My Father died at the age of 35 years old. I was five (5) years old and my Sister was three (3) years old. My Mother died at the age of age of 30 years old. I was seven (7) years old and my Sister was five (5) years old; so neither of my parents got the opportunity to become a GrandParent.
My Paternal GrandFather died before we were born. My Paternal GrandMother died, when I was ten (10) years old and my Sister was seven (7) years old; so we didn’t get a lot of time to make memorable memories with our Paternal Grandparents.
My Maternal GrandMother died, when I was 25 years old and my Sister was 23 years old. My Maternal GrandFather died when I was 31 years old and my Sister was 29 years old. Though, we got to know them greatly, I don’t recall any fun-filled memories with them.
My son’s father and his family were never really in his life and with my parents passing away before he was born, my son was raised with no grandparents at all in his life.
Opportunity for Change
While I was in graduate school, I was BLESSED to become a GrandMother, with a GrandDaughter on Valentines Day of 2012. She is the Sweetest Valentine’s Day gift, for the rest of my life! Her name is DeYani Danielle Lawrence. I gave her the nickname “Mink,” because I knew she would acquire a great deal of my money.
Initially, I chose my GrandMother’s name to be “Mother Dear.” When I would come home to visit from graduate school, I would give her my typical “Hello,” which was “Hey Nah!” While I was away in South Africa, my Son and Daughter-In-Law would show her pictures of me and she would say, “Hey Nah!”
After my experience in South Africa and learning in the Xhosa culture, GrandMother was called “Magogo;” I chose to change my GrandMother’s name to “Magogo” to commemorate my experience in South Africa. Now upon my return, Mink still calls me “Hey Nah;” which has become by GrandMother nickname. So I gave myself a GrandMother name and my GrandDaughter has given me a GrandMother nickname and she uses both!
Given my lack of experience of having or watching my son have a fun-filled GrandMother, I made a personal vow to be the Fun-Filled GrandMother I wish I had or the Fun-Filled GrandMother I wish my Son had; this was a change I wanted to see.
When my GrandDaughter reached the potty training period (2 1/2 years old), I made arrangements with my Son and Daughter-In-Law to pick her up every other Sunday. My goal was to spend time with just her in order for her to get to know me better and to create fun-filled memories for the both of us. I wanted her to be able to remember special times that just the two of us shared. I would researched things for us to do together and looked forward to doing them! I called our time together “Mink and Magogo Day!”
Some of the things that we’ve experienced on our “Mink and Magogo Day” are:
- UniverSoul Circus
- Bengtson Pumpkin Patch
- Build-A-Bear Workshop
- 1st Movie Theatre experience – “Home”
- Mall Playground – Her Favorite
- School Field Trips
- Navy Pier
- Lincoln Park Zoo
- Live Musical Plays
- Fancy Nancy
- Elephant and Piggy
When I began to run out of things to do, I sought help from my Son and Daughter-In-Law. My Son said, “Mom, you don’t have to do something every time you pick her up. You can just sit at home with her.” I was like, “No, I’ve got to do something, while I am able. You never know when it’s my last day on this earth.”
During graduate school, I decided to go natural with my hair. Right before I went to South Africa, I got the “Big Chop.”
After my return from Africa and my hair had begun to grow back, I sought the service of my Cousin LaToya Jackson, who specializes in braiding little girls’ hair. I went to get my hair twisted every 2 weeks. Then Mink’s hair began to grow and she needed her hair braided as well. So our Fun-Filled “Mink and Magogo Day” turned into “Mink and Magogo’s Hair Day.”
Continuing to explore being a Fun-Filled GrandMother…