends to have grandchildren, and I kept telling everyone that they just wouldn’t believe how great it was to add the word grand in front of parent. Now my group includes a Grammy and a Mimi, and we’ve had several discussions about the best things about being a nana (or grandparent). Here are 10 of those best things, and the list could be much longer:
1. Grandchildren reawaken us to the beauty and wonder of life. When we have children, we get to rediscover the world through their eyes. I loved motherhood and when all the chicks flew the coop, I felt a wealth of emotions. I was happy and excited to see the paths their lives would take, but I was sad too. I would look at baby pictures and mementos from their childhood and wonder just how time could go so fast. What I didn’t realize was that NanaHood is the second half of the motherhood journey and it’s just as wonderful—maybe even more so because some of the pressure is off! To be able to experience that again through grandchildren is one of life’s greatest blessings. It’s really true: everything old is new again when you see it through the eyes of your grandchild.
2. We get some needed perspective. Watching our children become parents reaffirms that while we weren’t perfect parents, we must have done something right. Many years ago I used to roller skate to a song called “Mountain of Love.” But I think it’s more like a river. The love our children have for their children is a continuation of the love passed down from previous generations, and it will continue to flow through our grandchildren to future generations. It’s an everlasting, enduring river of love.
3. There is no sweeter sound than that of a grandchild’s laughter. No matter what sort of day I am having, if I can hear my grandchildren’s giggles, I feel better. Their laughter is the happy music of my heart strings.
4. There’s no more “mom guilt.” As a mom, play time with my children was fun, but often in the back of my mind was the voice that whispered, “You need to be cleaning … or working …” etc. Guess what? With grandchildren I don’t hear that voice anymore. Play is important and there’s no need to feel guilty! If you’re like me, you experienced enough “mom guilt” that the last thing you need is “nana guilt.” Life is too short to not enjoy a little play time now and then.
5. There’s enough love for each and every grandchild, no matter how many you have. My grandmother had eight grandchildren and we all thought we were her favorite. She didn’t have a lot of money and couldn’t spoil us with gifts, but oh did she lavish her love on each of us! She read us books, played cards and board games, and cooked our favorite foods when we visited. Grandchild number eight was just as loved and precious as the first one was. Each child is unique and a blessing to a grandparent’s heart.
6. Grandchildren think we are grand and that makes them special! We live in a society that idolizes youth, beauty and money. But wrinkles, gray hair and imperfect physiques don’t matter to grandkids. They have the ability to look past all physical attributes and peer straight into our hearts. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could do that?
7. They remind us how to be silly. If it weren’t for my grandchildren I wouldn’t dance with Micky Mouse or sing with Elmo. I wouldn’t go to Ralphie’s Fun House or take endless golf cart rides up and down the driveway. Play is fun, but sometimes adults forget that. Grandchildren remind us that even something as simple as stomping on bubble wrap can be fun!
8. They give us hope for the future. In a world that often seems dark and hopeless, grandchildren bring joy and light. Turn off the news and get down in the floor and play with your grandchildren. Teach them about inspirational people who made a difference in your life. Let them know that your love is unconditional! The future belongs to them, and I have faith that they can and will make the world a better place.
9. They remind us of what really matters. When I watch my grandchildren play together, I’m reminded of what is truly important. Not stuff. Not cleaning house. Not expensive vacations. Relationships are what matter. When I forget that and get caught up in worldly pressures to “do more, buy more, be more,” all I have to do is spend time with one of my grandchildren and I remember what matters most.
10. Did I mention LOVE? Just when you think you have experienced all the different kinds of love the world has to offer, you become a grandparent and realize there is yet one more … and like God said after seeing all that he had made, “It is very good.” The love of a grandchild is very, very good.
Truthfully, I could go on and on about the best things about being a nana. It’s hard just to pick a few, but the love of a grandchild is so sweet and pure that it quenches a thirst you didn’t even know you had. Enjoy all the different ages and stages that come with your grandchildren and drink up every last drop of time you have with them. They are the jewels on the crown of parenthood.
Teresa Kindred is a freelance writer, former teacher, and author of several books, including The Faith-Filled Grandmother. She’s the mom of five grown children and “Nana” to six precious grandchildren. She and her husband live in Kentucky. Her blog for grandparents is at NanaHood.com.