Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Perks of Being a Grandma

     “Memeh, what do you want to drink?”
      “Hmm, I don't know.”
   “Well, you have to eat healthy, so here, have some low fat milk,” quickly grabbing a small carton of milk from the counter, and putting it on the tray.
       “Oh, and you will want peas, right?” proceeding to put the little bowl of peas on the tray. “And the baked potato with broccoli and cheese.”  Down the line, the little hand picked up an orange, saying,” You don't want the mixed fruit in syrup. You do not need syrup.”
       This was the exchange between me and my five year old kindergarten granddaughter, Ari, while going down the cafeteria line for lunch on grandparents
           Ari's healthy choices for grandma

       One would think I was speaking with my fitness and diet coach. But I'm in good hands, obviously, with my youngest granddaughter.
                selfie time before healthy lunch

She can even be my very own fashion consultant. She was with me and one of my daughters on one of my shopping trips, mainly to look for a black purse. I almost always just go for the neutral colors like black, or beige, or gray, so it is easy to coordinate with any color clothes.
       “No, no, no, Memeh (this is how all my grand kids call me). You are always wearing black, or black and white. Look, you are wearing black right now,” she said as she pulled me towards the colorful purses.
       “Here, how about this?” she said, as she took a bright yellow cross body bag from the rack.  “You should have some color in your life!” she lectured me some more.
       A lady looking at us, who looked like a fellow grandma, couldn't help laughing, and said, “My, they start young nowadays, don't they?”
       I ended up buying the yellow bag, and she relented and agreed on a dark blue one in lieu of the black.

       I never knew how it felt to have a grandma, growing up.  Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers had passed away before I was born.  So I had no idea what to expect or how it would feel to be a grandmother.  I had no standard to follow, to gauge my performance as a grandmother against, except to remember how my mother was with my children.

       I first joined this elite club thirteen years ago, and received the highly coveted title of “Grandma.” I had to travel all the way to the Netherlands just to see this precious prince, and claim the perks and rewards of hugs and kisses. And for each and every one of the 5 grandchildren who followed, in California, and Arizona - I made sure I was there.

       When I had my first child, people told me, bayad ka na or 'You have paid back.' I have often heard this said before – that you can't pay back your mother
for having brought you into this world, until you have given birth to a child of your own.  What a horrible thing to say! This statement is the exact opposite and definitely does not come close to the joy and elation that comes with becoming a grandparent.  One does not think of a payback, or worse, revenge. My mother never told me that. I never told my daughters that. I don't know how this notion ever came about.
       All I know is how I feel. Being a grandma is a gift. It is a joy and a privilege to be part of these young lives. And I intend to enjoy them and celebrate their triumphs, big and small. I intend to claim my hugs and kisses before they get too tall for my arms to enclose them, or they get to be teenagers, and therefore I would get my hugs only after their mom barks at them, “Give your grandma a hug!”

       Oh by the way, there is another rumor going around, that grandparents love their grandchildren more than their own children. In all honesty, I have to say, there is some tiny truth to this. Maybe because we are here to just enjoy them, and have the luxury of returning them to their parents when they become difficult. After all, I just want to be a popular grandma to my grand children. Their moms and dads can discipline them.

       I have gone from being a daughter, to a wife, to a mother, and now, to a grandmother. All of the above have been great and wonderful. But I have to say, I have saved the BEST for last.


                                                                                      Grandparents' Day