A New Grandbaby!

"With our first I tied a ribbon around my waist on Christmas Day. For my in-laws we put a box under their tree with a pink and blue ribbon on it saying, 'See you in August. Princeton Class of 2011."--D & J, Boxborough, Massachusetts

What a wonderful moment to hear that a new grandbaby is on the way! If the news is of your first grandbaby, the announcement has probably brought back memories of the joy and uncertainty you felt when you first learned you were going to be a parent. Just like that ultrasound of your developing grandbaby on the fridge, your role in your new grandchild's life might seem a little fuzzy. You might feel unsure about whether -- and how -- this new little person might change your life. Maybe you're even having trouble matching up your outdated ideas about stodgy, passive grandparents with your hopes for an active, creative relationship with your own grandchild.

If you're experiencing many of these feelings now, don't worry. Your healthy anticipation of the changes to come is simply your way of preparing for a wonderful new perspective on life. In fact, we like to think of this ambiguous prenatal period as Grandma Nature's way of encouraging grandparents to reframe their family relationships and to offer their support more directly and simply. Be reassured that your role in your growing family's life is as important now as it will be when your little grandchild is born. Like a mother's private conversation with her baby-to-be, your loving reassurance and nurturing attention during this time can be your gift to your grown child and developing grandbaby.

For this post-holiday edition, we've assembled some valuable tips on how you can support and become closer to a young and growing family, whether you're a first-time grandparent or an experienced Grammy or Gramps.

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