How to be the BEST Grandparent.

June 10, 2022

How to be the BEST Grandparent.

May 29, 2023

I recently brought together seventy family members and close friends for a Celebration of Life to remember my mom. We honored her with a decadent buffet, fun activities, a musical performance by Ron Bohmer and Sandra Joseph (dear friends and former stars of Phantom of the Opera), and many heart opening and funny tributes.

My mother left behind a legacy of love. But, perhaps most importantly, her life was a masterclass in good grandparenting.

In 1981, she became a grandmother to Ashley, the first of 10, and her motto became “spoil your grandchildren.” She planned to have one-on-one time and travel with each grandkid and that is what she did. She said it was her role to teach them how to appreciate the good life and allow them to have unique experiences.

Ashley spoke of my mother’s core grandparenting values in this way:

1. Forgiveness- she loved to share the stories of her prodigal children and encouraged us all to engage in heroic acts of forgiving.

2. Kindness- the kindness she bestowed on her ex-daughters-in-law, and any honorary family member adopted in was the model for inclusion.

3. Gathering- as evidenced by her opening ask on every phone call: when are you coming to visit? No one appreciated gatherings more than she did and all absences were noted.

4. Enjoy it Now: you can’t take it with you. “Spoil your grandchildren.”

“I will never forget how my Grandma made me feel,” shared granddaughter Sarah. “She made me feel loved, wanted, worthy, and special. On the days where I doubted myself or my abilities, a phone call with Grandma made me stronger. She was always encouraging and believed in me more than I believe in myself.”

“For my fifth-grade graduation I got to go all the way to Florida by myself to stay with Grandma and Grandpa,” said Granddaughter Eve, recalling the shopping and special attention. “I was over the moon. It was like being an only child for a whole week. Then after several days of Heaven, Grandma gave me the big surprise. We were going on a cruise!” Off they went on a kid-centered Caribbean cruise, with entertainment and endless desserts.

My mother was a true feminine badass kicking down doors and breaking glass ceilings with a smile and a sweet disposition winning over everyone, everywhere she went. Before “women’s lib” was a thing, she launched her own commercial insurance agency and became the first woman in the world to have her own Lloyds of London syndicate. When she went to London for meetings, they sent a Rolls Royce to pick her up at the airport, treating her like the royalty she was.

She had a wicked sense of humor and loved a dirty joke with a dirty martini. Her favorite things in life included, first and foremost her family and friends, especially her soulmate Howard. She excelled at throwing and attending parties, was crazy about art, Broadway musicals, playing piano, attending performances of the symphony and Opera, travel, especially cruising (she went on 49 cruises!), she loved to fly and was a multi-rated pilot, and she loved hanging out and kibitzing.

She inspired us all to embrace the pleasures of life. As Ashley put it, she was, “Grandmother of the century and giver of all good fun.” What a legacy!

Arielle Ford is a gifted writer and the author of eleven books including Turn Your Mate Into Your Soulmate and the international bestseller, THE SOULMATE SECRET: Manifest The Love of Your Life With The Law of Attraction. She has been called “The Cupid of Consciousness” and “The Fairy Godmother of Love.” She lives in La Jolla, CA with her husband/soulmate, Brian Hilliard and their feline friends. www.arielleford.com

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