Poems About Being a Grandparent

  • 01 of 10

    Poem From a Proud Grandmother

    Grandmother's hands hold the leg of a newborn baby girl
    Joe Petersburger / Getty Images

    Oh, that feeling, when you first lay eyes on a newborn grandchild. Is there anything in the world like it? You can't wait to hold and kiss and bond with your grandbaby. The only thing that comes close in deliciousness is telling everyone else about your grandchild. So beware -- this poem is a wee bit tongue-in-cheek, but altogether delightful.

    Restraint

    Dear one, I resolve
    not to be a foolish grandma
    forcing strangers to admire
    photograph on photograph,
    boring everyone with tales
    of how you burp

    I'll...MORE just secretly adore
    your perfect face,
    tiny fingers,
    precious toes

    --Joy Harold Helsing

    About the Author: Joy Harold Helsing has worked as a sales clerk, secretary, editor, psychologist and teacher. The former New Englander now lives in Northern California. Her work has appeared in many journals, and she has published three chapbooks and one book, Confessions of the Hare. She is also a very proud grandmother.

    "Restraint" was previously published in , a Silver Boomer Book. Used by permission of the author.

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  • 02 of 10

    Poem About a Newborn Grandchild

    poem about grandmother and newborn
    Marc Debnam | Getty Images

    Another take on the experience of meeting a grandchild, this poem captures the bittersweet nature of being a grandparent. We love them, but they aren't really ours, although they do have a special dwelling place in our hearts.

    The Newborn Grandchild

    You were born one early January noon
    That transformed me into grandparenthood
    Skinny little bundle of perfection
    I was the first one to greet you
    Into this imperfect world

    We conversed -- I with words
    You with your senses
    A bond formed then,
    As tight as the...MORE swathing clothes
    As beautiful as your eyes
    Roaming the room,
    Eyebrows puckered
    Questioning the sensations
    Of a world outside the womb

    Conversation ended
    Mother recovered,
    You reverted back to her care

    Tiny enchantress
    Who could have imagined
    You'd snuggle so securely
    Into that unsuspecting compartment
    Of my heart, vacant and aching for you
    All these years.

    --Helen Bar-Lev

    About the Author: Born in New York City, Helen Bar-Lev has lived in Israel for 40 years. She is a renowned landscape artist who has had many exhibitions, including one-woman shows. She is active in international communities in both poetry and art. Visit her website.

    "The Newborn Grandchild" was previously published in Child of My Child: Poems and Stories for Grandparents. Buy from Amazon. Poem used by permission of the author.

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  • 03 of 10

    Poem About Grandparent Time

    grandparents welcome grandchildren to a grandparent's house
    Ariel Skelley | Getty Images

    Is there any time more precious than time spent with grandchildren? The theme of time resonates through this poem by Karen Neuberg.

    Grandchild

    We gather a child in our arms,
    again. Patient in ways we were unable
    to be for our own. Though those
    days long and stretching were filled
    with slow steps and explorations,
    these seem profound. On the bus,
    off the bus. Each day a candle
    glowing in the sky, gathering time
    in our pockets, falling through
    holes in the seams. We gather
    more: child of our child pronouncing
    n...MOREow our names, calling to us
    across a room. Can anything be
    more than this -- or as simple.

    --Karen Neuberg

    About the Author: Karen Neuberg is the author of two chapbooks, Detailed Still and Myself Taking Stage. Her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies. She is a Pushcart nominee. Links to more of her work can be found on her website.

    "Grandchild" was previously published in Child of My Child: Poems and Stories for Grandparents. Reprinted by permission of the author.

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  • 04 of 10

    Poem for When You Are Close Yet Far Away

    High angle view of grandmother and child in water
    MoMo Productions / Getty Images

    When actual, geographical distance separates grandparents and grandchildren, a bit of heartache is bound to result. In fact, long-distance grandparents can experience a wide range of emotions. That's to be expected. But sometimes the unexpected happens, as in this poem.

    Grandson

    In my dream
    I held my grandson tight.
    I put my hand on his little naked shoulder
    and wrapped my arm around his waist.

    In my dream,
    we found a magic swimming pool,
    turquoise, warm, rectangular, large
    and we slipped in together. ....MORE .
    sputtering, bouncing, bobbing, gliding.

