On being Granny



A little over a year ago I wrote a post entitled ‘It’s not that we’re not Interested, but…’ There it is still-March 3rd, 2013, a slight rant about the way people eulogise over their children and worse, their grandchildren. I hope I made it clear enough that this is not a grudge or a phobia regarding children themselves. Indeed, I have been fortunate to have two children of whom I am in awe regarding their achievements. They have made it to respectable adulthood and [almost] gainful employment. I am duly proud and delighted to know them.

In addition to all this, I made my living from attempting to stuff skills and knowledge into the little sponge-like brains of numerous children from the seventies to the noughties, so I am not in any kind of position to harbour a hatred of the young. I somehow gained a reputation for cynicism during those years-more a reaction to new initiatives than to the bright and bushy tailed little ones in my care.

I have also now become a fully paid up member of the grandparent club. As a granny I am as doting, besotted, amazed and devoted to my granddaughter as any grandparent anywhere. She is, of course the most beautiful, talented, cute, lovely and intelligent being that ever appeared on the Earth, just as all the other grandchildren are. But the wonderful event that was her birth was actually six months ago and I have refrained, until now from pontificating on the joys of her existence. Why? Because, reader, I don’t wish to become a hypocrite on the matter of grandparentage, having made my opinions on the matter clear in March 2013. I simply don’t want to morph into a drooling baby-bore, starting every conversation in a desperate bid to lead it onto the subject of my progeny. They can speak for themselves [or will in the case of GD].

What I do feel, however is some concern in respect of the world she is to grow up into and the fact that all the problems it has faced in the past remain with the addition of extra difficulties such as climate change. She will need to be intelligent, sociable, knowledgeable and educated to deal with the challenges of the future and luckily is getting ahead already. She is lucky. She is born to educated, loving parents and getting the best start anyone could wish for.

I hope I can be the kind of granny she will remember with fondness. I am excited to think of all the activities we will be able to do together as she grows. I wish for her to grow up with a respect for the environment, a love of nature and tolerance and friendship towards fellow humans of any nationality, religion and philosophy.

That’s all I’m going to write about the personal side of being a grandparent. Her achievements will not be mine. Got to be true to my principles!


It’s not that we’re not interested, but…


                The majority of people who are parents acknowledge that having children does, on the whole enhance their lives, despite the high cost in terms of finance, energy, time and so on. Most of those with older or adult children are proud of at least one of their offspring and those with babies and toddlers will be full of stories about how many teeth they’ve acquired, whether they sleep through the night or that they can name all the capital cities in Europe. This is all natural and in the order of things.

                Occasionally, though, there is, amongst one’s friends or acquaintances someone who is unable to converse on any subject at all without reference to their offspring.

                “Have you booked a holiday yet?” you ask them.

                “No, but our Susan [or Mabel or Esmeralda] is going to Ulan Bator. She’s been invited to join a missionary choir blah blah blah…….”


                “Car still going ok?”

                “Yes but we’re passing it on to Julian [or Wayne, or Freddy] because he’s just heard he’s got into Oxford [Slade/RADA/Cambridge etc] blah blah blah blah]”

                Worse still are the doting grandparents. Myself, I am not yet a grandparent. Yes, I am looking forward to becoming one, but may I be struck down if I turn into the type of drooling, fixated granny or granddad who is unable to utter a word about anything except the exceptional, talented, unearthly beings that are their grandchildren. We meet them on our travels, these people who are unable to complete one sentence without mentioning their grandsprogs.

                In my previous life as a proper working person I used to meet up occasionally with fellow colleagues for training etc. In the course of these monthly meetings there was one poor soul who greeted me regularly with the words,

                “Oh hello! Are you the lady who’s got a little grandson, like me?” to which I felt compelled to reply,

                “No, I’m afraid I’m the lady who has no grandchildren.”

                I wish I’d been more courageous. I wish I’d said I ate them for breakfast.

And another thing; those who are grandparents regard us grandchild-less couples with pity, as if we are in some way defective and disadvantaged. ‘Never mind’, they say, ‘It’ll happen’-as if we are somehow pining for this longed for event. Another of my friends feels she must shield me from photos or information about her grandchild, in case I should be offended by the sight or mention of him. This is not the case at all. I am at least as interested as she is in my stories, or indeed this blog!

For this is the point. I don’t mind at all, hearing a bit about others’ families, and of course I am as proud as any parent of my own children’s achievements. But I don’t wish to be defined, myself by their accomplishments; because they are theirs. What I would really like is to be defined by my own achievements…and most of all…in my writing. Is it too much to hope for?