Did you have wonderful grandparents?

DonnaDecember 16, 2001

What made them so special to you? What memories stand out? Were you still close to them as you grew older and as adults? Our grandchild is just the sweetest thing on earth and we adore him, but I'm wondering what makes some grandparents just "the greatest"?

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Grandma always made me feel special because she always related to me in loving ways, Grandpa was great too but he died when I was 13 yrs old. We were like best friends ever since I was a child. She had been in a lot of weddings as a bridesmaid, but never the maid-of-honor. I didn't have a real wedding the first time around and then became a widow ten years later. When I married my current husband, we had a real nice wedding and she was my first choice as maid-of-honor, she was 77 yrs old at the time, and she was so thrilled. When she was too old to travel alone I always accompanied her on vacation. We are still close but she has a hard time getting around since she broke her hip last year and I have 3 teenagers to keep me busy. She lives 4 hours away (round trip) so I don't visit as often as I'd like but we talk on the phone a lot. I can't really answer your question about what exactly makes her the "greatest", it's just something you know and I have soooo many memories of fun things we did together all these years. I hope I can be a grandmother like her some day.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2001 at 8:25AM
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All of my grandparents are or were wonderful. The most precious memories to me are when they would just TALK to me about their lives. It's so much fun to hear about what it was like when my grandma was a little girl. And I recall with a great deal of fondness how my grandmother told me that I could be anything I wanted to be. This was one night when I stayed with her and we slept together and chatted all night long. I was about ten years old. I miss her so much now. She loved me no matter what I did :)

    Bookmark   December 16, 2001 at 9:41PM
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MauiSG and whazzup, Your grandparents sound wonderful, and each of you are pretty wonderful yourselves. Thanks, Donna

    Bookmark   December 17, 2001 at 2:33AM
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my grandmother was a mean bitter woman who screamed because leaves from the houseplants were fallig on the carpet
i avoided her

    Bookmark   December 17, 2001 at 11:08AM
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I had wonderful grandparents. I lost my remaining grandmother this year to old age.

The memories that stand out for my dad's parents... grandmom's perfume, the way granddad would always dance with me, the way they'd come down in the Summer and at Christmastime to visit with us (they lived out of state). The way no matter how busy and crazy things got while they were there, grandmom always had time for ME, just to sit and listen or to brush my hair or to talk to me, for me to show her my stupid drawings and stuff I did in school.

The best memory was when I was 17 yrs old at my sister's wedding. They videotaped me out on the dancefloor with my grandfather, boogying like mad, he was twirling me around in my long blue taffeta dress... I was all smiles. He died in 1997 and it hit me so hard I couldn't stop crying for days.

I was CLOSER to them both as I grew older. They of course lived a state away from me so after I had my own car it became more open for me to visit up there versus them trekking to us. Grandmom and I wrote letters back and forth (not email; actual hand written letters.. remember those?) and my granddad was the first to tell me that he didn't like something about my soon to be husband (which is now my ex... granddad KNEW everything...)

I have a framed pic of them in my bedroom. They were married for 67 years when granddad died.

My mom's parents are another story... Nana was always drunk or sick. She had zero interest in me or any of the other grandkids and we had to "force" family time together with her; she was an island. My mom's dad died when she was 18 so I never knew him. However Nana remarried a very stubborn German... "Papa"... who scared me to DEATH with the thick accent and his anger at everyone.

Guess that gives you two sides of a coin... great grandparents who were interested and loving, and grandparents who were around because they had to be.

My DD is closer to her father's parents than she is to mine, which is a good thing.. so far history is repeating itself. My ex-husband's parents are worshipful and loving towards DD. My mom is almost always drunk or sick and my dad is never around... when he is.. he is yelling at the grandkids (if and when they visit them...)

- darkeyedgirl

    Bookmark   December 19, 2001 at 3:22PM
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These comments are all very interesting. Some of them have shown me how to do it better, and some have shown me what I'm doing wrong. I tend to be an "island" even though I have love in my heart... it's just my strong leaning toward solitude. But I can see how it affects others and truly want to change it.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2001 at 4:44PM
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I sure do miss my maternal Scottish grandparents. They lived until their late 80's and even celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

My grandmother had a fondness for fine things and she worked hard to get them. She loved Royal Doulton figureines, Toby Jugs, crystal, china and fine linens. I used to love to help her dust the contents of her china cabinet.

