Grilled Grandma: Grandma Maribeth
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Lisa Carpenter in Grilled Grandmas, grandma profile, grandmother wisdom

Dear readers: A Grilled Grandma is a grandma on whom I've shone the spotlight, grilling her with some grandma-related questions, and she's graciously responded with answers and photos. Today I'm delighted to introduce to you Grandma Maribeth!

grilled grandma

How many children do you have?
My husband and I have two sons. One lives in Oregon with his family. The other lives in Italy with his.

How many grandchildren? What are their ages?

We have three grandchildren. They are Eliana, 11... Anthony, 8... and Alisa, 6. I also have two step-grandchildren. They live in Oregon with my younger son who married their mother 2 years ago. They are 18 and 21 years old. Although we do not know them yet, I look forward to meeting them one day. We have included them in birthday and Christmas gift giving. We love them because we love their mother who is a wonderful wife to our son!

What do your grandchildren call you?
They call me Nonna. I am their Italian grandmother.

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After the initial elation, what was your first concern upon hearing you would soon be a grandmother?
I had no concerns, only complete joy and thankfulness.

How often do you get to see your grandchildren?
Since they are living in Italy as 'missionary kids', we only see each other once a year for 2-3 weeks.

What is the best thing about being a grandma?
The best thing is their total unconditional love for you. The way their eyes light up and they come running when they see you! The fact that it is 'your job' to give them treats and make them happy!

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma?
We have always had to 'work' at having a relationship. Before Italy, they lived in Indiana where our daughter-in-law is from. Staying in touch has never been a problem thanks to pictures and email and FaceTime and her constant effort to keep us 'in the loop' with whatever was happening. But, needless to say, it is not the same as seeing them at their house or yours every week. We love pictures and videos of all the things that happen in heir lives but we are often sad to not be able to actual be there

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Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh out loud.
When they were much younger and just learning to talk, we would love the 'big' words they would use. One of Eliana's favorite things to say in conversation when she was around 2 years old would be, "Well, actually Nonna...."

We also have a video of Alisa giving directions in typical Italian style, with her hands going faster than her mouth!! As for Anthony, he is our Lego 'king' who builds the sets as fast as we can send them. When we ask how it is coming he very matter of factory say, " Oh, it's all done"!! Having become fluent in Italian, I laugh every time they say to me, "Ummm, how do you say that in English?"

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house?

It changes obviously as the years go by. I used to love to read stories to them but now they read more books than I do. When they were here last summer I enjoyed shopping with the girls. They all loved the pool and beach and we had an awesome, all consuming day (from 10am to 10pm), at Busch Gardens!

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house?
We enjoy seeing their schools, and visiting the places they like to go. They take us to their favorite gelato places and we explore the town together. We do lots of sightseeing. It is fun just to be at their house and see them in person and experience their 'everyday life'.

What/where has been your favorite family vacation?
Two years ago while visiting them we all packed up and went to an 'agritisimo' in the hills of Tuscany. That would be the equivalent of an 'American Bed and Breakfast'. We spent three days exploring, seeing new towns and climbing mountains. Pretty much whenever we are together it is a vacation for either them or us since one of us is far away from home!!

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How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits?
Cannot imagine not having FaceTime! We talk every week or so, to one or more of the kids depending on who is available. As they get older, their activities have them here there and everywhere, even in Italy, but we work at staying in touch. We send out a card or small package every month or so as they love to get things in the mail.

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren?
I pray that they see a joyful spirit in me which reflects the peace and love I have in knowing Christ as my Savior. That they would learn from me that while we like 'things', life in Christ is our greatest goal and loving one another is a top priority.

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you?
Fun!

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What is one thing you wish you had learned earlier as a grandparent?  
I wish I realized how quickly they would grow up!!

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma?
Enjoy every minute you get to be together and don't pass up any opportunity to see them.

Is there anything else you would you like to add about being a grandmother?

Just to say it is the best thing ever! I cherish every time we get to FaceTime and look forward to every visit.

If you would like to be featured as a Grilled Grandma or know of a grandma whom you'd like to nominate to be grilled, please email me with the subject line GRILLED GRANDMA and include the grandma's name and email address. Thank you!

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