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Stories of Grateful Grandmothers Giving Thanks for Seconds

Updated on September 6, 2017
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For MsDora—teacher, counselor, mother, and grandmother—holidays and family make the perfect blend for good times and pleasant memories.

After our first plate of food from the Thanksgiving dinner table, we take second portions from the dishes we enjoyed. We intend to build on the satisfaction of the first round. Just so, grandchildren (our second serving of parenting opportunities) offer us the chance to build on the joy of our first experience. The second time around, with less anxieties and more wisdom, we anticipate deeper fulfillment in our bonus attempt to love and be loved. We are hopeful and grateful!

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The grandchildren also get their double share. Their first serving comes from their parents who love them with all their hearts, while learning by trial and error when and how to express that love. The children get seconds from grandparents who have been there, done that and realized that continual unconditional love is the way to go.

During our Thanksgiving Season this year, let’s not take our second chances for granted. Some of my friends who are grandmothers share with us the seconds for which they are grateful. The stories, except the names, are real.


Lisa, a retired grandmother, is grateful this year for a second opportunity to use her time wisely. In a recent conversation with her preschooler grandson, she listened to his creative story-telling about a monkey in a tree. Parts of it were not making sense to her, and she knew that with her own child, she would have ruled the story nonsensical and moved on to another topic or another activity more worthy of her time. Not that she would have been proud of that decision, but that’s just the way it was for a busy mom.

“Now,” she says, “I give the grandchildren more time to talk. I listen more. I spend more time trying to understand their thoughts. I even get down on the floor for the conversation. It is difficult to get down, but I have the time to do it slowly, and even more time for the effort to get back up.”



Joyce likes the grandmother image of Tyler Perry's Madea who establishes a no-nonsense code of conduct for the children, but is patient as she affirms and empowers them. The last of fourteen children, Joyce is grateful for the examples of her mother and older sisters who rewarded hard work, but as a grandmother she believes that the love and patience which inspire the results are just as important.

She recalls an incident in which her son had picked up his clothes and washed them without being told. Looking back, she should have commended him for his willingness to be responsible, and to help lighten her housekeeping load. Instead, she fretted over the fact that he did not seek instructions and that he had not done a perfect job. Since becoming a grandmother, she displays a different attitude.

“I pick my fights,” she says. “I have learned not to fuss over every little mistake the children make. I even let them know that I notice their good points. I am thankful for this second opportunity to practice patience in my efforts to help the children grow into the men and women we all want them to be.”


Rachel says, “I wished that I had prayed more, with and for my children. Most times I depended on my own strategies for their basic survival, when I should have taught them early how to depend on God. I’m making up with their children for my negligence with them, and I thank God for the opportunity to do that.”

This grandmother lives miles away from her grandchildren. She prays for them daily, but whenever they visit (and they do regularly), she has prayer time on the schedule. Some are old enough to say what they worry about, or what challenges they face at school or at home. She listens to their prayer requests. Then she prays with and for her grandchildren.

“This way” Rachel adds, “my grandchildren are helping me pray for their parents, just in case they (the parents) did not learn enough from me.”


Appearance means everything to Mona who likes to dress up in glitzy elegance. She enjoyed shopping for her two daughters until they began to state their preferences. Imagine her surprise when both of them abandoned the fashionable frills she bought them. One opted for plain shirt dresses in earth tones; the other preferred jeans and farmer overalls.

When Mona found out that her first daughter was pregnant, she anticipated a second chance at shopping for dresses with matching socks, shoes and hair bows. Though disappointed, she shopped for her first grandson with the same enthusiasm she would have shopped for a girl. At twenty-something, he is still satisfied with what she buys. That is the extent of her success as a second chance shopper.

Her second grandchild, now a young woman, has also abandoned Mona's style of dress, for what her grandmother calls a "half-naked pauper look." Mona still hopes that her second daughter will have daughters who appreciate feminine elegance. Presently, she is grateful that through her grandson, she offers classy women the handsome image of a well-dressed man to behold.



MaryAnn’s grandchildren are young adults dealing with the issues that come with the desire for independence: finances, housing, career and so on. Discussions with their parents often turn into conflict, creating new problems. Then they reach out to MaryAnn who is expected to mediate and advise.

“I wish that I had given my children better answers when they asked for help with their problems,” the grandmother says. “Now I have to do for my grandchildren what I did not equip their parents to do for them. And all it takes is talking, and talking, and more talking until we come up with an idea on which we all agree; and that’s usually the answer.”

“So why didn’t you do that with your children, MaryAnn?”

“I hadn’t figured it out yet. Also, long conversations are easier with the grandchildren. Thank God, I’m still around to help them sort out their lives.”

For what second chances will you give thanks during the Thanksgiving season?

See results

© 2017 Dora Isaac Weithers


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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 34 hours ago from Houston, Texas

      I was so fortunate to grow up as a youngster with grandparents nearby. I think that children are truly blessed to have not only their parents but also grandparents from which to learn and be loved. I liked the premise of this post that of giving thanks for seconds.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 days ago from The Caribbean

      Dianna, it is truly a blessing to enjoy that second chance. I pray that experience for you and every other feminine heart.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 days ago

      So inspiring to read your article. I remember my mother's prayers for my son. They made such a difference in his walk of faith. Second chance to pray more often with my grandchildren would be so awesome!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 10 days ago from The Caribbean

      DDE, it is my pleasure to write for grandmas. Both Tyler Perry and Madea are practical and loveable.

