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Celebrating Grandparents Day with Grandmas

I celebrated Grandparents Day with 35 other grandmas. They were not like the grandmas my grandmother hung out with. Today’s grandmas are a different breed than our own grandmothers. They’re more active and engaged in activities that are changing the world.

I began my day with a challenging Vinyasa yoga class taught by my grandma friend, Heidi. She’s a university professor in developmental and behavioral pediatrics. Yoga is her weekend gig. Her classes always lift my spirits with a thought-provoking theme and contemplative music.

As I moved into my first downward dog of the morning, I thought of my grandmother. Not because she knew anything about yoga, but because of the contrast between the grandma she was and the grandma I am. Our lifestyles are so different.

When I left my yoga class, I felt empowered by the challenging poses and grateful that I could begin my day in the presence of such an inspiring teacher. Heidi donates her class fees to Abilities United, a non-profit that supports children and adults with disabilities.

In the afternoon I hosted a GaGa Sisterhood meeting for 32 grandmas. The four authors of The Grammie Guide: Activities and Answers for Grandparenting Today gave a lively presentation on how to be the most fun grammie on the block. After sharing dozens of creative ideas, they gave us each a brown paper shopping bag, which we fashioned into hats then decorated with ribbon, feathers and flowers.

Grandma enthusiasm and creativity percolated in the room like first graders with a brand new box of crayons. As the GaGas proudly modeled their new bonnets, I couldn’t help but think my own grandma would have loved the fun, too.

I ended Grandparents Day with a phone call to my friend Paola Gianturco, author of Grandmother Power: A Global Phenomenon. Her new Grandmother Power exhibit just opened at the Grand Rapids Public Museum this week. It features huge photographs suspended between ten-foot tall cylinders to symbolize the idea that grandmothers are the pillars of their families and communities.

The photos and stories in the exhibit are the grandmothers Paola interviewed from 15 different countries on five continents. They are acting courageously and effectively to create a better future for grandchildren everywhere.

Paola believes her exhibit is the first museum exhibit completely dedicated to grandmothers. When the exhibit closes, it will travel around the country to other museums. Paola hopes the exhibit will inspire grandmothers across the U.S. to solve some of the problems that the global grandmothers are working on such as human rights, education, and energy.

Paola is donating 100% of the royalties from her book to Toronto’s Stephen Lewis Foundation, which raises money for African grandmothers caring for AIDS orphans.

Today’s grandmas may be a different breed than our grandmothers, yet at the heart of it all, we grandmas are all driven by the same passion to shower our grandchildren with love and attention. I’m grateful to have celebrated Grandparents Day with so many inspiring grandmas.

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