I am packing my softest sweatshirts and heading out to meet my granddaughter tomorrow, a sweet little bundle of love named Margo Lake.
I’m a rookie grandma, but I was a rookie mom when Margo’s dad popped his cute little head into this world, so we’re on familiar, natural turf here. And, the thing about being a rookie grandma in Wisconsin is, we have plenty of veterans out there showing us the way.
Gammys, Mimis, Omas, Grannys, Lollys, Grammas and Grans — you see them everywhere, at Saturday morning basketball games and Sunday morning mass; front row at the recitals and kindergarten concerts; cheerful line cloggers in the carpool line. Wisconsin grandmas show up. They’re the emergency contacts at school, and last-minute baby sitters at home; lemonade stand host-ers and graduation toasters; cookie makers and mudpie tasters.
I know a pair of Wisconsin grandparents who sat through their grandaughter’s whole volleyball tournament and then fought through Packer game night traffic to deliver that lucky young athlete to Lambeau so she could attend the Sunday night Bear’s game. They weren’t even going to the game, they just brought her there to meet her parents and then turned around and drove back home.
My own mom was such an enthusiastic fan of my sons’ football teams that she tried to organize a group of similarly inclined ladies called the Gridiron Grandmas.
Another grandma friend of mine has hosted “Gamma” day every Thursday for a dozen years, even as her clan of little buddies continues to grow. She now has 10 grandchildern and she shows up everywhere, all the time, for each of them.
The Grandmas K — Katie and Kathy — two kindred spirits who became best buddies once their kids married — have been delighting their grandchildren with a perfect mix of music and mayhem that makes it clear Wisconsin grannies never grow up.
The Wisconsin grandmas I know, all of them, set high standards for unconditional love, steadfast support and necessary eye twinkles.
I aim to be a Wisconsin grandma to my New Jersey granddaughter. I’m bringing her some Packer booties whipped up by my 86-year old friend Joan. “If she ends up having Charlie’s feet, just let me know,” she said. “I’ll make her a bigger pair.”
I’m also packing cheese whips and cheddar, because calcium is important and Wisconsin cheese is the best. She can’t eat it yet, but her parents can. And, I tucked in a Wisconsin version of Goodnight Moon, because I want her to know that Wisconsin is a magical place and, over the years, we’re going to explore every inch.
She’s only a couple of days old, but she talked to me over the speaker phone Monday night.
Her parents told me she always makes noises when she is being burped and I’m sure that’s true.
But, I also know that grandmas and their grandchildren speak a special language. I told her I’m listening.
And I always will.
See you tomorrow, Margo Lake.
I can’t wait.