Special Appreciation for Grandmas on Mother’s Day

Though right now my only granny role comes as a basketball elder, many of my friends are enjoying the privileged status of grandma as they dote on grandbabies. During a time when warmth and support is especially critical, Grandma’s love fills in the empty spaces of childhood.

Both of my grandmothers impacted my life in lasting ways, and shaped who I am today. My “flying” Norwegian grandma came from her home on the east coast for extended visits in the Midwest, at a time when air travel was not yet the norm. She made my siblings and me feel special by making pancakes for breakfasts and chocolate chip cookies for afterschool snack. She taught me to find joy in simple pleasures – sampling a piece of fresh-baked pie, handwriting a letter, seeing the season’s first cardinal.

Grandma Betty, my paternal grandma, inspired me to write by giving me a blank notebook and encouraging me to record my experiences. She made a ten-year-old tomboy believe her life was important. Grandma Betty saved money to take 8 of us in car trips cross-country from Florida to California, from the Grand Canyon to the Everglades, from the Golden Gate to Mt. Rushmore.

She had the foresight to save a piece of land in Wisconsin and build a cabin where her grandchildren could grow up; developing an appreciation for nature untainted by industry while hiking in the woods, swimming in a lake and singing around a campfire. Like a fortuneteller she envisioned a magical place for future generations to forge memories over lazy Summit Lake summers and remain connected forever through shared experience.

Grandmothers remember anniversaries and birthdays. They never miss ball games, band performances and school graduations. Today, they also play catch, rebound basketballs and run marathons. Grandmas are the first to take the sting out of life’s hurts and the last to criticize mistakes.

With the advent of women’s rights and the obligations of both career and motherhood, the expectations of mothers are endless. With the impossible demands of being a mom, Grandmas’ role has never been greater.

When her first grandchild, our daughter, was born, my mom slipped into her grandmother shoes with ease. During summer holidays and school breaks she planned outings to plays and parades, parks and pools, movies and museums for all six of her grandchildren.

At times when I was exhausted with a mother’s mandate to give, give, give, my mom picked up the slack. She played cards, read stories, baked cookies. She offered that same selfless support to my son and daughter that she once gave me. She mastered the art of grand mothering long distance. She remained a steadfast part of my children’s lives, nurturing them in cheerful phone calls, newsy letters and inspirational trans-Atlantic trips. Her kindness and compassion are a foundation of their being. She has shaped them in countless ways, big and small.

Grandmothers will never truly grow old because their impact is timeless.





Posted in family, inspiration.


  1. Yep, Grandma’s are “the bomb” (do people still use that expression?)!! Have a great Mother’s Day!

  2. So true Pat. My mum was always there when the girls were smaller and we lived closer, stepping in as nurse, cook, entertainer and guiding artist. Now the girls both take art to higher level and this is primarily because of her and my sister who spent many long summers teaching them how to draw and paint. With so many other things to nurture in my girls and all the domestics to manage singlehandedly, as well as full-time work, their inspiration and support were much appreciated. It surely does take a whole village to raise a child, and grandmas are super special during that process ???? xx

    • Rach, my sisters also had a huge impact in my children’s lives. I bet you wished your mom and sister lived closer. I am not sure if it is the British Mother’s Day yet, but Happy Mother’s Day to you. You have done an extraordinary job of raising 2 beautiful, multi talented daughters.

  3. Pat, you’re blessed to have had grandmas so actively involved in your life! I lived FAR away from mine and only saw them once or twice a year, so my experience was far different. There are a LOT of grandmas helping raise their grandchildren these days, though, and those women deserve a Happy Mother’s Day! You have one, too, okay?!!

    • I never realized how lucky I was to have both my grandmas as part of my life until I was older. I also think that my children were incredibly fortunate to have their lives shaped by both their American and French grandma. Happy Mother’s Day to you, too.

  4. Such a lovely tribute to both of your grandmothers. I never had children so no grandchildren, but you make me think about my paternal grandmother who had a tremendous impact on my life. Without her, I would most certainly have had a very different life and not in a good way. Thank you, Brenda

    • Brenda, thanks for stopping by. I am so glad to know your grandma had such a positive impact in your life. I felt lucky to have my grandmas and my children’s lives too have been enriched from influence of both their Norwegian-American and French grandma.

  5. Love these sweet tributes to your grandmothers, Pat. I have wonderful memories of my grandmothers, too. We are so fortunate.

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