The YiaYia Effect: Our Double Blessings

Over the years that I’ve been writing here, one of the forefronts of my subjects and life is family. I’ve talked about the bond that I share with my mother, and how for me she is in integral part of our lives. Since we’ve moved to New York City, she hasn’t let two months go by without a visit of some sort. She is a Learning Resource Specialist in the public school system in California and has used up every single absence allowed (very few, trust me), and many that she has been docked pay for just to come and spend time with us. Beyond that she is my best friend, confidant, and the caliber by which I measure much of my own mothering. It only made sense to introduce her to you, so I asked her to write a little something so that you can hear her voice after the many years that I’ve been sharing about her. This was a daunting feat and took many scribbled, erased, and eventually crumpled papers. And I love it.

The following was written by my mother, Harriett (or YiaYia as we know her).

Being a grandparent is everything I’ve always heard it would be, but never took seriously or thought could be true. You really DO get to just play with and enjoy those little ones, taking in every smile, word, and action without the worry of  “other jobs” that should be done.  It’s just pure and guiltless engagement and interaction. It has also proven to be true that is it hard to not want to indulge them often with the latest toys, clothes, and accessories, making it a challenge to even walk by a children’s clothing or toy store unscathed.  And, yes, those familiar (and what I thought were silly) license plate frames are even accurate…..”My grandbabies ARE cuter than yours” (sorry!).



Most astonishing and accurate to it’s billing though, is the “spoiling” thing.  It turns out that it is a very real phenomenon, and it seems I have no control over this new mental/emotional state that renders me helpless to the rules I know should be followed.  Worse yet, I believe and embrace the part about “it’s an entitlement” as a grandparent to think and behave in this way. I can understand my desire to want to indulge them with treats and gifts.  And I can make a case for thinking they are the most darling beings in the world.  The thing that is most out of character for me, though, is in regard to behavior. Those sweet babes can do no wrong (for the most part) and I have been “caught” ignoring inappropriateness, as well as concocting absurd alibis in their defense, and even codling after “the storm”.  This is so wrong, I know, and I am embarrassed to say (sort of) that I have been banished to another room more than once, by my lovely daughter kindly asking me to “butt out”. Which is a whole different level of beauty.


Having the great fortune to be present and observe my own child grow as an adult and a parent is as heartwarming, gratifying, and precious as the gift of grandparenting.  For this, it seems the words are somewhat harder to come by, as it is quite surreal to observe my daughter love and care for her family in much the same way she was/is cared for, and most interesting and moving is that she has begun to “mother” me in the same instinctive, nurturing manner.  It is absolutely delightful, but just a little new and uncomfortable that she insists on making sure that I am fine in every way. (Hey, that’s MY job!) I know these things should not feel surprising or curious, but as parenting goes, everyone does it in their own way, in reaction to all kinds of variables, hoping for the best, and to make it to this “other side” and witness this lifelong venture come around full circle… It is just remarkable.



Foremost, along with being mother and child, it is a true gift that my daughters and I are also best friends. Over the years I wasn’t certain or confident that my “style” of parenting was the “right way”, and certainly others had their opinions.  But, this is the way I always thought and hoped it would be.  And the bonus of all bonuses is that now there is this whole new sweet and yummy layer of life that on some level I knew was coming, but could never have assumed or imagined would be so grand.


Join the Conversation


  • This is beautiful! My mom too is one of my very best friends. I love it when life works out that way.

    And nice job on the blogging Yia Yia…

  • I love this so much!
    Wonderful post, YiaYia!!!

  • I’ve met your momma Jessica– and once I get past the perfect genetics you apparently share, I can attest to her being a kind, lovely person & grandma.
    This is a wonderful and clearly true post– my mother acts exactly the same way with my kids — excuse me, “her babies.”

  • Just lovely! My mom is my best friend, too, and my boys and I see her at least three times a week. My yiayia (my boys call her yiayia-yiayia!) watches my boys when I’m at work, and so does my mom and mother-in-law. We all SO appreciate the love and support our yiayia’s give us… and, of course, the wonderful Greek food. Great blog post, yiayia!

  • Oh, this is just so sweet. What a wonderful perspective <3

  • This is so beautifully written. I moved from Toronto to California with my Husband and 2 Kiddos and left my Mom behind. She makes it out to us every 3 months or so. This morning I thought I would sit down and read some blogs before I rush of to LAX to pick her up. This sums up how I feel about my Mom and I’m sure how she feels about my Munchkins and me. Thankyou for the beautiful post, I wasn’t expecting tears over my morning coffee… And now I am even more giddy to tackle the traffic and see her! 🙂

  • I love this. I have a strained relationship with my mother, but it gives me hope that my daughter and I could have this kind of relationship. =)

  • You guys are so beautiful! What a perfect pair you are. (But of course Jessica would have such an equally sweet mama!)

  • So lovely. Such a wonderful, thoughtful perspective. I’m glad she didn’t crumple up ALL the papers!

  • I love this post Yia Yia! My mom is my best friend also and I hope I have the same relationship with my girls.

  • This is just so beautiful. I got chills. And of course I could only think of my amazing Mother as well… xo

  • I loved reading this when you first wrote it and I just enjoyed it again. You are such a great mom and Yiayia: you are one of the wonderful mother figures I have had the honor of learning from as a young woman and now as a mother!

    I know that my mom and step-mom love being grandmothers as much as you do – lucky babies all around!

    I look forward to reading your next post!

  • I love this!!

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