I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog Being a Bonus Gramma quite the privilege

The concept of “bonus” grandmother only came into my experience in the last couple of years. Never heard the term before that and not sure if it exists outside our daughter’s family. But I like the term. Especially since I have been blessed to be a Bonus Gramma.

My sister, brother and I grew up in a pastor’s home. We moved to a different pastorate every 3-5 years, as Dad got called to a new church in a new town or state. We often lived far away from aunts and uncles and cousins.

As for grandparents, we only had one step-grandmother who we rarely visited because we were too far from Minneapolis where she lived with my mother’s half-sister Esther. (My mom’s mother died when she was very young and her father later remarried.)

I think we sensed a void for that sort of bond because in every church my father served we’d find an older couple with whom we bonded and consider them our “grandparents” for the time we lived at that location. These would be people our folks trusted and allowed us to visit–sometimes for milk and cookies.

But the concept of bonus gramma came about very differently. When our daughter Cassie was in high school, she became friends with Tami. They maintained their friendship through the next few years, even when living, sometimes, far apart. They both ended up in Omaha–Cassie as a counselor and Tami as a nurse. In time they rented a house together.

One day, Tami introduced Cassie to Grant. Grant was “the” one and it didn’t seem all that long before we attended Tami and Grants’ wedding in Omaha with Cassie and Grant’s brother Kurt standing up for them. Two years later, Cassie and Kurt married in that same church.

Tami and Grant ended up moving to Minnesota close to Grant’s parents. Tami’s mother Julia left Kearney to be near them. Fast forward. The couples began having children. So what do you do when the families are close and care enough to be part of the lives of the children of both couples? Not sure how it started, but since Julia was involved in family get-togethers and was always encouraging, she became a bonus gramma to Cassie and Kurt’s children.

Tami and Grants’ children had two grandmothers with Julia and Grant and Kurt’s mom Becky. So what role did I play, since I was also present? I also gave hugs and gifts. I became the bonus gramma for their children. The last time we were all together, it warmed my heart when Liam glanced toward me and called me, “Bonus gramma.”

What a privilege to be included and be able to watch these children grow. I am glad indeed to be a bonus in these kids’ lives. For even though they now live much further away in Virginia, I can see pictures and videos. I am blessed.

By Carolyn R Scheidies

Published in Kearney Hub 9/16/2019



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