Because of what my grandfather went through in WW1 my grandpa liked to drink and put my mom and her family through some hard times when they were growing up. I remember he used to yell at my grandmother a lot but she would give as good as he gave. It used to be funny listening to them because of the thick brogue. Och Aye.

As my grandfather got older he mellowed and only argued with my grandmas sister who lived with them. That was funny too! In the last week of his life my cousin and I went to visit him. To the shock of us both he apologized for how he treated people when he drank and for the hardships my grandma and his daughters went through.

Whenever we came into the house my grandfather would go into his drawer and give us candy. Or as I got older when I brought my friends to visit he would show off my grandma's china cabinet. He loved his Scottish music and I remember him doing jigs around the dining room table.

I remember my grandma and my great aunt walking down my street when they were older wearing the same bright red shoes caring a box of Kresge pastries.

The worse part was as a teenager going to their house and my great aunt and my grandma would compete in how much money they would give me before I left. It was only a dollar or two but they would try to top each other. I would thank them very much and then leave the money on a side table as I went out the door. I went to see them not for their money!

My grandmother taught me how to embroider, cross stitch and knit. She was a great one for making argyle socks and all the males in my family wore them. My brother even hung one on my fireplace for me last Christmas. I could never get the hang of more than one needle at a time! When I was little my grandmother would knit socks for the men in the veterans hospital in London Ontario. She passed on her love of fine things such as china and linens to me except I don't have a china cabinet to display my trove.

I miss her terribly. She got to meet all of her 11 great grandchildren.

The only sad part in all of this is that my own mother has Alzheimers. My mom will be 80 in February. She was diagnosed almost 9 years ago so youngest nieces and nephews only got to know a grandmother who cannot communicate with them. Two of my young nieces 13 and 16 help me out a lot and I have tried to make it a fun experience for them in that they will remember the silly times we had with my mom. My mom looks just like my grandmother when she was old and when my mom looks in the mirror I don't think she sees herself anymore only her mother.

I was fortunate having wonderful grandparents on both sides. Even a great grandmother. I have lots of memories of money trees, bananas growing on pear trees, banding piegeons with my grandpa and wheelbarrow rides. Some of my friends did not have grandparents so I would share mine.

I think by teaching your grandchild a skill when they are young such as stitching, painting, cooking, knitting, gardening, working on cars or just about your family history will bring them wonderful memories when they get older.
I am not a grandparent or a parent but just lurking in this forum brings back memories of my wonderful grandparents.

Happy Holidays to all.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2001 at 7:17PM
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I was so blessed to have the grandparents that I did. I traveled with them until school began and then in the summer. We stayed at beautiful hotels and ate in dining rooms with linens and crystal. This was such a contrast to home. I was thrilled with every minute I got to be with them. My grandfather was an avid gardener and very spring we would go to the nursery and buy flowers, I got to pick my own flat and plant them. Every spring he bought me glass windchimes. I now make my own in his honor. My grandmother never showed me anything but unconditional love. My favorite memory is of them in bed at night discussing their day and laughing. I would listen to them and feel so safe and happy. They alway held hands and my grandfather told her everyday that she was the most beautiful women he had ever seen. My fathers parents were cold unhappy people who did not enjoy their own children and certainly not their grandchildren! What a loss for them and all of us.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2001 at 10:54PM
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Thank you so much. These memories of your grandparents are so helpful and wonderful. I agree with Jenn, I'm also learning so much by reading your stories. What a difference it makes to try to be a good grandparent and how meaningful it is to a child to know someone absolutely adores you no matter what! That even if you live far away (we do), there can still be a close relationship. Honestly, some things you've written have brought me to the brink of tears, they are so endearing, or had me bursting with laughter (I can just see those women competing over who was going to give the most money before you left. Soooo sweet!) That special little rituals or repeated shared times are so important and create nice memories. So much more I could say, but we are heading back home for the holidays and will have to check back here later. Donna

    Bookmark   December 22, 2001 at 4:15AM
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I no longer have grandparents, but they were GREAT!! Each one was so differnet from the other, and I learned alot from them.

