Heaven Help Us
By Corrie Lynne Player
“Grandmas (including great-grandmas) are happier than anyone else”
In my nearly 30 years of being a grandma, I’ve been told or learned the following facts: Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old.
Grandmother-grandchild relationships are simple: short on criticism and long on love. Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting. Grandmothers are just antique little girls.
Grandparents are like a piece of string—handy to have around and easily wrapped around the fingers of their grandchildren.
It’s amazing how grandparents seem so young once you become one.
A Welsh proverb says, ““An hour with your grandchildren can make you feel young again. Anything longer than that, and you start to age quickly.”
And Alex Haley said, “The best babysitters, of course, are the baby’s grandparents. You feel completely comfortable entrusting your baby to them for long periods, which is why most grandparents flee to Florida.”
My sister and I often compare notes on why we like being grandmas. Even though we’re old and creaky, we know why this is a really great time of life.
We knew and loved both of our grandmothers. Daddy’s mother was white-haired, soft and plump. She hugged us into her ample bosom and kissed us on the top of our heads. She baked cookies and often wore an apron.
Our other grandma wore tailored suits and had carefully styled salt and pepper hair. She told us that she had been a nanny for a wealthy, socially prominent family. Then she rebelled, became a flapper and “ran off with that wild young man, Charlie,” our grandfather.
Grandmother taught us etiquette and table manners. Most of all, she treated us as if we were important people.\
Celestia and I believe grandmas are happier than other adults because it’s so much more fun than being a parent. In Celestia’s words, “Grandma knows just what to do with an uncooperative, tearful, or tantrum-throwing grandchild: Feed it, put it to bed or walk away saying, “I wonder if that dog has some new puppies….’”
Celestia’s mother-in-law lived to be over a 100 and was a wise, calm person who wasn’t easily fooled. An example of how she couldn’t be bamboozled happened when one of Celestia’s teenaged daughters stayed at her little farm house for a few weeks.
Granddaughter had some girlfriends over for a slumber party. When Lula discovered the girls had sneaked out the window, defying the rules, she didn’t say a word.
But a week later, when they had another slumber party, Lula was all smiles. After she’d gone to bed, the girls discovered she’d nailed their window shut.
Grandmas are happier because they’ve made peace with wrinkles, with the downward sag of every part of their bodies and even with gray hair. “Why fight it?” Lula declared, “I’ve earned every gray hair on my head!”
And grandmas don’t have to apologize for whatever size or shape they’ve become. As Lula often said, “If you look in the mirror and say, ‘Who is that old woman?’ just be glad you can still see your reflection. And besides, if you don’t like it, it’s your own fault. You shouldn’t have lived so long!”
Grandma—thick or thin, short or tall, white-haired, gray-haired, curmudgeon—is to her grandchildren, someone who loves them. And that’s just it, I think: Grandmas are happier because they love, and are loved, unconditionally.