Glass Half Full: The joys of becoming a grandparent |

Glass Half Full: The joys of becoming a grandparent

Ruth Glass
Special to the Bonanza

I am a grandmother. I am a grandmother! How many times do we hear others announce they are grandparents, with a strange glow in their eyes and tremor in their voices, and think, “That’s nice; I’m happy for you.”

We think we know how we will feel when our own time comes, but we don’t.

It’s not until that actual, personal call comes through — or in my case, a FaceTime call complete with mother and newborn child — that we finally, fully understand the significance of welcoming a new generation.

There was our daughter, Allison, on screen, holding a magnificent little bundle. “Meet your new granddaughter.” Pause. “Her name is Johanna Ruth.”

The Johanna is a feminized version of my father’s name, John. The Ruth is for, well, me. A double whammy of gratitude and mind-boggling awe.

Allison and Shawn are old fashioned in many ways. They did not know if they were having a girl or a boy.

We kind of liked that return to mystery, though we certainly understand and respect the fact that most parents want to find out who’s on the way well before she or he arrives. It’s not as if there might be any changes, for goodness sake.

Still, we enjoyed the additional suspense and opportunity to picture activities with a future grandson or granddaughter.

Now I have joined the legions of grandmothers whose first purchase was soft, very feminine, and undoubtedly only a tiny toe dipped into the giant waters of Dressing a Granddaughter.

Just watch her become like I was, happy mostly in scruffy Levis and some old shirt.

Johanna Ruth and her parents live on Cape Cod. We will visit during ski week, in three weeks (make that 16 days from this publication).

While we are counting the days and eager to provide support, we also like that they are finding their way as a family and having this very special bonding time to themselves.

As those of us who have had babies recall, it’s not always an easy special bonding time, what with sleepless nights and trying to figure out which cry means what.

But I have faith and confidence in our daughter and her husband. I don’t ever want to suggest that they are anything but completely capable.

I want them to know that, while we are always ready to help in any ways that we can, we are the grandparents, not the parents, and we believe in them and their choices.

In the meantime, my glass is not half full. It is overflowing.

Ruth Glass is headmaster at Lake Tahoe School. She can be reached for comment through her blog at

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