A Santa Cruz postpartum doula, a New Hampshire flute-maker, a Zen teacher, a dance therapist, a Sri Lankan film director—these are a few of the grandparents who share their stories in this bracing collection. The essays cover a wide range of experiences as they examine the marrow of this often undervalued relationship from both the grandparent and the grandchild point of view. A common thread running throughout is the special importance of these relationships, which are often as complex and rewarding as the parent-child connection.
Wondrous Child is divided into four parts. In Part One, “Settling In,” new grandparents survey the territory and describe their expectations. Part Two, “Balancing Reality and Hope,” takes a deeper look at some of the heartbreak that can occur, as well as complexities: step-grandparenting, spanning geographical distance, the surprise of children living with grandparents. Part Three, “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren,” explores men and women parenting their grandchildren in the absence of parents. Part Four, “Grandchildren Remember” is written by grown grandchildren who catch the tone and feeling of this special person in their life. These vivid essays will appeal to both grandparents, as a celebration of their place in the family, and new parents curious about how grandparents can contribute to their children.
About the Author
Jane Isay has been an editor for over forty years. She discovered Mary Pipher's "Reviving Ophelia," commissioned Patricia O'Connor's bestselling "Woe Is I" and Rachel Simmons' "Odd Girl Out," and edited such nonfiction classics as "Praying for Sheetrock" and "Friday Night Lights." She lives in New York City, not too far from her grown children and grandchild.
"[Wondrous Child] provides a window onto the importance of a growing issue—and population—involved in both parenting and child care: grandparents. … [The anthology] collects 28 personal essays from grandparents and grandchildren across a variety of backgrounds."
“Lately, as I deal with two adolescents and two more on the way, I have come to think that the entire point of parenthood might be grandparenthood. Certainly I expect it will be more fun. The delightfully honest essays of Wondrous Child illuminate the warm and loving yet complicated (even occasionally fraught) relationships between parents, grandparents, and the children they all love. It's a must-read across the generations.”
—Ayelet Waldman, author of Bad Mother
“As the demographic bulge of the Boomers moves into grandparenthood, Wondrous Child will help men of my generation, who were often unprepared to be parents and left their children with a wobbly role model of good fathering. Being a grandfather is a second chance to give and receive the blessings that flow from nurturing a growing child. This thoughtful anthology will help you put your best into creating a rewarding relationship with your grandchildren.”
—Will Glennon, author of Fathering and 200 Ways to Raise a Boy’s Emotional Intelligence
“Since the ability of the heart and mind to respond, with love and ingenuity and dedication, to grandparenting challenges is the theme that runs through all these stories, this book might well have been titled ‘Grandparenting as a Spiritual Practice.’”
—Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness Is an Inside Job
“Wondrous Child is a treasure, exploring the life passage into active grandparenting in sensitive and surprising ways. Savor the essays one or two at a time, so you can extract the most pleasure and meaning from each—ideas and perceptions from this book will stay with you for months to come. An ideal gift for moms, proud dads, and the grandparents in your life.”
—Anne Mollegen Smith, former editor-in-chief of Redbook and McCall’s
“Within these pages is proof positive of the loving legacy between grandparents and grandchildren. Proof positive that the generations have much wisdom and joy to pass along.”
—Judy Ford, family therapist and author of Wonderful Ways to Love a Grandchild
“This often-surprising collection of essays explores the complex role of grandparents in today’s world of step-grandparents, ex-spouses, gay grandparents, racial issues, and what one writer calls bridging ‘geographical and emotional distances.’ Though there’s a vast array of experiences in these touching essays, common threads run through them: the fierce and overwhelming love we feel for our grandchildren, how we end up learning from them, and how very complicated the emotional bonds of three generations can be. As a besotted grandmother myself, I highly recommend this book.”
—Barbara Abercrombie, author of A Year of Writing Dangerously and editor of CHERISHED: 21 Writers on Animals They've Loved and Lost
“A bible for the uninitiated and a hymnal for the rest of us, Wondrous Child delineates the landscape of grandparenting in thirty graceful and grace-filled essays. The writers include grandchildren and grandparents raising grandchildren; their diversity allows us to experience grandparenting from many perspectives. The overall effect is that of sitting down for dinner with an articulate, honest, and lively group of friends.”
—Susan Adcox, Guide to Grandparents on About.com
“Touching and truthful, Wondrous Child does not spare the hard times, but shows fully the love possible between child, parents, and grandparents. The diverse group of writers Lindy Hough has brought together in Wondrous Child inspires us to summon our best with our grandchildren in good times or difficult. I want to give this book to all the grandparents and parents I know who are navigating three-generation relationships.”
—Susan P. Halpern MSW, author of Finding the Words: Candid Conversations with Loved Ones
"Look at the cover of Wondrous Child, and you'll know that you have in your hands a grandparenting book that's a little bit different. There's a distinct emphasis on the emotional and spiritual rather than the physical and practical. I feel enriched and empowered by these grandparenting stories."
"Lindy Hough's Wondrous Child: The Joys and Challenges of Grandparenting is a book of an entirely different nature. A collection of short essays by grandparents of multiple stripes, it is an engaging and very personal look at how love weaves itself through generations, gender, class, race, and age. Hough, a poet and editor, has gathered writers from hither and yon to share their experiences of grandparenting. The resulting compilation is a cornucopia of feeling and situation, some of it unexpectedly dark, but all of it intimate and touching."