I Wanna Be a Grandma

family lettersThis is a mock letter which represents the feelings expressed to me by many parents whose adult daughters are unmarried and in their thirties.


Dear Daughter,

It’s not about you, it’s about me! I want to be a grandma. I know there are other ways to do it.

I could ask my neighbor if I could substitute for her parents who live across the country, and I do—but it’s not the same.

I could volunteer to hold sick babies at the hospital, but it’s not the same.

I could become a foster grandparent, but it’s not the same.

If you become a mom you will understand me better and forgive my imperfections, because you too will be an imperfect mom. Maybe you or the baby will need what I have to offer . . . love and support. Now I often feel you reject that in the name of independence.

Yes I would like to see you married. Not just to make a baby. In fact, sometimes in my loneliest hours, I think: “maybe it would be OK if you make a baby with technology.” I not only want a grandchild, but I want you to understand me, and I want to live on.

I am feeling vulnerable as I see my friends get sick I want to know you have someone to care for you. I still feel responsibility for you. I want to share that.

My development is arrested, I can’t move on to the next stage of life—the grandparenting stage—because, as in utero, our lives are still attached.

I love you as only you will only understand when you have a child.

Wanting the Best for You,



While you may think that we need to wait for others to make us grandparents, we can emotionally or legally adopt our own grandchildren. We can use our grandparenting skills by mentoring others, by volunteering, and by fostering. It may not be the same as being a biological grandparent, but it comes with its own deep bonds and joy.  

By Ruth Nemzoff

Author and Speaker: Don’t Bite Your Tongue: How to Foster Rewarding Relationships with Your Adult Children

Don’t Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family

Resident Scholar

Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center

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