Mimi, Grammy, Nana, GiGi, Oma, Grandma . . . they’re all terms of endearment for one of the most important roles in life’s second act: grandparenting.
Author of I Choose You Today and Gigi to 6 boys, Deb DeArmond joins us today to share about her precious “littles” and what she’s learned about being a grandmom. Comment below to enter to win a copy of Deb’s latest release. Welcome Deb!
What do you remember about the time you first found out you were going to become a grandmother? Where were you? How did your daughter/son tell you?
I work from a home office and was in the middle of a client phone call one afternoon. A knock at the door revealed a floral delivery man. He had a beautiful arrangement and asked me to sign for it. I was curious, but in the middle of working through details for an upcoming conference with my contact on the phone, so I set them on the dining table and returned to my office.
As the call was winding down I wandered back to the flowers and pulled the card from the envelope. It read, “Congratulations, Gigi!”
The card was unsigned, and initially I thought it had come to the wrong address. But a beat later, I realized it was the method my son and his wife had chosen to announce they were expecting. At that moment, I shrieked into the phone, startling my poor colleague who must have thought I was crazy!
What is your grandmother name? Did you choose it or did it choose you?
I am Gigi. My son chose it for me. When I asked why, he remarked, “ Grandma sounds like an old lady with knitting. Gigi sounds younger and sexier. It suits you.” I can’t recall a time I ever loved him more!
Do you live near or far from your grandchildren? If near, how often do you see your grandchild?
I am now blessed with six grandchildren – all boys! Four live within 5 minutes (my younger two sons and their families). My oldest son and his wife live on the west coast, while we are in Texas. I am grateful to see them two or three times a year.
If at a distance, how do you stay in touch? Do you use technology, like Facetime or Skype?
Facebook gives us the opportunity to stay connected. My daughter-in-law and son post photos and videos regularly. We’ve used Skype a time or two, but the boys are quite young – 18 months and 4 months old – so it’s still a bit of a challenge to corral them!
What’s your favorite activity to do with your grandchildren?
No surprise – I love to read with them. I’ve rediscovered the joy of coloring! We do that together, and the park to feed the ducks is a favorite destination.
How does the reality of being a grandmother fit with what you expected it to be? Any surprises?
I’m not sure I had any specific expectations. And every day with these six is a surprise! I’m stunned at how often I see my son’s faces, expressions and personalities in these sweet little boys.
New mothers tend to be targets for well-meaning advice givers. So are new grandmothers. Have you received any unasked for grandparenting advice? Care to share?
I’m open to whatever other grandmoms want to share. Interestingly my sisters-in-law and my best friend all became grandmothers about the same time and so we’ve shared tips and ideas for doing things with the littles.
My best grandmother advice is “don’t give advice!” Let the new parents discover their own path. If they need my help – they’ll ask, or God’s Spirit will nudge me. I think it’s important for grandmothers to refrain from comparing how their children are raising their kids to the way we raised our own. There’s a tendency for us to use our experience as a measuring stick and others will always come up short. Remember that different is not wrong, it’s just different.
Do you have any book suggestions about being a grandmother?
Courageous Grandparenting from The Christian Grandparenting Network. My friend Cavin Harper and his wife established the non-profit years ago to help Christian grandparents learn to do it well. They are a fabulous resource. They can be found at http://www.christiangrandparenting.net
Any favorite book suggestions for grandmothers to read aloud to their grandchildren?
Bible stories from my old “Bible Stories for Children.” My aunt gave it to my mom when I was a toddler. It’s a treasure. But we also love Disney stories – both new and old.
We hope we’ll all be around for a very, very long time. But in the event that rapture does not come in our lifetime, what do you hope your grandchildren will remember about you?
My prayer is they recall that they were a priority in my life. When they come into the house, they come before the book deadline or other work tasks. And I hope they will remember the fierce love I have for each of them!
[Tweet “Don’t give advice about parenting. Let them discover their own path @DebDeArmond #grandmotherlove”]
What grandparenting advice have you received (or given) that you abide by? Share in the comment section for a chance to win a copy of I Choose You Today!
Deb DeArmond is an author, a speaker, and relationship coach—helping her clients improve their interactions at work and at home. Her first book, Related by Chance, Family by Choice: Transforming Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationships was released in November 2013 by Kregel Publications.
Deb’s passion is family dynamics including marriage, grandparenting, in-law and extended family relationships. Abingdon Press released her newest book, I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last on January 6, 2015. She’s currently working on a book about marital conflict, also for Abingdon Press.
Deb is a monthly columnist for LifeWay’s Mature Living, as well as a regular contributor to WHOA for Women, a monthly publication for Christian women.
Deb is wife to her high school sweetheart. Mom to three incredible sons and daughters-in-law. Gigi to six perfect grandboys.
Deb and her husband Ron, live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Learn more about Deb, her books, and her speaking ministry at Family Matters/Deb DeArmond and My Purpose Now.
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Grandchildren are God’s gift to empty nesters.
I won your new book I Choose You Today from a Raffle copter drawing when Robin Lee Harcher featured you on her blog. Looking forward to reading it soon. I’ve been married 46 years but still need advice about my marriage. We have entered the retirement years and it’s taking some getting used to having him here all the time.
I’m a Mimi to two – a boy and a girl! So much fun and pure delight! Love that we live close so I’m involved in their everyday lives and have been since their births. I pick them up from school these days – they’re almost 10 and almost 7 – 1st & 4th graders. God’s greatest blessings for sure!
Deb–Thank you so much for your interview. Loved reading about how you found out you were going to be a grandmother. Really enjoyed learning more about you and I look forward to reading your book! Warmly, Suzanne
Do not interfere in discipline. And I have to say, this is not always easy. There are times that “oh he/she is just being a child” (the grandma voice) wants to override the “I’m so proud they aren’t those parents who are afraid to discipline their children”.
My grandmother died when I was only 8 years old…and my grandfather–who lived a distance away, passed when I was 18. The thing I remember about both of them was the unconditional love…and that’s what I endeavor to do with my grandchildren. They are almost grown now also…and I miss having little ones running around.
Don’t sweat the small stuff and give an over abundance of love. I tell my two daughters that they are my favorite and my three granddaughters that they are my favorite!
i am not yet a grandma, but i cant wait to be a “lola” (in filipino language that is grandma & i like how it sounds!) . i think grandma sounds too old (no offense at all to any grandmas out there, i had two beautiful, wonderful grandmas, its just my preference is all). i havent given any advice to grandmas, that is definitely not my place! and im not yet a grandma so i havent gotten any advice yet, but i would love to be entered in your contest to read your book and then share it with my mother and daughter. we are all avid readers! thank you! Pat