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The Ultimate Rules for Grandma Success Becoming a grandmother is not one of life's free choices. You can pick your pet, your alma mater, and your spouse, but when and where you become a grandma is entirely up to your kids. You don't expect it, and you don't quite know how to respond. Being a grandma, though, is as close as you may ever get to perfection. So learn the rules and secure your spot as one of the most important parts of your grandchildren's lives.
<p>When our first grandchild was about to enter our world, my son Michael called and told us they were off to the hospital and we should "stand by." I don't do "stand by" very well so I jumped in my car and zoomed to the hospital (just a tad over the speed limit) and began searching for the father- and mother-to-be. Michael came out of the delivery room to announce that Rachel was forty-five minutes old and beautiful. I hugged him like never before and suddenly, in my mind, he was just born forty-five minutes ago; then he was a toddler, a first grader, a senior in high school, a college grad, and a man.</p><p>A funny thing happened to my first-born son when he had his first (and only) daughter. Michael became the self-appointed father of the year. He knew everything there was to know about fathering. As for me, the instant grandma, I knew nothing. Never mind that I raised him. I no longer knew anything about raising anybody, and he declared me braindead. Michael was in charge of Rachel. He had rules for taking care of her. And all of them applied to me. Therefore, I started taking notes. Along the way I added my friends' stories about grandparenting. Their first-time grandma stories were as funny as mine. Thankfully, I learned I wasn't the only grandma declared brain-dead by my kid. There were a lot of us running around creating chaos. It was an epidemic of know-nothing grandmas who needed to learn a whole lot about taking care of babies. It tickled my fancy and my funny bone. There was only one way to get even. I took pen to paper-or, as in this new millennium, fingertips to keyboard-and I wrote this book. Luckily, my son Michael has a sense of humor. </p><p>The "rules and regulations" slowly disappeared when Michael's son Jake was born, and by the time their third child, Matt, was here, they were such laid-back parents, they would give me the kids on a moment's notice. As they pulled out of the driveway after dropping my grandkids off one afternoon, they yelled, "Have fun, don't bring them back until next week, and do anything you want." Meanwhile, our daughter Dina married and produced three daughters bing, bang, boom. Kelsey and Amanda are eighteen months apart and Alexis is two years younger. I think she trusted me more with her kids than Michael did with his. But still, I gathered more and more stories to be told. I have a wonderful time as a grandmother. By the grace of God, our grandkids live close by and I never stop thinking how lucky I am to have them. I have been a spectator at most of their games and shows, and I have been a participant in so much more, which you will learn as you read my book. I have watched them grow into fascinating teenagers, each with his or her distinct personality. I will tell you this much-they can laugh at themselves as much as at each other-and they certainly can laugh with me. I am not as involved in their lives as I used to be, and a part of me wishes we could go back. But life just happens and they grow up as you grow old.</p><p>I try to stay connected any which way I can, and it's hard sometimes. I know they still love me, but their lives have taken on a force of nature that doesn't include Grandma. We'll be closer again, I'm sure of it. Basically, I am standing by.</p>