We asked you to share your stories of unconventional grandmotherhood, hoping to hear from a few boundary-breaking, motorcycle-riding, inspiring women. We were overwhelmed by the number of responses we got, and the number of stories that made us laugh, cry, and laugh-cry while reading. Today is for every woman who is redefining the concept of age and setting the bar for what grandmotherhood can be. Three cheers for these five truly aspirational, inspirational, and unconventional women:
Unexpected grandma to a mini-me
I've only been a grandma for a short 5 years although my granddaughter is 10. You see, back in 1979 I gave up her Mom, "It's A Girl", for adoption so she could have a life with a family that would love her. Everyday I would wake with a mantra to her: I love you, I hope you are healthy, and I hope life is treating you well. We finally met 5 years ago and I was pleased as punch to get me a "package deal." My daughter, an awesome son-in-law, and my beautiful mini-me. She calls me Lucy. ❤️
Rosemary (via her granddaughter, Aransas)
Five different friends forwarded your request for glorious grandmas to me because I come from an incontrovertibly extraordinary woman. The things I will tell you about her will make you wonder how she is even possible. I assure you, we all ask that question daily...
My grandmother is 89 years old, and as playful and spirited as any 8 or 9 year old.
She dresses each day in color coordinated athleisure (with kicks from her collection of ~50 pairs of sneakers), practices yoga before the sun rises, runs 5 miles after that, and then spends most of the day mowing and maintaining a magical 2 acre wonderland that looks like a botanic garden. That’s all pretty astonishing, but it’s her sense of play that makes her a light in the world! She climbs every tree (and water tower) she sees. She makes wry and hilarious jokes! She drops down and does the splits! She rides every carousel she finds. She designs and builds houses with her own hands. She dances with wild abandon. She races 5Ks (and wins her age group every time!) She proves to everyone she meets that aging isn’t about letting go and giving up, it’s about trying new things, finding and pushing your boundaries, and being in the moment. She is pure magic, and I’m so very privileged to see every day the endless potential of our brief and extraordinary lives.
I’m "Nana" to two amazing grandchildren. When I was 57 I went to seminary, became an ordained minister, and began co-pastoring a church. That’s enough pressure to make me pee my pants, which is why I’m thankful for Icon!
Globetrotting grandmother of eight
I’m a grandmother on the go, Debi Lander, aka Mimi to my eight grandchildren. I travel the globe working as a freelance travel writer/photographer. I adore poking around small quirky museums, conquering medium sized cities, and taking large adventures. I ventured to Tanzania, Africa on a volunteer vacation in 2015, spent six-months traveling Europe with a newly retired friend in 2016. I’ve driven a tank, gone skydiving, hiked to the top of Gros Piton in St. Lucia and explored salt mines. I’ve been to over 60 countries reporting on the small French-owned islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon (near Newfoundland), the volcano-destroyed capital of Montserrat in the West Indies, and the remote Orkney Islands in Scotland. I ascended in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey, observed sunrise on Mt Haleakala, Hawaii, before biking down the mountain. I’ve visited an elephant sanctuary in India and saw rare birds (and snakes) along the Amazon River. I’m headed to Romania and Bulgaria in October and hope to get to Easter Island and Egypt within the next five years.
FYI- I’m 68 years old, divorced and live on a horse farm in Ocala, Florida. I also love the U.S. National Parks. Here's a photo of me giving myself a mud treatment before washing it off in the Dead Sea, in Jordan.
Proving working women are no joke
I’m a 67 year old grandmother and great grandmother. I spent 33 years of my life driving a “big rig.” I was 28 working in a truck stop when some of the local truckers thought it would be a funny joke to teach a woman to drive a semi-truck trailer combo.
The joke was on them. The first time a sat in the seat of that truck something in my soul told me this is where I belonged. I spent the years while my 2 children were younger just doing local driving with anyone that would let me.
In 1978 I went to work for a big company as a “second seat” driver. Basically I was a student driver. I travelled all over the US and it was official, I had the “bug.” It was all I wanted to ever do.
I graduated to being able to drive solo, even did a little driver training. I pulled refrigerated trailers, dry cans, and flat beds. I pulled oversize loads, hazmat loads. I hauled just about anything you could put in or on a trailer.
When my health started giving me trouble I reluctantly quit and retired home to Illinois. To the last day I could say I loved my job! On my worst day when I was dirty, tired, cold or hot, hungry or even sick my job was still the best thing that had ever happened to since having my two children.
-Share your stories of unconventional grandmotherhood in the comments!-