    In my dream,
    I made him breakfast
    and sat next to him and watched him swallow.
    I set him up on the rug to play
    and while I did the dishes, I felt
    connected to him across the room.

    This was my dream and although
    in real life, he was faraway,
    beyond my touch, living at bay,
    I visited him through longing,
    a vivid voyage, a chosen foray.

    In real life, I carry around a weight
    of unused grandmotherly acts,
    a whole shopping bag of smiles and
    ready vigilance and pie crust know-how,
    of art projects and songs to sing
    and the desire to cup his head in my hand.
    Still, this was my dream and
    when I woke up, I felt happy.

    --Meredith Escudier

    About the Author: Meredith Escudier divides her time between France and her native California. The author of many poems, she also enjoys writing about the French language and food. 

    "Grandson" was previously published in Child of My Child: Poems and Stories for Grandparents. Used by permission of the author.

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  • 05 of 10

    Poem About Playing With a Grandchild

    Grandmother and grandson reading book together
    John Lund/Marc Romanelli / Getty Images

    Ah, the joys of babysitting a grandchild. What's the best part? Is it sharing books, playing together, or simply getting to drink in the sights and sounds of a growing grandchild>

    In the Playroom

    It's puzzling
    I study you while you play
    all wonder and wild
    you humming like a song
    boy enthralled in the wood
    in pieces of cows and
    cars in the corn

    Wonder guy
    sweet pumpkin delight
    happy tender two
    million dollar smile
    what greater love

    In my niche
    shoeless on the playroom floor
    Bear's Busy Day
    There's a...MORE Monster In My Closet

    And that Grinch
    he had a wonderful awful idea
    .
    I have a Love Song For A Baby
    that's getting so big

    All these mornings I run in circles
    around the orange tree, hearing you growl
    listening to you fuss, I want to stay at Nana's.
    Boohoo, we want our appendix out too!
    (Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans)

    I have found paradise, my Paris
    that pays big bucks indeed
    in hugs and in laughter
    so fruitfully full of
    storybook endings,
    little words with big meanings
    brand new crazy nouns
    (dars and frucks)

    Sad goodbyes then nice quiet
    for Nana, a granny, an ole girl
    that needs rest
    from your round brown
    beautiful eyes, reflection
    a chance to piece together
    your future your smartness
    but mostly your now.

    --Connie Marconi

    About the Author: Connie Marconi, also known as Nana Connie, is a poet, a grandmother and a blogger. 

    "In the Playroom" is used by permission of the author.

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  • 06 of 10

    Poem About Grandchild Growing Up

    Grandfather and Granddaughter on a Walk
    Karen Kasmauski / Getty Images

    Uncommonly honest, this poem perfectly captures the push and pull that many grandparents feel when their parenting and grandparenting roles are conflated. It's also a wonderful celebration of the bittersweet experience of seeing a grandchild grow up.

    Hank Smith: Walking With Marcy

    When they moved in with Betty and me
    after the divorce, my daughter and her daughter,
    it annoyed me at first, spoiling our quiet routine,
    but soon I enjoyed having everyone together,
    especially Marcy running around the...MORE place,
    asking questions, sidekick on my afternoon walk.

    Getting Marcy ready for school became my job.
    I'd fix her breakfast and walk her to the school bus.
    In winter, wake-up time was dark as midnight.
    Why was the morning star so bright, she asked.
    In spring the sky could be pink and orange
    as she took my hand walking to the road.

    Years passed and I saw she was letting go my hand
    when the bus came near, averting her eyes
    when kids yelled: "Hiya Gramps!"
    As we walked to the road one morning, she said,
    "You know, Grandpa, it's okay if you want
    to sleep late. I can get myself ready."

    I looked at her, pretty and grown so much
    since first she joined us, and I said not a word,
    just nodded and smiled back. I heard the bus
    brake to a stop, heard the kids shouting: "Hey Marcy!"
    as I started back to the house. I could stay
    in bed, sleep as late as I want.

    --Lewis Gardner

    About the Author: The poems of Lewis Gardner have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, including the New York Times. A teacher of writing, Gardner has twice been a finalist for the Walt Whitman Award. He also writes plays and has coauthored a book about feral children, Children of the Wild.

    "Hank Smith: Walking With Marcy" was previously published in Child of My Child: Poems and Stories for Grandparents. Used by permission of the author.

