Grandma or Nana this article is just for you. However, if you are not yet a grandma or nana then give this article to your mom or mother-in-law. They will appreciate the wisdom, and you will receive a blessing because of it. Nana, do you remember being a mommy? Let me remind you with a walk down memory lane. There were sleepless nights and you didn’t even live in Seattle! There was spit-up on the blouse you put on backwards as you were rushing out the door, with the nursing baby in tow. You were always running a carpool. There was laundry to do, a house in disarray and dinner to cook. You weren’t praying, “Dear God give me some more time” but rather, “Dear God, I need sleep!” Or were you praying, “Dear God, I need a shower.” Secretly, if the truth be known, we were all praying, “Dear God, I need my mommy!” Yes, days were too long, nights were too short, and we just needed a little help around this place called home and a little adult conversation.
Nana, that’s where you come into the picture; you are all rested up and have a permanent smile on your face that says, “Life is good!” You have the white hairs on your head to show your wisdom, covered up by a dye job of course to protect your vanity. What do you do? You serve like a Martha would, but minus the complaining; think the energy bunny with a permanent smile on your face. Then you pray like a Mary would, from a mother’s heart which is filled with love. A praying nana knows how to pray because she has already done the journey of mommyhood. An experienced Nana knows that just saying the words, “I’ll pray for you honey” never will do. Young mothers do not need prayer alone; they also need you to roll up your sleeves, put on the apron of humility, and serve in any and all ways you are needed. Don’t wait to be asked, Nana, because of course they will say “No.” Don’t say, “Is there anything I can do?” Of course there is; look around Nana! Just remember when you were in that boat of motherhood and no one was helping you row. You are the Simon that God is sending to help them carry their crosses, as they lay down their lives out of love for their family. Yes, you are there to lessen the load and bring some joy to their land. It helps to remember that “a Mother’s middle name is actually SACRIFICE.” It is important not to forget that, “Once a mother, always a mother.” That is exactly why they need their mommy.
When I go to visit my married daughters, I use the gifts God gave me to bless them. I’m an organizer, so I hit the ground running once I arrive; that is after first hugging them affectionately and catching up on their lives, I begin. I clean out closets, organize pantries, and reorganize the playroom. On my breaks, I play with the grandbabies, run errands with my daughters, buy food, and take them out to dinner. Do I sleep? BARELY! Do I pray? Definitely, you can be sure of that, sometimes through the night. This time I am the one praying for more time, more sleep, maybe a shower and sometimes for my mommy. What sleep I do get is pleasant and fulfilling because of the hard work done and the satisfaction of knowing that I had helped where I was truly needed. When visiting one daughter I even spoke at her Mom’s Club, since I am a Christian Writer and Speaker. Yes, I share my gifts and try to be a blessing to their lives. I think it is working because one of my sons-in-law always invites me to come back. Maybe it is because he appreciates me cleaning out the refrigerator or maybe it is because the house gets straightened. Another son-in-law says, “Can you stay an extra week?” Then he adds, “I think I will ask my mom to detail clean when she comes.” You see that is his mom’s gift. What is your gift, Grandma or Nana? Did you ever hear the song, “If We Are His Body”? I ask you Nana, “Why aren’t our arms reaching?” Never have your arms been more needed or more appreciated than in the lives of your adult daughters who are married with children of their own. Just a side note, you may have to approach this subject a lot more tenderly with a daughter-in-law. Look before you leap, Nana. In other words, when in doubt ask before you take over the house. They may react totally differently to you than your daughter would, or to their own mom.
Whenever possible be there as a Nana who is ready to help. Be there as a woman who is full of virtue and the grace that only comes from seeking God’s face and frequenting the Sacraments. Be sure to leave all judgment or any unwanted advice behind. Be with a ready reply if they ask your advice. Help where you are needed, and for heaven’s sake, “Be a blessing!” for then you are Jesus with skin on. “What would Jesus do, Nana?” Then just do it! Please do it with all your heart as unto the Lord. When your visit is over be sure and kiss them all goodbye. Then get back on that plane with a smile on your face and a heart filled with memories that will last a lifetime. Once you arrive at home sweet home and are in the arms of papa, pamper yourself because you need a break. Now Nana or Grandma has some rest and relaxation time because you’ve earned it. Finally, Nana, you came to the rescue. Now, thank the Lord Jesus that you were able to help!! Be thankful also that you have passed down your Catholic faith in action to the entire family. Most of all, you have made your Heavenly Daddy proud. Wasn’t it the Blessed Mother who although pregnant with the child Jesus went to serve Elizabeth, her cousin? I guess you could say agape love runs in the family or “Like mother, like daughter.”