My maternal grandfather loved to build things. All 3 of his grandaughters have dollhouses he made. I recently passed mine along to my 5 year old. His favorite place was the local dump. As much as my grandmother hollered, he was always dragging something home. Once he found a huge box full of Lionel trains to add to his already large collection. Before he died, he split the collection, and each grandchild got a set.

My maternal grandmother was the stereotypical grandma. Wore an apron and baked cookies all the time. She was a junkfood junkie like me. We used to sit at her kitchen table until the wee hours of the morning playing Boggle, and eating chips and dip,and drinking Pepsi. I have most of the games that were hers, and I will one day play them with my kids.

My paternal grandfather died when I was about 11. I don't remember a whole lot about him. One memory that stands out is his last Christmas with my grandmother. He was too sick to shop for her, so he had given money to an aunt, and a list. As my grandma opened her gifts, he laid in his bed and cried, saying he was sorry that his gifts weren't good enough. One of the gifts was a Mickey Mouse telephone that she had been wanting for years. I have that telephone on my nightstand.

My paternal grandmother was a little on the strict side. She also liked to cook. She was the type of person that fed everyone that came through her front door. Even if you just stopped to drop something off, you ended up at the kitchen table.

They may not have left me with money or gold, but what I do have is worth far more than that!!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2001 at 11:27PM
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I only had 2. My mother's mother and my father's father. All the WONDERFUL qualities my beloved "Mama" possessed my grandfather lacked. We were extremely close to my grandmother. Her radient smile lit up any room she entered! She gave freely her unconditional love. She demonstrated to all of us that through hard work, diligent saving and never losing sight of your dreams that a person could accomplish anything they set their mind to. Whether it was family, friends, neighbors, fellow employees, church members, I never knew of a single person who wasn't captivated by her southern charm. It has only been since her death that I learned how unique an individual she really was. I miss you Mama. 'til we meet again.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2001 at 9:55AM
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Well, I am a little late in the thread, but for my two cents, my grandparents are wonderful( maternal side...never had the chance to know my paternal grandparents)!! I am blessed to still have them around at age 30, and am eternally grateful to still have them. I don't think I have much longer with my grandfather, which I have been struggling with because he has been the apple of my eye. I didn't have a good realtionship with my father growing up ( thankfully we have had a second chance and are now very close) and my grandfather gave me a solid male role model to look up to and respect. He is the reason I garden...his passion for it rubbed off on me. My grandmother also is a light in my life. She can be a bit stubborn at times, but geez, that's where I get my streak from. They have both always been loving and accepting of me regardless of how different of a child I could be. I have pretty much always taken the road less traveled, but they have always been respectful and accepting of my choices. They are old fashioned and set in their ways, but have always been so giving of themselves and their time to many others that were in need. I am fortunate to live close to them, so I get to see them as often as I can ( ususally at least once a month), and cherish the time I get to spend with them. I absolutely love to hear stories of their lives and am constantly prodding them to tell more. A few christmas's ago I gave them both a journal to write their stories so we would always have a piece of them to share with future generations. When they finally do go home, that is the one object of theirs that I want....the stories. I get all misty when I think of losing them, but I know as my mother has taught me that life is a cycle and death is part of that cycle, but my heart will still break when I lose them here on this earth. I have to remind myself that it is only temporary and i will see them again one day. They taught me some of the most important values that I have and I will always hold that close to my heart. I only wish everyone could know such a great realationship.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2002 at 3:40PM
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I have a wonderful grandma. She is in her late 70's and I have never seen her get angry; ever. Her house is such a haven of wonderful memories - tucking me in to bed at night, swinging on the porch swing, and wandering around her farm. The small town where they live is the one thing in my life that hasn't changed much, if any, since I was a child, and that's so comforting. I love to go back there to visit.

