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Who Are You When You’re Not Grandma?

Beneath the surface of every nurturing grandma is a wealth of interesting stories and life experiences. I know this is true because I’ve met hundreds of fascinating grandmas over the past decade.

Getting to know so many multi-faceted grandmas brings me immeasurable pleasure. I’ve figured out a way to share my enjoyment with other members of the GaGa Sisterhood.

Every year we have a “member mixer” where the soul purpose of our meeting is to uncover some of those stories and experiences. Instead of having a speaker, we break up into small groups to discuss some thought-provoking questions and in the process, sometimes gain insight about ourselves.

I invite you to answer these questions yourself or with a grandma friend or two. They’re fun to explore and reveal some great insights about who we are when we’re not grandmas.

  • What was your favorite decade or age?
  • What goal would you still like to accomplish for yourself?
  • Where is the most interesting place you’ve traveled?
  • Tell us about an event that altered your life or perspective.
  • What is your passion?
  • Who is a person who had a big influence on you?
  • What makes you happiest?

Here are a few of the Life Altering Experiences we uncovered at our last GaGa Sisterhood meeting:

One of our members, who is fluent in Mandarin, was recruited by Asiana Airline to serve as a translator for 140 Chinese survivors of the Asiana Flight 214 crash. She spent five days helping young passengers, who were on a nine-city American college tour, decide whether they wanted to continue on or return home. She was able to tap into her years in Toastmasters International to be able to communicate between the victims and the airline.

Another grandma realized after her first year as a pre-med major at UC Berkeley that she’d chosen the wrong major. She left school for a year and worked in a doctor’s office to explore whether another aspect of medicine might interest her. The year confirmed that she didn’t want to return to medicine and ultimately earned a graduate degree in interior design. She has meshed her two interests by incorporating health and environment into her design company over the past 30 years.

Another member, as a young bride, moved to Switzerland with her husband for what she thought was a short business assignment. They ended up staying for 15 years. Both her children were born there and she became fluent in German. When she finally returned to the U.S., she had a greater appreciation for America.

During the 80s, a member was sailing to Luxor aboard a ship on the Nile. She got up very early on the second day and saw that the ship was on fire. She then discovered that there were no life boats, vests or crew to be found on board. She ran to get her husband and came back to chaos on the deck. People were jumping off the side of the ship, 20 feet down into the water with and without chairs to help them float. Judy and her husband and the rest of the passengers were all rescued by people from the small town of Dendara. Even though the ship burned and they lost everything, she felt it was life changing; a rebirth or wake-up call. She has kept in touch with a group of 75 of the rescued passengers who spent a week together after the fire.

Another grandma and her husband were foster parents 15 years ago. They received Max when he was five days old and took care of him for almost two years. Recently, she wanted to reconnect with him and searched the Internet. Through several connections and phone calls, she learned that he went to private school not too far from them. She and her husband showed up for the school’s baseball game and brought Max’s 18-month old photo in a baseball suit. After the game, they introduced themselves to Max and he threw his arms around them, calling them “Mama” and “Papa” as he did when he was a toddler. He is now back in their lives as a second grandchild and recently, they took him to a Warrior’s game.

Tell us who you are when you’re not grandma.

Some Kudos We've Received

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