Grilled Grandma: Grandma Aletha

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How many children do you have? I have two sons.

How many grandchildren? What are their ages? I have two grandchildren, a girl, 13 years and a boy, 8 years . Their father is my older son.

What do your grandchildren call you? Nana, my husband is G’Pa


After the initial elation, what was your first concern upon hearing you would soon be a grandmother? At that time, my son and his wife lived 2000 miles away, so I was disappointed we would not be with them for the birth and would not get to see the baby often. Their baby daughter was 5 weeks old when we first met and held her. Fortunately, they were able to move back to Oklahoma when she was 6 months old and have been here ever since. We met her brother on day one.


How often do you get to see your grandchildren? Usually once a week, occasionally more.

What is the best thing about being a grandma? As most grandparents say, it’s having the fun without the responsibility. I know grandparents who are raising their grandchildren and I feel sorry that they are missing the opportunity to just be grandparents.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma? Not having had a role model. Both of my grandmothers died before I was born, so I never experienced a grandmother. Also, the fact that anything that happens to your grandchild also happens to your child, so adversity can be doubly painful, but happiness doubles too.

In addition to "grandmother," what other hats do you wear? Wife of a Vietnam veteran, family practice physician, mother of a son planning a wedding, DAR member, ballroom dancer, blogger, philanthropist

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud. Now that she is a teenager, my granddaughter doesn’t do or say many ”cute” things, but sometimes when she is interacting with her brother she will blurt out something funny. My grandson always has something clever to say; sometimes his G’Pa will be teasing him and he will say back, “G’Pa, quit talking nonsense.” And then we all laugh.

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house? and What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house? I’m combining these questions. We share a get-away house at a nearby lake. So we go together on weekends in the summer and swim, fish, and ride in my son’s boat. In the evenings we watch movies or play board games. We take walks, look for wildlife. And eat.

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What/where has been your favorite family vacation? We have taken 2 family vacations—first to Disney World/Universal Studios two summers ago, and more recently a ski trip to Colorado (although I no longer ski). The grandkids tried skiing and ice skating for the first time.

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits? We see them often enough that we stay connected well. My granddaughter has her own cell phone so I can call or text her. Their mom posts photos of their activities on Facebook.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren? Happy family memories

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you? Love

What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent? Most things I worry about turn out well.

What is one thing (or more) you're proud to say you do right as a grandma? We offer advice and help when asked, but we don’t butt in, interfere, criticize, or make demands. We let the parents be the parents. Fortunately, we think our son and daughter-in-law do a wonderful job as parents. Their children have had some challenging medical issues, and they deal with it well.

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma? Don’t forget you are still a parent. Your children still need you, just in a different way.

Is there anything else you would you like to add about being a grandmother? Adding grandchildren to a family changes other relationships. Now I see my son as a father; his brother is now Uncle; my husband, a Grandfather, etc. This year we gained a teenager again and will add an aunt. It creates new interactions, dynamics, and expectations. Life is a little more complicated, but also more exciting and interesting.

Do you have a website or blog? What is the URL and what is it about? Watercress Words,a blog that explores and shares the HEART of health: As a family practice physician, I offer my patients and my blog readers information and inspiration to transform their health challenges into health opportunities.

Do you have other works you'd like to share (published pieces, charitable causes to promote, home biz, etc)? I offer pure, safe, and beneficial skin care products and make-up as an Arbonne Independent Consultant at

I support many health, educational, and faith-based charities which I talk about on my blog

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