The Glory of Grandparenting by Rula Sinara & Catherine Lanigan

Catherine and granddaughter Caylin during her summer trip to Mystic Seaport, Connecticut

Rula: It's hard to believe that September is already here! The weather is in transition, the Autumn Equinox is only three weeks away and the school year is underway. With Labor Day behind us, Catherine and I wanted to remind everyone that the next special day this month is...Grandparent's Day (lots of family pics from Catherine below)! 

My grandparents passed away many years ago, but I still have wonderful memories of them. And now, I get to watch my kids, as they spend precious time with their grandparents. My parents are always brimming with stories to tell my teenagers: some that are old tales and some that are real life experiences they had growing up. The wisdom and love shared between them is about as heartwarming and precious as it gets. And let me tell you, my parents are way funnier now than I remember them being when I was growing up :). I mean, sometimes they have us laughing so hard I start wondering if they missed their calling as stand-up comedians! But, that's probably because they are at a point in their lives where they can kick-back and relax. Sure, they still worry about us (a parent is always a parent, no matter how old their kids get), but they no longer have the day-to-day responsibilities of parenting, so they can really enjoy their time with us.

Now, I realize there are grandparents out there who are raising their grandchildren (or child) in full-blown parenting responsibilities...and I want to toast all of you for being that pillar of strength in someone's life. You are amazing. Being a grandparent can be so many different things to different people. Grandparent's Day is a day to celebrate the positive role grandparents can have in our lives.

I personally love seeing grandparent characters in movies and books. From comedies to romance to family dramas, that grandmother or grandfather (or equivalent role, really) is very often my favorite. Take the movie Meet the Parents and its sequels (Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Barbara Streisand, Dustin Hoffman & other amazing actors), for example. Unforgettable and hilarious! 

Or what about Peter Faulk, as the grandfather reading to his grandson in The Princess Bride? Another favorite of mine. Or Betty White as Grandma Annie in one of my favorite romantic comedies, The Proposal? Are there words for how amazing she is in that role? And I also love Grandma Tala in Moana. Her guidance and wisdom were vital in the story. I could go on, but I want to hear YOUR favorites in the comments.

One of the things I love about the Heartwarming line is that family and community play an important role in the story. Yes, the stories have a central romance, but the heroes and heroines are true to life, so grandparents and/or older characters play a role in their lives. I know that Catherine has a memorable character, Mrs. Beabots, in her Shores of Indian Lake series and I've been told that the heroine's grandmother in the first book of my Turtleback Beach series, Almost a Bride, was 'so spunky and alive'...even though she was dead!

I'd love to hear about your favorite grandparent characters, but first, Catherine has some special photos to share of her granddaughter and grandnieces! I must say, Catherine is an awesome and super fun grandmother! Over to you, Catherine...

Catherine: I’m one of those who remembers life when there was no Grandparents Day and I have to say, that of all the newly christened “holidays” and “memorials” that have been designed, designated and originated by either politicians or lobbyists, this one has merit. I just wish there’d been such a day when my grandparents had been alive. As it is, I send love, thanks and kudos to all the grandparents who have gone before us.

That said, now that I’ve been a Grandmother to my one and only grandchild, Caylin, and a Grandaunt to my four grandnieces, I find this chance to reflect on my role in their lives--valuable.

Catherine and her 4 grandnieces

This past summer, (sniff, sadly it is “past” already) Caylin, a Marine Biology student from Texas A & M, was an intern at the Mystic Sea Port Aquarium. I flew out to Mystic to see her for a whirlwind two day weekend when she was off-duty. Those less than forty-eight hours will remain golden in my life till the day I die. I flew in to Providence, RI, Airport where Caylin picked me up. In her twenty-one years, that’s the tightest most tearful hug I’ve ever received from her. I’ve gone back to that hug all summer long. We had dinner in Providence and did a bit of quick sight seeing as the sun was sinking and a tremendous storm rolled in just as we entered the restaurant.

Caylin and Catherine in Mystic

For the next two days, I not only met Caylin’s co-workers, the other interns and toured the Aquarium, but I saw a baby seal who was still being weened and too young to be allowed into the Aquarium proper. As he swam around, I talked to him, he got out of the water and came right up to me and looked at me with wide, love-filled eyes, as if he knew me. The crew standing around couldn’t believe it. Yep, right there, I thought, “Hmm. Maybe I’m cut out for this work as well!”

This weekend is rather special in our family’s world. Both my niece, Elaine, and my new niece-in-law are expecting our first boy babies in the family. I’m throwing the shower and even though this is Elaine’s fifth child, I can’t begin to describe the joy we are all feeling that the two boy cousins will be so close in age and have each other as they grow up.

I only had one blue hydrangea from the yard, so I found these at the grocery store and put the centerpiece together yesterday.

Shower flowers

Baby shower cookies

Rattle and Onsies shower cookies

All of my Grand-Adorables as Loree Lough calls her grandchildren, live in distant cities. I’m not part of their everyday life and sadly, Caylin lives on the other side of the country from me. Thank goodness for emails, phone texts, Facebook and phone calls so that we keep current on all the “happenings”. 

Beautiful generations: Catherine and all of her family this weekend

Now that summer is waning and cozy weather is around the corner, what is your favorite Grandparent story, either as the child or the parent? It could be a true story or personal experience...or one you enjoyed in a book or movie. Do you have plans for this month's Grandparent's Day?

Amazon (June 2019)

Amazon (November 2019)


Rula & Catherine


  1. I love being Nana, and I love when grandparents find their way into stories, too. A great post, ladies--as usual!

    1. Thanks, Liz! I think our stories as grandparents make our novels richer by the minute!

  2. A year ago this month I joined the grandparent club and life hasn’t been the same since. I had no idea how much love I’d feel for my granddaughter! Rula you are so right when you say parents ‘morph’ into something completely different as grandparents. And Catherine, what an awesome trip you had with your Caylin. Wonderful memories for all. Thanks ladies!

    1. Thanks, Janice! It's so true what Rula said. I keep morphing. I hope I'm evolving an becoming a better person through my grandchild and grand nieces!

  3. What a wonderful post. I was close to my grandmother. We lived on the farm, and she'd moved to town, so on days I had an activity scheduled, I'd hang out at her house between school and the lesson or whatever. She always had a full cookie jar, a willing ear, and fascinating stories.

  4. I have one grandfather that I never knew, he died in an accident when I was two. I have only one memory of him, but it's an important one, because I can remember loving him completely.

  5. What a lovely dual post. Love those photos and family stories. I notice all the time on this blog that many of you have some serious game when it comes to party planning and big family events. I forgot those skills exist! My two grandsons don't live nearby, so I don't see them often, but I sure love them dearly. And I also salute any grandparents who are raising grandchildren. I see it around me and it can be tough.

  6. Great post! I love seeing the pictures of Catherine and her family too! Grandparents are so special. I still get to have lunch with my 89 year old grandmother and now that I'm an adult, I appreciate her perspective on things so much more. Oh, the wisdom. I listened to a Ted talk a while back that explained one role of a grandparent is to teach the grandchild his/her place in the family. Mom and Dad are usually so busy "raising" the child. But a grandparent (historically) has had more time to walk and talk with the child and tell him/her stories of the family. They tell stories about their childhood, the parent's childhood, about the child being born, about obstacles and challenges the family faced over the years. This has always stuck with me. A type of psychological strength seems to emerge when you know where you belong. Grandparents are such a gift to the world:-)


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