My grandfather on the other hand (her exhusband), was a stingy man who rarely showed his affection for his children or grandchildren. he drove a school bus for years and yet he never really liked kids. He wouldn't buy my mother glasses when she really needed them as a child until he suddenly gave in, as if he thought she were only doing it to be fashionable or something. We were never close - and I admire my mother for coming to terms with his 'behavior' and loving him for who he was. It's not that I didn't love him, I just never came to that acceptance that she did. After he died, she used money from the inheritance to pay for my wedding, which was wonderful. The only time in my life when I could say, "Let's buy this," without worrying. it was as if after all those years of inaffection justice was finally served!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2002 at 9:07PM
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My grandparents are two of the most wonderful people I know. They took a really active but grandparenty role in helping my mom bring up my brother and I by herself, although she didn't have a good relationship with them growing up, I know that now they make her very happy. When I used to get mad at my mom as a teenager she would say "some people believe that you choose your parents before you are born." I think that is true for both her and me even though neither of us thought it when we were young.

My GPs took us to meet our extended families on both sides, in Europe, and took us on all kinds of great trips, fishing, to yellowstone, disneyland. After every trip they made photo albums with narration about what we did and what all the educational things were and all the incredibly witty things we said along the way. We were their first grandchildren and my Grandpa retired I think two years after I was born, so they were very active up until recently. They lived two hours away - just enough so that visiting was frequent but more special than it would be if it was everyday. They always had us over for weeks at a time on school breaks, and we would play gin rummy and watch jeopardy together. When one of us got like ONE question right over a whole jeopardy show, they would go on and on about how smart we were, how we should be archaeologists or engineers or whatever the question related to. They looked at every worksheet and picture and report card and came to every play and dance recital and went crazy with praise. I still can't tell if they are honestly THAT impressed with every thing we do or if they are just incredibly supportive. They tell us great stories of things they did when they were growing up and all the things they admire about different members of the family. My grandpa has a great sense of humor which he passed on to my mom. My grandma worries more than anyone I've ever met, she is the only one in the family like that.

When I was in my last year of high school I was getting bored with school so I went to live with my grandparents and go to the community college by their house. I gained like 15 pounds because they were constantly shoving food at me and my grandma is an awesome cook. Me and my grandpa would sit at the dinner table and argue about politics for hours while my grandma sat and suffered - she hates confrontation but my grandpa and I knew we could disagree and still love each other. They wanted me to go to college in their town and live in their basement but I went somewhere about an hour away - I didn't think that was really the right place for my social life to develop. They came down every few months to stop by my house and read my papers and bring over a huge homemade lasagne and some cheddar cheese and V8 juice (my favorites) and tell me how proud they were.

Everyone who knows me agrees that I have the most terrific grandparents who ever lived. I only wish my grandpa was healthier. He is 93 and has a lot of physical problems, though luckily his mind is still very sharp. He is blind in one eye and nearly so in the other and still does two crossword puzzles a day and the jumble. I can't do the stupid jumble with both my eyes.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2002 at 4:36PM
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I did not have one good grandparent. They never attended things like graduation and other special events in my life, nor did any of them call to say congrats. Never heard from them on birthdays and holidays.

But, my son, has two sets of wonderful grandparents. We moved back with my parents the end of last year. Sometimes I bump heads with my mom about raising my son, but it is rare. They are great for him. They even got him a dog this Christmas and help take care of him. He always has someone to go to for help or just company. I have live-in sitters and the best part about it is when I have to work really late, he's had dinner and in his own bed when I get home.:-)

My son's dad lives in another state but his dad's mom and her husband live only 5 minutes from us. We did not get along so great in the beginning but it has all worked out. My son is now 7 and they pick him up from school every Wed. & Thurs unless something in their schedule prevents it. Wednesdays they go to the library & dinner and then he comes home. On Thurdays, they pick him up, go to the gym to play basketball, he spends the night with them and they take him to school in the morning. He gets his homework for the week every Monday so it is planned and he knows how to prepare his book bag to visit them. He is a very lucky little boy and he's even said it!!!!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2002 at 3:27PM
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