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Grandmothers Give Thanks for a Second Serve of Parenting

For Ms. Dora—teacher, counselor, mother, and grandmother—holidays and family make the perfect blend of good times and pleasant memories.

Grandmothers Give Thanks for a Second Serve of Parenting

Grandmothers Give Thanks for a Second Serve of Parenting

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!

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.

Time

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.”

Patience

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.

Madea establishes a no-nonsense code of conduct for the children.

Madea establishes a no-nonsense code of conduct for the children.

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.”

Prayers

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.”

Shopping

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.

Answers

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.

sometimes second chances work out better than the first.

sometimes second chances work out better than the first.

“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.”

© 2017 Dora Weithers

Comments

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 23, 2017:

Tamara, it is obvious that you have a sweet relationship with our Lord. Thanks for your testimony.

BBYCGN from Uninhabited Regions on October 23, 2017:

LOL, Dora.. :-) You comment made me laugh. I needed that! Thank you. Yes, move over, Thor! LOL..

Love xxx

I forgot to add: I am grateful for the fact that The Lord hears my every thought to Him, and that He totally understands me. He “gets” me. And, that feels good :-)

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 23, 2017:

Tamara, thanks for your kind sentiments. I think you'll be a loving, honorable grandma when the time is right. The English bulldog will have to move over.

BBYCGN from Uninhabited Regions on October 22, 2017:

This is another sweet and beautiful post, Dora. I am not a grandma, yet (except to a sweetheart of an English Bulldog, and he’s more than enough!), but time is so precious to us all, and I really must save this post, of yours, to my Special email box. This is not only lovely, but essential.

Love,

Tamara

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 20, 2017:

Peggy, you're fortunate, indeed, to have had such a happy childhood. Grandparents who get this second chance are twice blessed.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 18, 2017:

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.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 15, 2017:

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

Dianna Mendez on September 15, 2017:

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!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 09, 2017:

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

DDE on September 09, 2017:

Beautiful for grandmas. Tyler Perry is Awesome!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 05, 2017:

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

Audrey Howitt from California on September 05, 2017:

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

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 05, 2017:

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 from Bismarck, North Dakota on September 05, 2017:

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!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 30, 2017:

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

Women Articles on August 30, 2017:

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.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 29, 2017:

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!

Suzie from Carson City on August 29, 2017:

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

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 28, 2017:

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

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on August 28, 2017:

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.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 28, 2017:

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

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 27, 2017:

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

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 27, 2017:

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!

Jane from Uk on August 27, 2017:

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....

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 27, 2017:

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.

Mary Wickison from Brazil on August 27, 2017:

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.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 27, 2017:

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 from the beautiful south on August 27, 2017:

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.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 27, 2017:

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

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 27, 2017:

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

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 27, 2017:

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.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 27, 2017:

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.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 27, 2017:

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.

muhammad abdullah javed on August 27, 2017:

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.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 27, 2017:

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 from USA on August 27, 2017:

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.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 27, 2017:

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.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on August 27, 2017:

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!

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