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10 Things I Love About Being a Grandma

An adoring grandmother describes how her life has been changed by two fabulous little girls

3. I'm no longer in charge. Being somewhat of a control freak, at first I thought this was the bad news. And though it took time for me to accept that I have no say in anything — including where my grandkids live, which is an ocean away — not being in charge frees me up. Unlike their parents, I don't have to multitask and work, pay bills or do the laundry while also trying to spend quality time with the girls. And I don't have to worry so much about whether they go to sleep at night (often they don't) or if they refuse to eat dinner. (I still worry, just not so much.)

4. I come and go as I please. This is one of those rumors about grandparenting that turns out to be blissfully true. I treasure my visits with les petites, but I'm a better Nonna — and a happier camper — when I pay attention to my own limits. There's a reason why most people have babies in their 20s and 30s, not at age 58 or 63.

5. I'll learn from my grandkids. Even though Isabelle and Azalia are still quite young, I can see that they will be my window into a future that is unfolding at lightning speed as they grow older — and I do, too. Already, 5-year-old Isabelle, who attends bilingual French-English school, is helping me to brush up my French vocabulary and poor high school pronunciation.

6. And they'll learn from me. In addition to being my granddaughters' living link to one branch of their family tree, I aspire to be a role model for them — of ethical wisdom, emotional intelligence, generosity and kindness, respect for the environment, acceptance of life's inevitable imperfections and challenges. Being one step removed from the front lines of child rearing, we grandparents have a precious opportunity to transmit the values we hold dear, with less risk of backlash. We also won't be the target of teenage rebellion — another big plus.

Next: Free to focus on what's truly important for your grandkids »

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National and state fact sheets listing services, programs,  benefits, laws and policies for grandparents raising children. Read

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