Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Celebrating Grandmothers: Book Review

Published September 3, 2014. 
Have you ever wanted to go on a three-day retreat with a couple of dozen women who are introspective about the life stage of "grandmother"?

Ann Richardson gives you this experience without the cost and inconvenience of travel in her book Celebrating Grandmothers: Grandmothers Talk about Their Lives (2014).

Richardson transcribes interviews conducted with 27 women from the greater London area.

They come from a diverse background and have various viewpoints about grandmothering. And their experiences differ.

Some have the opportunity to do a lot of very hands-on grandparenting. Others have to innovate on how to do long-distant grandparenting.

The women interviewed have an array of relationships with their child, their child's spouse, and are part of a diversity of extended family structures.

The book is organized into the following sections:

from Chapter 1: The Joy of Grandmothering

"I got a lovely card from a close friend who is also a granny which said, 'Welcome to the best club in the world!' And it's just how it felt." (p. 17).

from Chapter 2: Becoming a Grandmother

"I was 51. It was a shock....Maybe it was just the thought of going into another phase of life, I'm moving into another generation.  And it's a signifier of mortality, I suppose. That initial feeling was quite short-lived--and then I was delighted" (p. 25).

from Chapter 3: Doing Things Together

"We have treasure hunts when we go for a walk or we're going to school. It was realy weird one day, because I said, 'Come on, we're looking for treasure' and then I found a medal! It was a Mason's medal -- apparently somebody got robbed and they threw it away. But, my granddaughter thinks I'm magic." (p. 52).

from Chapter 4: The Emotional Side

"They check on me all the time to see if I'm home, if they know I"m out late on my own. I no sooner get in then they're 'Are you home, Grandma?" I do the same with them" (p. 88).

from Chapter 5: Views on Child-Rearing

"They all have too much stuff...I told my grandson, when it's his birthday, that I would only give them experience presents now, like taking them to the theatre" (p. 110).

from Chapter 6: The Image and Role of Grandmothers

"I'm purposefully trying to be fun.I learned to ride a motor bike a couple of years ago, and they thought that was great" (p. 157).

from Chapter 7: Impact on Relationships

"What I miss, and what I would really like to have had, and my husband too, would be to have our own special, private relationship with the children, which was ours. They're very friendly but our relationship is on the terms that the parents have set up" (p. 171).

from Chapter 8: Looking Back and Looking Forward

"I would like them to be their own best friend -- as well as to have best friends. I would hope that they will believe in something bigger than themselves, the Spirit or Love or Truth" (p. 212).

from Chapter 9: Reflections on Being a Grandmother

"On the spiritual level, being a grandmother allows you to commune with the feminine aspect of you that is wiser, stronger, the crone. It's contact with the spirit of the Big Mother and that is absolutely empowering" (p. 244).


Movies about Children and Older Adults


  1. sounds awesome and now I want to go on a retreat with some Grandmothers...

    1. I don't have grandkids yet, but this was a fun preview. Thanks for stopping by the blog.

  2. I BET my mom would love this book..she enjoys her grandkids ( when they are not driving her up the walls. Those close by visit often ( ages 4, 5, 7, 15) and those in europe and the USA connect via skype adn wattsapp. ( ages 12, 14, 17, 19).

  3. Sounds like a great book! Once she was a GrandMother my Mother always said , if she could have bypassed being a Mother and gone straight to being a GrandMother she would have done it. I totally get it!!