Hail to Gramma ... And What's With The Jokes?

We're coming up to Mothers' Day this Sunday -- which is also Grandmas' Day. After all, we grannies are still mothers!

As I've travelled around the country this past month talking about grandmothers, I keep hearing the old jokes: "I should've had my grandchildren FIRST" and "The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is because they have a common enemy."

Well, I say nonsense!

I am bowled over by my grandchildren. Madly in love like most grans. But raising my daughter made my life. And a lot of mothers in my generation say the same. My goodness, we practically fall apart when our kids go off to college, when they leave the nest. And the dirty little secret is that if they fly back home, and move in with us again, most of us love it.

And when they have children -- when they (finally) give us that amazing gift, those babies -- we tear up with joy and gratitude.

I know this isn't true across the board. There are ugly situations where grandparents are not allowed to see their own grandchildren. Can you imagine. And not everyone is over the moon about the babysitting, the diaper-changing, the helping support that goes with grandparenting today. I've heard of grans who say, "Did that with my own kids. Once is enough." But the vast majority of us mom-grans (and dad-gramps) can't get enough of those babies. We live to babysit. Okay, maybe not the diaper changing part...

One reason we Baby Boomer grandmothers are getting along with our daughters (and to some extent our daughters-in-law) is because we walk on eggshells, holding in any criticism of the way they're raising our grandchildren.

Take all the new rules that so many follow today. Call it child-rearing correctness. Almost everyone breast feeds, gives the little darlings Probiotics and Cuisinarts fresh organic veggies. Jars are out.

How many times have I wanted to say, "We didn't do it THAT way, and you turned out okay." But not a word is uttered, not an eyebrow arched. We hold out tongues lest we antagonize our kids and they withhold those babies from us.

I met a grandmother whose daughter-in-law insisted that, as she told me, "If I have picked up another child, I have to change my clothes before I can pick up my granddaughter."

"Why?" I asked.

"Germs. But guess what. I do it. I do whatever she wants. Everything, because I am scared of getting in trouble. I do everything."

In many cases, when new mothers see how much their mothers love their children, the relationship improves and strengthens. I was intrigued by a study that found that more and more young moms say their moms are their best friends. That's how I feel about my kid.

So, my Mothers' Day message is don't listen to those jokes. And call your mother.