By Tracy A. Franklin
My grandma was the kind of grandma that canned veggies from her garden, strangled chickens that she raised, gutted and cleaned hogs for curing, sewed quilts and dresses, went to town once a week for supplies that she didn’t make or grow and helped grandpa during tobacco harvesting time. She put on her “Sunday best” wig and hat, donned her deaconess white suit and vinyl black handbag with the customary mints with the hint of moth balls. She lined us all up for Saturday night baths in that big ol’ washing tub and scrubbed the skin off of us! Grandma wore knee highs that she knotted at the thighs and cat eye classes. During the weekdays she wore her house “frock” with her everyday apron and Saturdays she wore her “Second best.” She fed the tall wiry fire and brimstone preacher and his mean ol’ hawk nosed wife Sunday dinner. Grandma reigned Queen and all of us adored her. During the summer she would have just about all her grandchildren around her. All 27. Before she died she had fifteen great grands. She was a faithful and loving wife and mother and strict but affectionate grandma.
I am SO different. I’m a forty-something year old grandma to four rambunctious boys (ages 3.5, 2, 1.5 years old and a 2 month old). My husband and I have 4 children, (son-27, daughter-26, daughter-22, son-16) Our grand-blessings come by way of the girls. Let me just say this: God knew what he was doing when he gave the girls sons and not daughters! Thank you Jesus, I can’t deal with mini hormones at this stage in my life!
Being a grandmom (Mom as they call me) is the next most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. I get to love my Littles with abandon. I’m young enough to remember the mistakes I made with my children and can impart my wisdom to my children so they can avoid the heartache and drama. When we do the math I’m not so far from them in understanding. My kids and I often listen to the same music and discus current trends. They are always frustrated that I get the new tech gadgets and can actually USE them before they do!
The best part of my being a grandmom at a young age is that I still have energy to run and play with my boys! They are so active and inquisitive and it takes a LOT of stamina to keep up with them. My husband and I often sit back and watch them move non-stop between three rooms. We don’t sleep. We’re scared to. They watch us. Seriously. Up til a few months ago the boys would be put to bed in their uncles bedroom. They would watch him until he fell asleep and then creep out the room. All of the sudden there’s a pitter patter of two pairs of feet and then the banging open of our bedroom door and two squiggly bodies jumping on our bed. I can’t remember EVER being allowed free access to my grandparent’s bed. I guess we’re different because it doesn’t seem to0 long ago that our own kids would crawl into our bed so it just seems par for the course that the grands would do the same. Night time terrors, diaper changes, and feedings; it was just an extension of our parenting.
Becoming grandparents when most women my age are just starting to procreate seems out of the norm but in actuality this is not a new phenomenon. Fifteen years ago grandmoms my age meant that grandmom got knocked up in her teens and now her teen is a mom, hence, grandmom becomes a grand while in her mid thirties. It was a badge of shame.
Now I’m not glorifying teenage pregnancy but I’m not hiding in shame because I became a grandmother when I was 39. It was the best birthday gift I could have ever been given. I saw my first grandchild being born. My grands are my children and my grandchildren. My hubby and I plan for them like we plan for our children. The boys have two homes, one with their parents and one with us. There is no need for diaper bags and extra clothes. When mommy and daddy drop them off they don’t need to leave anything because its already here; toys snacks, clothes. I guess you could call it co-parenting.
BMWK family are you a modern day granny or do you know one? What memories do you have of your old school grandma?
Tracy Franklin is a full-time student, majoring in English and History. She is also a wife, homemaker, mom and grandmom. Her days reading, driving folks around and living on call. Her blog is currently under construction.