It’s all there—every thought, feeling, or reaction you’ve ever had about being a grandmother Eye of My Heart, a new compilation of stories by 27 grandmothers, and it will get you thinking about your role as a grandma.
Barbara Graham edited the collection, which is subtitled: 27 writers reveal the hidden pleasures and perils of being a grandmother. As a new grandmother, Graham realized even before her granddaughter came home from the hospital, that being a grandma was more complicated than she’d imagined. But being the first among her friends to become one, she turned to books for wisdom. Not finding any “real” stories that revealed both “cracks and wonder,” she asked writers she knew to share their stories and Eye of My Heart was born.
I’ve read more than two-dozen books on grandparenting and nothing compares to this collection. It’s the most honest and deeply profound exploration of grandmotherhood I’ve ever read. I savored every story and often stopped to ponder thought-provoking lines that deeply resonated with me.
After finishing the book, I felt as if 27 new friends had just bared their souls to me, each giving deep thought to their role as a grandmother. I scrawled marks and notes on almost every page as I reacted to the familiar emotions that these articulate writers shared about becoming grandmothers: their role models, their relationships with the parents of their grandchildren, and what they hoped to pass on to their grandchildren. They explored and examined their deepest feelings about the bond they have with their grandchildren, and boldly wrote about aging.
Some were laugh-out-loud stories, like Judith Viorst’s on competing with the other grandma and Judith Guest’s hilarious road trip with her three granddaughters. Some were heartbreaking: Sallie Tisdale wrote a sad tale of too many grandchildren in a broken family and Marcie Fitzgerald (a pseudonym) is now her grandson’s parent because her bipolar daughter is unable to care for him. Others were sweet and touching: At sixty Virginia Ironside finally gave up her search for Mr. Right and discovered what she truly wanted: to be a granny. Letty Cottin Pogrebin wrote of her obsession with creating lifelong memories for her six grandchildren because she has so few memories of her own.
These are fascinating, entertaining, revealing and boldly told tales from the ‘hood—grandmotherhood.
Barbara Graham, Susan Griffin and Bharati Mukherjee will be speaking at Kepler’s books in Menlo Park, CA on May 3 at 2 pm.