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Grandparent Caregivers

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Release Date: 11/16/2020

The Power of Story, Part 3 show art The Power of Story, Part 3

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Emily wraps up the third episode on "the power of stories" with a chat with an executive from Scholastic, Inc.--the source of all those books sold to grade-school students from newsletters and book fairs. Their conversation took place just before World Read-Aloud Day, which framed their talk about grandparents reading aloud to their grands. THE STRETCH IT TAKES (Emily's Essay): The Genetics of Reading   When I visited the home of my maternal grandparents, I don’t remember seeing a book in any room of the house. It was a stark contrast to our own house with books in each room and a...

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The Power of Story, Part 2 show art The Power of Story, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Continuing the theme from last episode, Emily speaks with a 93-year-old grandfather, author, and active advocate of capturing and then "unleashing" grandparent stories. His creative partner in their website adds helpful details about a program that helps grands become powerful and prolific story-makers. SHOW NOTES Jerry and Deanna's website is grandparentsunleashed.com, and  Jerry's book is The Grandest Love, available .

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The Power of Story, Part 1 show art The Power of Story, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

How well do your grands know your story? Emily travels (virtually) to Trinidad to speak with Felicia Chang, a professional in the area of capturing the personal stories of our families, with a special emphasis our elders. Your story has worth and power...and is of priceless value to your grands. EPISODE NOTES Felicia Chang's TEDx Talk about how the stories of our loved ones connect us all is . Her business has a and a . This is Felicia with her dear grandmother, the subject of her movie and the inspiration of her view on capturing stories.

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Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 2 show art Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Continuing last episode's theme, this time Emily talks with a grandparent in the US and a parent in France whose extended relationships span oceans, languages, and cultures. Adventure seasoned with selflessness is the recipe. THE STRETCH IT TAKES (Emily's essay)   “We’re moving to Brussels.” Those words shocked me even though I was twenty-one, living in my own apartment and working on my graduate degree. My parents called from NH to inform me that my dad had taken a job in Belgium. “Where is that?” was my immediate reply. (I was in grad school for English Lit, and obviously...

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Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 1 show art Distance/Global Grandparenting, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Back in Season 2, we did an episode on Long-Distance Grandparenting which proved to be a popular subject. When the distances are really long--international--you'd think it would be harder. The pandemic has made distance less of a factor that it once was, so experienced global grandparents can teach lessons almost all of us can apply. EPISODE SHOW NOTES Learn more about Emily's guest, author Helen Ellis, at https://www.distancefamilies.com. Her book will be out in April, 2021. 

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Grandparent Educators, Part 2 show art Grandparent Educators, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Some grandparents have the time, talent, and access to become directly involved with their grands' education. Emily talks with two grandparents and a teacher who have done or seen this firsthand, which may give you ideas on how to approach this in your extended family. SHOW NOTE Learn more about Emily's third guest, Sandra Williams, from her and her book, .  

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Grandparent Educators, Part 1 show art Grandparent Educators, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

Grandparents can play a range of roles in their grands' education. In Part 1 on this topic, Emily talks with a retired teacher whose journey through racial segregation in the 1950s shaped her commitment to supporting the schooling of her descendants. Emily's essay is a revealing self-portrait of a third grader, a pen pal, and a missed opportunity Emily's guest Kaaren Rodman provides details on her family's scholarship: "Our family has set up a scholarship that is awarded through the Indianapolis Urban League. Mike and I did smaller grants for several years in the 90's, one for each set of...

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Grandparent Love, Part 2 show art Grandparent Love, Part 2

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

The centerpiece of this episode is Emily's interview with best-selling author Barbara Graham, who has written about the collected experiences of gifted and famous grandmothers. There are lessons to be learned from her work... and from Emily's essay about loving our grands well with the time we find. Learn more about Emily's guest and her work at .    The Stretch It Takes: Competing With Time (Emily's Essay)   If there’s one thing that this pandemic has taught me, it’s that time looks and feels different to different people, depending on their age and their...

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Grandparent Love, Part 1 show art Grandparent Love, Part 1

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

To begin Season 4, Emily talks with two members of her network on how to put our love for our grands into action--with purpose, and intentionality, and clever ideas.  The payoff is a richer relationship, even when it's largely a long-distance one. To learn more about our two guests visit and .         

