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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Meet GrandDiva Marsha

By Lisa Carpenter 

How many children and grandchildren do you have?

Three children, and eight grandchildren, ages 8–18.

What do your grandchildren call you?

Grandma. I tried “GrandDiva” with the first grandchild, but it didn’t work.

After the initial elation, what was your first concern when you heard that you would soon be a grandmother?

It made me feel old and I didn’t like it. That’s why I said, “He’s going to call me GrandDiva.”

How often do you get to see your grandchildren?

One set of my grands lives nearby so I can see them when I want to. The other set lives between their mom and dad, so I don’t see them as often as I would like to. 

What is the best thing about being a grandma?

I get to decide when I want to hang out with them, and I get to decide what I want to do with them. The things we do have changed over the years. In the beginning we did fun things like story time, painting, and visiting the other set of grands. We played with Play-Doh, made cookies and gingerbread houses, [and did] Easter egg hunts and backyard things. I would plan and set up the space so that it looked like a child-care center.

Now, since they are older, we do other things like shopping trips and boat rides; we visit museums and amusement parks, and have sleepovers at Grandma’s house. When they come for a week in the summer, we do college visits, go to the pool, and visit amusement parks. The summer before COVID, we did a crab feast, and sometimes we do Grandma’s Brunch, where I make all of their favorite breakfast foods.

What is the most challenging part of being a grandma?

The age differences between the two sets means that I have to be more intentional in planning activities. The younger ones like more physical activities, while the older ones like different things.

In addition to “grandmother,” what other hats do you wear?

I work as a college professor. I am a wife, and I have hobbies of my own. I recently started my own grandmas’ organization called Grandmas2.0.

Describe a recent time that one (or more) of your grandchildren made you laugh. 

One of my grandsons said to the other grands at a birthday celebration for me, “Guess what guys, I know a secret. I know how old Grandma is.” Everyone said, “We all know that Grandma is 26.” He said, “No, my dad told me her real age.” I looked at him and he looked at me, and I said, “Langston, don’t you tell it.” At the same time, my youngest granddaughter said, “Langston, don’t you tell Grandma’s secret. Stop bullying her.” Everyone laughed. It was hilarious. I had been telling them for years that I was 26. 

What is your favorite thing to do with grandchildren who visit your house?

Either cook for them or order their favorite foods and pig out.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting grandchildren at their house?

Since the pandemic, I sometimes take them lunch and we hang out together. It’s very casual.

How do you maintain the bond between yourself and your grandchildren between visits?

Sometimes I text them, and sometimes I FaceTime them. When I call their house, I always say, “Tell my grands I said hello and that I love them.”

What do you most want to pass along to your grandchildren?

A good work ethic, financial literacy, being successful, how to show people that you love them, and a love of family!

What is one word you hope your grandkids think of when they think of you?

Loving. Grandma was good to us! Grandma showed us that she loved us.

What is one thing you’re proud to say you do right as a grandma?

I show them that I love them all of the time.

What one bit of advice would you give a new grandma?

The most important thing you can do for your grandchildren is to show them how special they are to you. The time goes by so fast and you want it to be special for both you and them.

Is there anything else you would you like to add about being a grandmother?

Being a grandma has been so rewarding. It keeps me young and focused on being successful because I want to be a role model for them.

Do you have a website or blog? What is the URL and what is it about?

Yes, It is about coaching grandmas to be the best version of themselves and helping them to redefine who they are, and more importantly, to redefine who they are not! We provide events, resources, information, partnerships, and coaching for grandmas only.

Do you have other works you’d like to share?

I am in the process of writing a book now about Gorgeous Grandmas. Please visit me on FB: @grandmas2.0 and IG: @grandmas2.0.  

Reprinted, with permission, from

Lisa Carpenter is a grandmother, author of the First-Time Grandmother’s Journal, and founder of the blog Grandma’s