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  • 07 of 10

    Poem About Generations

    grandmother and granddaughter saying goodbye at college
    Ariel Skelley | Getty Images

    It's a grand cycle. We left our parents and established our own families. Our children leave us in turn. But when you are a grandparent who has been left behind, what should be a generational cycle sometimes feels like something rougher. 

    Shrapnel

    Shrapnel, a grenade exploding,
    my family has blown itself apart,
    to Texas, Jersey, Ohio, Penn's Woods.
    Explosions hurt.

    Now in searing, secondary explosions,
    their families are flying apart to colleges
    and jobs across our huge country.
    Explosions hurt.

    You...MORE can't complain. You exploded
    from your parents' nest, and they from theirs,
    they from theirs, and they from theirs,
    back to explosions that crossed oceans.
    Explosions hurt.

    --Janet M. Lewis

    About the Author: Janet M. Lewis has two books of poetry and numerous other publications to her credit.

    "Shrapnel" originally appeared in Getting Kind of Late and Selected Poems by Jan Lewis. "Shrapnel" is also included in Child of My Child: Poems and Stories for Grandparents. Used by permission of the author.

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  • 08 of 10

    Poem About Welcoming an Older Grandchild

    Grandmother and granddaughter baking gingerbread cookies
    Caiaimage/Chris Newton / Getty Images

    Some grandchildren don't come to us as infants. Some come as older children, due to a variety of circumstances. Sometimes they come into our lives because we have become step-grandparents. They may come to us through adoption or fostering. Less often, they are simply grandchildren we didn't know we had.

    To a New Grandchild

    Your name is Kristen, you are ten, but
    I don't know you. When your mother
    had you, no one told your father,
    our youngest son.
                                 Did he suspect
    his...MORE brief affair had borne such fruit?
    Did his instincts warn him -- you're too
    young for fatherhood?
                                        Now, too late
    to hold the baby in his arms in awe
    at tiny fingers, nose, and mouth -- but
    soon enough to love, forgive, and

    play the role our seed intended.

    --Mollie Schmidt

    About the Author: Mollie Schmidt has written poems, reviews and professional articles and has published a children's book, Willem of Holland. The grandmother of nine, she lives on a lake in Maine.

    "To a New Grandchild" was previously published in Child of My Child: Poems and Stories for Grandparents. Used by permission of the author.

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  • 09 of 10

    Poem About a Grandchild's Illness

    grandmother thinking about ill grandchild
    mikulas1 / Getty Images

    One of the hardest trials a grandparent can face is the illness of a grandchild. Whether the health issue is large or small, the worry can be devastating.

    Before My Grandson's Surgery

    A thousand miles away from you
    I do not know where to turn.
    I visit the Trappestine Monastery,
    then sit on a bench by their small lake.
    I read, I pray, I contemplate.

    An anhinga hangs from a fallen tree
    drying out like a sail in the wind.
    A snakebird darts under
    the water like a crafty fish;
    a salamander separates from his...MORE tail,
    then scampers away.

    Thoughts of you beat in me
    like the snowy egret's wings.
    I think of your tiny body,
    that mite of kidney,
    that thread of tubing tangled
    like knitting yarn.

    These minutes, these hours, hang
    like that still anhinga. I want to dive
    with you into the smooth cool lake.
    I want us to separate from the pain
    like the salamander. I want to run
    with you to a safer place.

    --Donna Wahlert

    About the Author: The poetry of Donna Wahlert has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals. In addition, she has published The First Pressing: Poetry of the Everyday.

    "To a New Grandchild" was first published in Mothers and Daughters: A Poetry Celebration. It is also included in Child of My Child: Poems and Stories for Grandparents. Used by permission of the author.

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  • 10 of 10

    Poem About Growing With a Grandchild

    grandfather and granddaughter holding hands
    Nina Shannon | Getty Images

    One of the great joys of being a grandparent is teaching our grandchildren something that is important to us. But, oh, do we ever learn from them, too.

    Grown

    Your little hand in my big hand,
    Your little heart in mine.
    We leave our prints upon the land,
    Too lightly pressed to make a sign.

    My little voice in your new voice,
    My little thoughts, with yours, entwined.
    We built a listening world from choice,
    A simple, loving, trusting kind.

    --Martin Hodges

    About the Author: UK author Martin Hodges says he has...MORE spent his life "stringing sentences together."  "Grown" was first published on his blog Square Sunshine.