It’s hard to know what Grandma really wants for Mother’s Day. There are lots of lists of cheesy sentimental trinkets but honestly, the grandmothers I know are way cooler than that. Todays grandmother probably has the basics she needs, has gone through downsizing and is in or near retirement. So what would be meaningful to her? I went right to the source – 20 ladies who are regular members of the water aerobics class at the local YMCA. These ladies are age 92 – 58. What they shared was more of a life lesson than a list. No big surprise — it’s not about things but experiences.
Here is what they told me.
- Time with the family
Real, quality, no phone, face time. As families grow and evolve getting time together can be a challenge. With grandchildren’s school/activity schedule and both parents working it can be a challenge just to have dinner together let alone find time to connect with other family members. Having multiple generations together is the ultimate gift for nearly all of the women in the survey.
2. Recent pictures of the family
Take those great pictures off your cell phone and have them printed. It’s an old school habit we used to do that got replaced by phone images. You may need to figure out how to print images off your phone but it will be worth it. Place the photo in a simple frame and you have a thoughtful gift that will be cherished.
3. One on One time with the Grandchildren
A movie, a meal, making cookies, or even just a walk. One of the women in the survey said “it’s just just hard to have a meaningful conversation with my grandchildren; this is best done in person.” Having a “date with the grandchildren” is precious. You learn who these little people are. Each child has their own interests, friendships, opinions and beliefs. They are their own person. Not only do the grandma’s get to know who their individual grandchildren are but the grandkids get to know who grandma is as an individual. Grandmothers have great wisdom to share. CountryLiving.com posted an article on Oct. 20, 2017. The article highlights 29 key lessons. A few that stood out to me include: Be willing to Try Anything – Serve, respect, kindness & tasty leftovers – choose a career you love – love is the most important thing – and more. See them all 29 things All Grandparents want their grandchildren to know . Grandmothers and grandchildren are constantly evolving and the one on one time allows for the family bond to continue to grow.
4. Thoughtful Gestures
To know that someone thought about you and what you need is special. You don’t need money to be thoughtful. Maybe trim the bushes, cook a meal, go to church together, offer a day of time to help keep up the house. If you do have the funds one of the nicest stories shared involved receiving a regular delivery of fresh cut flowers. One of the Grandma’s struggled with winter blues so the Grandson & Son arranged to have fresh cut flowers delivered once a month for 6 months. They arranged this with a local florist and this idea is now a standard package that the florist offers. The Grandmother shared that it brightened her day and that getting the deliveries made her smile every time. She placed the flowers in vases all around the house.
Many have family members that do not live locally so physically getting together is impossible. In this case just being appreciated and recognized is important. A card, a delivery of flowers or chocolates, a call, or even a text from a busy teen makes a difference. To know that you are thought of and acknowledgment is rewarding.
It’s worth highlighting the honorable mention (#6 on the list) Hand Made things. Our grandmothers said that these hand made drawings, cards, jewelry, other… are especially precious gifts when the grandchildren are young. Many of them still had drawings hanging in their homes from years back.
I’d like to thank the ladies for their input and time – it was a pleasure. Could it be that Grandma is teaching us about what’s important?