Being “Nana” is Awesome!

(Best of Celebrating Your Journey – Sept 25, 2009)

To all my readers: With 2019, the 14th year of my Celebrating Your Journey blog articles, “From the Heart” byline, I will be offering the “Best of the Best” articles you found helpful through the years. Many thanks to everyone who have given input and followed along w/ each month’s lifeskill—Relationships/Core Values, Time Mgt, Career/Money Mgt, Recordkeeping, Possessions, Housekeeping, Wellness, Meals, Childcare, Recreation/ Entertainment, Reflection, and Celebration. For my new readers, may these lifeskill articles offer you encouragement, insight, and commitment to seek, reach, and achieve your life dreams and goals in synergy.

Well, I almost didn’t get this article done on time. My reason? I’m in California having a blast with my grandson, “Jazz” (short for Jasper Grey Benedict). If you are not a grandparent yourself, you may ask, “What does it feel like to be a ‘Nana’?”

That’s what Jazz calls me at 4 ½ years old (2009). Where do I begin?! First, of course, he is THE cutest, most adorable child in the world. Jazz has the biggest, sweetest smile, loves to run, jump, dance, watch Thomas Train movies; and his best friend’s name is Hunter. He goes to the Montessori School just down the street from home.

He already knows his numbers, alphabet, and the regions of Australia. And believe it or not, most of the time, he loves to share his toys, snacks, and actually takes turns on the slide with Hunter. One of the most delightful moments is in the morning when he comes jumping in my bed to cuddle, play hide and seek, and tell me about what he wants to do today. I am also amazed at the variety of foods he is willing to eat…broccoli, salad greens, carrots, all kinds of fruit. Jazz does love ice cream too. Who doesn’t?

Another very special thing about my precious grandson is…he is a hugger. Out of the blue he just comes running up and gives me a big hug and says, “I love you Nana.” And then runs off to play some more. But before you think I’ve gone off the deep end with my starry-eyed description, Jazz has a little rascal side to him as well. I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.

For those of you who are grandparents, does this example sound familiar? It’s dinnertime, and you call him to come to the table. He says, “No, I’m not hungry.” Yet, you can hear his stomach growling from the kitchen. What he is really saying is he is in the middle of playing with his train set and doesn’t want to stop. You first say, “Please come now. The food is getting cold.” He ignores you. I don’t know your tactic. But with Jazz, I try to negotiate a deal with him first. That usually works. When it doesn’t, I watch his mother so deftly maneuver Jazz’s mindset that he wants to come to the table. It usually means, “If you come now, we will then go for a walk to the park (or something else enticing for an active four-year old).” When that doesn’t work on some occasions, his Mom always has a special look and tone that signals to him he better move or the alternatives won’t be much fun.

At that point, Jazz does the cutest thing. He simply shrugs his shoulders, puts down his toys, sends out a loud resigned sigh, and says, “O..K…” Then he sounders up to the dinner table. You want to just go over to him and give him a big kiss. He is just too cute! Yet, Nana holds back the urge, particularly with those moments where he’s being more stubborn than usual with both Nana and Mom. One thing I am learning as “Nana” is to stay “Nana” and not try to be his parent. My daughter as a single parent does a great job being “Mom.” And it’s a lot more fun being “Nana” anyway! At the end of the day, I can retire gracefully after being worn out by fast moving Jazz.

I hope in the years ahead, you too get to experience being a “Nana” or “Papa.” The gift of grandchildren cannot be measured. And for those who are already grandparents, take lots of time to be in their lives as much as possible. The rewards of the heart are limitless for you, your own children, and grandchildren. Well, time to go pick up Jazz from school and off to his first soccer game.