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Spotlight on Emily show art Spotlight on Emily

The Grand Life: Wholehearted Grandparenting

While we take a break between seasons of The Grand Life Podcast, we're inviting host Emily Morgan to the guest's chair for a change. With husband and producer Mike, she covers choosing content, finding guests, and balancing the living of The Grand Life with her podcasting about it.

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More Episodes

Grandparents who become caregivers for their grands are taking on a big challenge--lots of physical and mental work, and a wonderful payoff, potentially. This episode is packed with observations and insights from experts, grandparents, and moms.

SHOW NOTES

Fern Schumer Chapman is the co-author of Happy Harper Thursdays.

Rolanda T. Pyle is the author of Grandma's Hands and has a website with ideas and observations on grandparenting. For more info and resources for grandparents, she recommends:

--local area agencies on aging
--Kinship Navigator programs in your area
--Generations United
--Grandfamilies.org

 

EMILY'S ESSAY (The Stretch It Takes)

With nine grandchildren, five of whom live within a mile of me, I figured it was only a matter of time before I might be called upon to help with childcare. I looked forward to the chance, and so when one of our daughters who was working as a nurse asked me if I could watch her baby, our newest granddaughter, I was thrilled. 

I saw it as a chance to bond in a way that I had missed with our first four grandchildren who lived a long distance away. I was also happy to brush up on the newest child care methods and equipment. It had been a long time since I had used a car seat, a baby swing, or a nursery monitor. Surely all these things would come in handy! I wondered if I would be rusty when it came to changing diapers ,or rocking a baby to sleep.

Here’s some of what I learned. I learned that when you’re in your mid-50s, buckling and unbuckling a car seat can be painful. Discerning the movements on a blurry nanny cam can sometimes be tricky. And bouncing a fretful baby can be hard on the legs. 

But what I didn’t need to re-learn was how to love and snuggle a newborn. That came back to me in an instant. There is nothing like nuzzling the crook of a baby's neck for me to feel unparalleled euphoria.  And eliciting a smile from that little baby was like someone had handed me a gift I got to unwrap over and over. 

Those things came easy, and often, in those early days of caring for her. 

The other thing that came back to me in an instant was my lack of boundaries. I had a hard time saying no when called upon to fill in or stay longer.  What’s interesting about taking care of an infant  is that whether it’s your own baby or your grandbaby, the issue of taking care of yourself still comes into play. 

Is there a point in your grandparenting where you need to step in and say you can’t do something? Yes. It’s hard. We want to be there for our children and our grandchildren, but honestly, it’s taxing and tiring, and we do have limits...at least I do. 

My adult  children have taught me that boundaries are important. I didn’t have boundaries as a young mother. I sacrificed and gave of myself so much.  Too much. I remember fantasizing about having to be hospitalized just so I could get some rest. I had given birth to four children in four and half years, and I was perpetually exhausted. 

And now as a grandmother, with more limitations on my stamina and a gaggle of grandchildren to support with time and energy, I am realizing that there are times when I have to say “no, thank you, not today” when I’m called to watch a grandchild or attend a soccer game, or go to the zoo. 

What has been wonderful to watch is that my own children have developed boundaries of their own. They set aside family time, they decline sometimes when I invite them over to dinner, and they aren’t always quick to come over and help if they are otherwise engaged. I support that, and am trying hard to adopt that way of thinking. 

I have learned from them that I don’t always have to say, “Yes” and that what I want is equally important in the equation. This has not been easy for me. Saying yes, for me, was the same as saying I love you. I forget that I need to love myself sometimes. It’s getting easier as I go. I have figured out a good balance. Sometimes I willingly make sacrifices, and other times I recognize I have reached a limit. 

For the most part, I have removed the word “should” from my vocabulary. I also am less generous with the words “I’m sorry” and use that only when I’m looking for true forgiveness, not when I’m just placating someone. 

The best part of boundaries is this: if you model them, then others around you will do the same and there will be much less resentment and tension. I didn’t do a great job of it as a young mom, but fortunately, I have been given a second chance as a grandmother to show my grandchildren what it means to stand up for themselves... and to measure their own happiness not by what they should do, but what they want to do...for the good of themselves, and others. 

© 2020 Emily Morgan