Eight years ago, 15 grandmas sat in a circle in my living room and we began a conversation about what it means to be a grandma today.
I had just witnessed the birth of my first grandchild and was completely “gaga.” When I came back down to earth, I realized—to my great surprise—that all the grandmas I met were just as smitten as I was.
My second discovery was that being a grandma was more complicated than I’d imagined. I needed some reassurance that all the emotions I was experiencing were “normal.” I wanted to tap into the wisdom of other grandmas to guide me in my new role.
I envisioned a sisterhood where like-minded grandmas could share our creative energy for the benefit of our families and ourselves. Since most grandmas are “gaga,” I decided to call it the GaGa Sisterhood—way before Lady Gaga came on the scene in 2008 when she debuted her first album!
I sent an invitation to all the grandmas I knew inviting them to attend our first official meeting and explained my purpose: to connect with other GaGas for fun, support, and the sharing of creative ideas, as well as to provide a forum for discussing issues related to GaGahood.
What I’ve learned over the past amazing eight years of growing our sisterhood is that grandmas need a community in the same way that moms need mothers clubs. We need a place where we can share our thoughts and feelings about the relationships we have with our grandchildren and their parents and of course, a place to brag unabashedly about our adorable grandchildren without the fear of eyes glazing over as we describe their latest achievements.
Have we figured out what it means to be a grandma today? Well, yes, but it’s complicated!
Grandmotherhood covers the gamut of emotions from total exhilaration to the depths of despair. Today’s grandmas are vibrant, multi-faceted women who juggle many roles with grace and acceptance; they are savvy women who defy the old stereotypes of our own grandmothers.
Over the past eight years I can say without hesitation that grandmas are the most creative, fun loving, joyful and energetic women I know. My life has been enriched beyond measure since I became a grandma—not only in the bonds I’ve formed with my granddaughters and their parents, but also in the friendships I’ve forged with other grandmas.
We experience such joy from our grandchildren, who keep us young at heart. When we get together with other grandmas, we spread that joy around in a common “language” that GaGas just “get!” At a time when families are spread so far apart, it’s comforting to be able to belong to a community where we know we’ll be welcomed, understood, and accepted.
Last week, 20 of our members helped me celebrate the 8th anniversary of the GaGa Sisterhood. After lunch, we sat in a circle, as we did eight years ago, and told stories about what defines us as grandmas. There was much laughter and a few tears as the GaGas shared memories of their own grandmothers. I looked around our circle of radiant women and was filled with gratitude. We are so fortunate to be living in an era when grandmas can connect with each other and celebrate the joy of simply being grandmas.
Happy 8th Anniversary to the GaGa Sisterhood—it’s been an incredible journey!