Getting real... plus GRAND Social No. 321 link party for grandparents

Getting real... plus GRAND Social No. 321 link party for grandparents

Getting real

My mom is struggling to survive stage 3 lung cancer. My firstborn will soon deliver her firstborn any day now. Somewhere in between my utter despair regarding the one end of life’s spectrum and my sheer delight related to the other is the space where I, a writer and blogger, should be writing and blogging.

But I don’t feel like…

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The Saturday Post: Mama Then & Now edition

The International Museum of Women recently launched Mama Then and Now, the latest gallery in the moving and thought-provoking online exhibition called MAMA: Motherhood Around the Globe.

MAMA: Motherhood Around the Globe explores the lives, visions and voices of mothers from more than 60 countries. Personal stories are shared through original creative works including film, music, art and more.

One of the highlights of Mama Then and Now is the following video in which women from around the world reflect on their personal motherhood experience and the generational differences between the grandmothers, mothers, and daughters of their families.

MAMA: Motherhood Around the Globe also offers in-depth looks at Heroes: International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, Activist Grandmothers, tongue-in-cheek, Facebook-inspired embroideries in a feature called Friend Me , and much, much more.

Take a look MAMA...then share it with the other mamas in your life.

Today's question:

How is your mothering and grandmothering experience different from your mother's and grandmother's?

The well-stocked grandma: What grandmas need

The other day I stood before my postage scale, weighing a package I'd put together to mail off to Bubby and Baby Mac—Batman jammies for Bubby, a cute short set for Baby Mac, and a special toy for each—when I thought, "Here is yet another thing I've purchased, yet another thing I needed as a grandma."

It's not the Batman jammies I considered a grandma necessity—though considering Bubby's Batman infatuation, purchasing the set when I saw it in Target did indeed feel urgent and necessary. No, it's the postage scale that was a true and necessary addition to my house since becoming a grandma. I mail a lot of packages, and it's so much easier to do it all without leaving home (or standing in long post office lines) thanks to a scale, a account, and a friendly neighborhood mailman willing to pick up from my doorstep.

Maybe only long-distance grandmas need a postage scale, but there's no doubt every grandma has had to stock up on myriad goods and gadgets to make the grandparenting gig run a lot more smoothly when the grandkids visit.

well stocked grandma.jpg

Below is a list of things I found to be must-haves and life-savers when I happily host my grandsons. Most I've accumulated little by little—which is really a lot considering I've only been at this less than four years—and a few remain on my wishlist. New grandmas and grandmas-to-be may want to print and post the list in a prominent place, then plead with family and friends to help stock the house with the grandma necessities.

Grandma necessities:

• portable crib or play pen

• sheets and receiving blankets

• baby monitor

• baby bottles and baby utensils—for babies, of course

• toddler feeding sets—bowls, plates, and utensils for those who feed themselves

• sippy cups

• baby gates

• child-proofing gadgets for outlets, doorknobs, cabinets, toilet seats

• bulb syringe—just in case Mom forgets to pack it

• baby bathtub and bathing supplies (mini towels and washcloths plus shampoos, lotions, etc.)

• bathtub ring (the ones with suctions cups) to keep safe those too big for the baby tub but not yet stable in the real bath tub

• non-skid appliques for the bathtub bottom

• nightlight for guest room

• booster seat for feeding at the table (or heck, spring for a real highchair)

• potty chair

• step stool to access the real potty

• age-appropriate toys (for indoor and out), art & activity supplies, books, movies, and music

• car seat for transporting (especially handy for grandmas who help out regularly with daycare, or when traveling to and from the airport with long-distance lovies)

• the aforementioned postage scale for long-distance grandmas

• a web camera—not just for long-distance grandmas

• Bubby's favorite: Gloworms for bedtime (this grandma's saved from when Bubby's mom was little)

• And, of course, a rocking chair

I must say that with all that's necessary when stocking Grandma's house, I'm baffled as to why baby showers for grandmas-to-be have not become a trend among today's extra-involved and uber-attentive generation of grandparents.

baby in bucket photo: stock.xchng

Today's question:

What other necessities should be found in a well-stocked grandma's house?

In search of the grandmother 'hood

The following words and their definitions are easily found in any dictionary:

Motherhood: 1. The state of being a mother. 2. The qualities of a mother. 3. Mothers considered as a group. 

Sisterhood: 1. The state or relationship of being a sister or sisters. 2. The quality of being sisterly. 3. A society, especially a religious society, of women. 4. Association or unification of women in a common cause. 

Fatherhood: 1. The state of being a father. 2. The qualities of a father. 3. Fathers considered as a group. 

Brotherhood: 1. The state or relationship of being brothers. 2. Fellowship. 3. An association of men, such as a fraternity or union, united for common purposes. 4. All the members of a profession or trade. 

Neighborhood: 1. A district or area with distinctive characteristics. 2. The people who live near one another or in a particular district or area. 3. The surrounding area; vicinity.

Alas, there is no grandmotherhood, though. At least not as a word in the dictionary. I've looked...several times, in several different versions. Not even in the Urban Dictionary.

Let there be no doubt, though, that the concept of grandmotherhood does indeed exist. It's evidenced by the awesome group of grandmothers and others who gather here on Grandma's Briefs. Who gather and comment and support one another on any grandma blog, any grandparent blog, any grandparent site, on Facebook, on Twitter and beyond. And who gather face to face, be it at one another's kitchen tables, in the shared pews of churches, at a favorite dining—or drinking—spot for "grandmas night out." A network equally as strong as brotherhoods, sisterhoods, and other 'hoods deserves to be equally named.

When obnoxious and obscure terms such as bromance, clickjacking, and the ever-so-freakin'-annoying nom nom that makes me throw up a little in my mouth every time I read it make their way into the dictionary, I don't understand why grandmotherhood—grandmothers considered as a group—is absent. It's not obnoxious. It's not obscure. And it doesn't, I daresay, cause anyone to throw up in their mouth even just the eensiest of bits when considered. Grandmotherhood is a true and tangible state that should be recognized, yet isn't.

It's time to change that. I propose we join together to ask where's the 'hood? At least in name. In every other way we know exactly where the 'hood is: It's in our online connections, our networking with like-minded grandmothers. It's evident in the places where our heartstrings are plucked upon hearing the plight—or the joy—of fellow grandparents we've never even met, likely never will. It's unmistakeable in our shared hugs, virtual and otherwise. It's in the stories we tell one another, the photos we share, the genuine concern and care for others who have been there, who are there right alongside us. It's for real, and the lack of a word to define the concept belittles the state we're in, the connection we have.

We are a 'hood. We are the grandmotherhood.

I want us to be recognized.

I want us to be heard.

I want us to have a word.

Photo: stock.xchng

Today's fill-in-the-blank:

I think the word(s) _________ should be struck from the dictionary for good.