Joy, from a grandmother's perspective.

On the day that my first granddaughter was born, I was living in New Jersey. The call came and I was on a plane within three hours racing to Riverside Hospital. I made it in time to welcome Camille into our family with love and absolute awe. That was 14 years ago.

She starts high school tomorrow, so we had a girls' day together to celebrate. We got manicures at our favorite salon and then had lunch, followed by Jeni's ice cream. I arranged my schedule to accommodate our afternoon of pleasure together. You see, I live for these outings with my special love.

Watching her grow and negotiate the phases of life gives me a sense of joy that defies words. Being a grandmother is an opportunity to witness my own continuation of life. I watch my beautiful Camille and I remember her mother, the once little girl I could not fully appreciate because I was busy being a young mom with endless things to do and accomplish. Now, I get to witness that daughter being the young mother who was once me and I smile with tender recollection mixed with pride and joy. There is an order to life as it moves from generation to generation. How lovely to be an active participant in the making of this family.

People often tell me how lucky I am to be living in close proximity to my family. They envy our closeness and our participation in each other's lives. We truly are a village raising the four grandchildren together. I bristle just a bit when our situation is viewed as "lucky." Actually, luck had very little to do with it.

My husband and I made a conscious choice to move to Columbus, Ohio, leaving the grandeur of Arizona behind. I won't say that it was an easy choice. In fact, there was acute pain in letting go of the Arizona dream. For six months, I cried and knitted socks as my grief transformed into resolve. Yet, move, we did.

Do I regret letting go of that dream? Not ever. I am too busy making memories with a beautiful young woman who does not know life without me. Next in line is her brother ... then come her cousins. I figure that by the time baby Charlotte is getting manicures with me, I may not even be able to remember Arizona.

Grandparents ... children ... grandchildren. Life moves quickly. Be aware and choose wisely. The joy of family is precious.

With a smile,
Diane Strausser
diane.strausser@sbcglobal.net