Grandmas, please welcome Nana Bethany! Bethany learned she was going to be a grandma over a joyful phone call almost ten years ago. Bethany is mother to three beautiful daughters and Nana to seven wonderful grandchildren, ranging in age from three months to nine-years-old. Her two oldest grandkids live 40 minutes away, but three are in Florida and two in New Hampshire. Although they live faraway, Nana Bethany is great at long-distance grand-parenting. Nana Bethany had the opportunity of being present at the birth of her first three grandchildren.
Bethany was diagnosed with an intestinal disease (Ulcerative Colitis) five years ago. It hasn’t been easy for her to travel to see her grandkids, and unfortunately, she doesn’t get to play with them as often as she’d like (even before Covid). Having a chronic disease is challenging, but she does her best!
Fortunately, Nana Bethany does have the two grandkids who live relatively close by. They have a tradition of filling up snack bags at Nana’s to enjoy on their ride home. Nana Bethany use to put the bags together until the grandkids got old enough to make their own snack bags. What an easy and fun IDEA!
In the summers, they have sleepovers and go on outings. Their favorites outings have been, getting frozen yogurt, touring the American Girl Doll store, and finding deals at Goodwill. When they are at Nana Bethany’s home they play games, play with Barbies, make treats, go on walks, ride bikes, fish at the lake (where they’ve never caught anything), and play at the park.
At Christmastime, they hang stockings for each grandchild. The stockings have their names embroidered across the top, which match their mom’s stocking from their childhood. Their traditions include giving the grandkids festive cousin matching pj’s on Christmas Eve and acting out the nativity story. They started a new tradition last year. Bethany’s husband found a large plastic coloring tablecloth with a map of the United States printed on it. Everyone wanted to participate in coloring. Nana Bethany said it was a fun bonding and learning activity for everyone.
Reading is something Nana Bethany loves to do with her grandkids. When quarantine started, she began reading books over FaceTime with her long-distance grandkids. One day, they interrupted her reading and said, “Nana, we love you!” Nana Bethany looks for children’s books on her iPad to share. Some of their favorites include The 5 Chinese Brothers, Amelia Bedelia, Katy and the Big Snow, Nuffle Bunny, Fancy Nancy, and Not Your Typical Dragon. When they happen to be together on a Sunday, Nana Bethany shares a scripture flannel board story, the same ones she told her daughters. She also loves to share stories about their ancestors.
For birthday celebrations she pays close attention to their interests and gives them a gift they will love. She also gives a small sibling gift as well. For the in-town grandkids, she goes to their school for lunch. If it happens to be a Saturday celebration, they go out to eat to their favorite restaurant. Last year Nana Bethany found a birthday hat for her granddaughter. It had a small colorful cake with candles on it. She loved wearing it and wore it all day long.
For the long-distance grandkids, along with their birthday packages, she sends gifts and surprises throughout the year and other holidays. The packages include fruit snacks, stickers, books, toys, hot wheels, clothes, etc.
When it comes to discipline, Bethany feels it is not her role to strictly incorporate. She does make corrections when needed, encourages them to make good choices, and helps them to listen to their parents.
Nana Bethany shared a bonding story from a recent family trip.
“There is nothing better in this world than feeling each child’s love and affection as they grow. I cherish the memories we share. We recently took our family trip to the Smokey Mountains. One little granddaughter, who tends to keep her distance more, decided to stay at the cabin with me while I rested. I needed a rest but was happy to have her hang out with me. After that day together our friendship was strengthened, and since then, she always saves a place for me next to her at the dinner table.”Nana Bethany
Nana Bethany will always remember a time her oldest granddaughter and she took a walk by the lake near their home. They saw some movement in the water and were astounded to see a couple of beavers pop their heads out, look at them, and swim around near the dock they were standing! It was like they were putting on a special show just for them. They were beyond delighted! Nana Bethany’s greatest desire is for her posterity to feel forever, and deeply, loved by her and their Papa!
Thank you, Nana Bethany, for sharing your IDEAS! We love your traditions and story IDEAS! Best of all, we love the memories you have created with your sweet grandchildren. You are a GoodGrandma℠!
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