When Rona Maynard learned at 47 that her first grandchild was on the way, she knew what kind of grandmother she didn’t want to be—a smothering clone of her own immigrant Grandma. How would she define her own grandmaternal style? Rona’s witty, truth-telling essay “Facebook Grandma” appears alongside contributions by stellar writers including Abigail Thomas, Judith Viorst and Mary Pipher.
From “Facebook Grandma”
Early in my life as a grandmother, I learned there is one omnipresent question facing every gran, grandma and grammy, every nana and nonna, every oma, yaya, mamaw, mom-mom and bubbe. I would hear the question from the mailroom guy at work, from breeze-shooting seatmates on planes and from the owner of my local deli. You’d think by now I could have found a satisfactory answer. After all, we’re not talking the state of my investments, or intimate practices involving black net stockings and handcuffs. But when I happen to mention my grandson Colsen and am asked, “Got a photo handy?”, I always brace myself for a shiver of polite bewilderment. It seems no one has ever heard a grandmother say, without a word of apology, “I never carry photos.”
Colsen’s sixth-grade photo sits on my desk. I’m looking at it right now. With his goofy grin and cocked head, he seems to be thinking of the ultimate fart joke, daring me to top it. He takes after his father, Ben, my first rascal and only child. I think of this photo, and the memories it evokes, as too personal a pleasure for sharing with all and sundry.
But … a grandmother who doesn’t dote is like a bride who forgets to toss her bouquet, a waitress who can’t carry five cups of coffee up her arm, or a starlet who shows up at the Oscars in last year’s gown. The world doesn’t know what to make of such a woman.