    • profile image

      DDE 10 days ago

      Beautiful for grandmas. Tyler Perry is Awesome!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Congratulations and Merry Christmas all in one! I'm happy for you being a first time Grandma. Thanks for sharing.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 weeks ago from California

      I am going to be a first time grandma in December! So your words touched me deeply today!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      That's great Denise! Not as many parents get a second chance with their children as those who get it with their grandchildren. What a blessing! Thanks for sharing.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 weeks ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      For me, the most important second chance has been helping my children work through the emotional issues they face during the difficulties of their lives. When they were at home, I was often emotionally out of sync myself, and didn't really see when they needed me. Now that my own emotional issues are being well-managed, I am able to help them learn how to manage theirs!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you, Responsible. I think that saying is true for grandmothers as well as people in other roles. I appreciate your comment.

    • Responsible Woman profile image

      Women Articles 3 weeks ago

      Dora, I totally agree with the Answer ' Sometimes second chances work out better than the first because you already learned from your mistakes’. And I love your article about how Grandmothers give thanks for second.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Paul. You made me smile as you spelled out Madea, and again with your insight of prototypes and perfect products. I appreciate your input. Best to you and family!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 3 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Dora...I absolutely LOVE Madea!! "M-A-to the D E A!" I've watched Tyler Perry's movies a dozen times and laugh as hard each time.

      I've often realized that our precious grandchildren are the gift we're given for struggling for years through ups & downs & start-overs with their parents! I've thought maybe instead of saying I had 4 sons, I should say, "Well, I built 4 prototypes, and now I have 12 PERFECT products!!" LOL

      I enjoy your articles. Peace, Paula

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Peg. My four-year experience as a grandmother has awakened me to the importance of second chances in this life-changing business.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 3 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      I love the comparison of seconds at Thanksgiving to the opportunities with grandchildren. With age and experience wisdom does come in so many ways as we continue to learn. The examples of grand parents and their experiences were a wonderful addition to this.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Linda. If the grandmas maximized this opportunity, there would be so much gain to the children, and to the world.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is another lovely article, Dora. A second chance is a wonderful opportunity, expecially when it involves children.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Jane, we are grateful for Skype and other media tools that keep us connected with our loved ones. Even if you and your grand kids cannot visit often, "I love you" will feed their sense of value and belonging. Best to you and them, going forward!

    • Jane51 profile image

      Jane51 3 weeks ago

      Love this hub Dora!! I agree with you that there is so much you wish you knew the first time with your own children but it's so wonderful to be able to advise and help with the grandkids when you have now so much experience and lessons learned. I miss my grandkids who all live far away from me. Skype is a wonderful way of keeping in touch....

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Mary, it seems that you did the best you could with your circumstances. Nowadays, there are Skype, Facetime and the like to replace the cassettes, so it gets better. Good mothers make good grandmothers so you can look forward to your second chances. Thanks for sharing.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 3 weeks ago from Brazil

      Oh Dora, I love this. It saddens me that I didn't live nearer my Mother that she could have had a second chance with my kids. Although we wrote and sent cassette tapes back and forth, I don't feel there was that connection.

      When we were together, we always had fun as a large extended family.

      I look forward to exercising my second chance if I am ever blessed with grandchildren.

      Wonderful stories and an excellent way to showcase the opportunity of being a grandparent.

      I always told my kids, they didn't come with a guidebook.

      As you say, now we have experience, wisdom, and patience.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Jackie, for us who think like you, there should be a long list of things for which to be grateful. Thanks for your input.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 weeks ago from The Beautiful South

      This is so wonderful, especially using true people with real stories. I can't imagine any of us don't appreciate the second chance and look back with regret knowing what we should have done even doing the best we could.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Muhammad, thank you for underscoring the importance of the role grandmothers play. On behalf of all the grandmas, I appreciate your comment.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, both you and that grandmother said it perfectly. Makes every grandparent want to shout, "Thank God for seconds."

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Flourish, seems like you're having the best of grand-parenting for your daughter. She'll be a happier, wiser child for her experience and she will bless you for the move you made. Thank you for sharing and affirming.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, glad you decided to read on even when you thought I was writing something I knew nothing about. You're blessed to be parenting a young child at the same you're grand parenting. You need your own interview, because I know you'll have a lot to teach.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, it's good food in every round, but what we choose for the second serving makes us know our greater need. Thanks for your affirming comment.

    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 3 weeks ago

      Thanks Dora for sharing a wonderful piece of write. True, Grandmothers have a very great role to play in shaping kids life and bringing about positive changes with which both family and the society find a kind of comfort and hope for a better future.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I love this! I like that one response "I hadn't figured it out yet" which perfectly sums up my history of parenting. It takes a long time to figure it all out, so naturally we should do it better with grandchildren. :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 weeks ago from USA

      What a lovely way to view grandparenting. Your examples are really kind and loving, and I am sure that the children benefit richly from their elders' experience and life lessons. My own father in particular is a much better grandfather than he was a father -- more patient, accessible, focussed on the child. My mom has always been wonderful but has sweetened with age. I moved several states to make sure my daughter grew up with grandparents nearby. We live a mile away now.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      This is wonderful. In reading the title I scratched my head and wondered if Dora was starting to write recipes. And then after reading a bit I realized that you were. Recipes for love. Of course my place is a bit different as my son is even younger than a whole lot of grandchildren for someone my age.

      And nothing really shocks me anymore.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 3 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Another masterpiece, Dora. I like the analogy with the food and grandchildren. Truly, God's gift the second time around is wonderful. Of course, the first time is wonderful, too, but as you point out, in a different way. Thanks!