The end of 2016 was tough for a lot of us. Uncertainty about the future, a slew of tragic events and the roller coaster of emotions that often accompany the holidays. For me, the end of 2016 heralded a new beginning, the birth of our first grandchild..

We were visiting our kids in Boston over Father’s day when they told us we were going to be grandparents. In that moment, I think I experienced every possible emotion. The reality of becoming a grandmother and the realization that there is a certain connotation attached to grandma- old, comfortable, doting?

Worry that my own parents will be able to be participatory great grandparents due to declines in their physical and mental health.

Sadness that my only sibling who was a doting uncle will not be able to be a great uncle.

Guilt that we live in Pennsylvania and they reside in Massachusetts.

Envy that my daughter-in-law’s family lives in Massachusetts.

Fear that being a grandma results in targeted ageism that may make me less desirable in my professional world.

So now that he has entered our lives I have looked at this list again and have answered some of these questions.

With Face time, my parents have been engaged daily with their grandchildren and great grandchildren and it is amazing what even a small amount of screen time has done to boost their mental well-being

Quality is not necessarily dictated by quantity. We are learning to make the most of each visit with this little man, reveling in every moment and eagerly planning each additional trip. Oh and texts, photo sharing and Skype help too!

I am redefining not maligning myself. To be a grandmother is a privilege and an honor. To be able to have a lifetime of experience in raising two boys brings expertise to the table. Age is just a number not a character trait. Being active, finding fun, surrounding oneself with positivity are all ways to live life to the fullest.
I want to rock that rocking chair. Physical fitness is very important to me. Getting out every day keeps my mind sharp, my body fit, my heart strong and my mood bright. Lifting keeps muscles and bones healthy so that I can pick him up when I want or need to without aches or pains.
Flexibility through yoga will allow me to crawl on the floor with him without fear of achy joints or back a few hours later.

As I hold this precious little boy and experience all the joy, here are the words that come to mind.

Sweat equity is a good thing. We learn to appreciate when we actually participate

Life is not supposed to be easy- challenging oneself increases the enjoyment and emotional fulfillment

Be selective with your entourage. People who discriminate based on age, religion, gender, economic status are not part of my inner circle.

No one has to change the world, control what you can and find ways to make the best of every day.
Get your sleep, move your body, choose to nourish well, find the time to relax.

Wellness checkups are not only for infants. Do your due diligence and make sure your parts are in working order. Medical, dental, vision, hearing checkups are essential. It is not always obvious by how one feels if someone is in good health. Being proactive about health care can prevent a health scare.

Decide what skills and lessons you can pass on. For me, it is the concept of Big Gram’s hands- rescuing the recipes from the heart to fill a child’s food bowl with love. Teaching a child to cook by having them be an active participant in the kitchen, chopping, measuring, stirring, tasting is invaluable and has more tenacity than any toy ever will. Maybe it is a craft, or storytelling or the skill of playing the piano. We all have unique skill sets to offer and opportunities to enrich the lives of others, young or old.

So Joshua Jay Bonci, you have made Glamma ‘s heart so full. I am looking forward to being a part of your life in the kitchen, in the park and throughout your life. There will be some rocky roads, challenges, and obstacles, but know that my love for you will never waver. Thank you little boy for all of this joy.