I grew up with two younger brothers and envied friends who had sisters. I found my first “sisters” in my Brownie Troop 313, which formed when I was in the first grade and continued to meet under our devoted leaders, “Bambi” and “Topaz” through the sixth grade. I still have a photo of our troop and I can remember each one of the girls’ names. Those “sisters” were my anchors when I was growing up and figuring out who I was and how important female friendship was to me.
My next circle of sisters was Delta Phi Epsilon sorority at the University of California at Berkeley. I pledged the sorority after my first semester and moved into the sorority house where I lived until I graduated. The daily rituals of sharing meals and singing together created strong bonds and treasured memories with my sorority sisters that helped me through the challenges of being a student at a large, competitive university.
When I became a mom, I craved a sisterhood and wished there had been mother’s groups when I was raising my children. But they didn’t become popular until long after my children were grown.
After I became a grandma, I knew I needed a sisterhood again. As a brand new grandma, I had so many questions about my role and wondered what other grandmas were experiencing. I decided it was time to create a sisterhood for grandmas. Inspired by the proliferation of mother’s clubs, I believed that, just like moms, we grandmas also need to talk to each other about the joys and challenges we face in our multi-generation relationships.
In December 2003, six months after witnessing the birth of my first grandchild, I invited all the grandmas I knew to come to my house and start a conversation about what it means to be a modern grandma. Fifteen grandmas sat in a circle in my living room and told stories about what our grandchildren call us, how we got those names, the great lengths we go to see them, how we juggle all our roles to make time for them, and, most importantly, how we get along with their parents. The conversation was deep and satisfying and no one wanted it to end.
On that December afternoon, the GaGa Sisterhood was born. I’d found my sisters once again — women who were in the same stage of life as I was and who had a desire to explore this complex new role we were all experiencing together. Our conversation was affirming and comforting. At that moment I realized that grandmas together could figure it out better than one grandma all by herself.
Our GaGa Sisterhood has continued to meet for 13 years. We’ve become a group of friends with real camaraderie who can laugh about the joys and challenges of being a grandma. We’ve shared laughter and tears; we’ve become confidantes who trust one another, and we’ve grown with the wisdom and experiences we’ve shared in our circle of sisters. I’m truly grateful for the vibrant, creative women who continue to join our Sisterhood.
Our GaGa Sisterhood welcomes new grandmas, seasoned grandmas and grandmas-at-heart to join our circle. If you live in or near the Silicon Valley in California, you can attend our bi-monthly meetings by becoming an “active” member for just $48 a year. Click on Big Tent to join our Sisterhood as an “active” member and meet kindred spirits.
If you live outside the area, you can join the GaGa Sisterhood as a “remote” member for only $12 a year. Remote members receive my monthly newsletter which includes summaries of our meetings, and can also participate in our members-only Big Tent forum, where members ask for advice, join discussions and share stories about being a grandma. Click on Big Tent to join our Sisterhood as a “remote” member.
On September 28, a new benefit will be available for remote members. You’ll be able to call in and listen to our first live teleconference featuring a conversation with Christine Crosby, founder/publisher of GRAND Magazine. We’ll be talking about the joys and challenges of being a modern grandma.
Whichever membership you choose, you’ll enjoy the benefits of being part of a circle of like-minded, creative grandmas who are “gaga” for their grandchildren.