I recently got this note from Holly Sears, 68, a reader in Livermore, Calif.:
“I was never a mother. I was a hippie-type who helped raise my younger brothers and sister; my husband and I felt that was enough for us.
When I retired from teaching a few years ago to help with my aging mother, a young couple we hung out with decided to have a baby.
How a woman who never had kids became a grandma.
I said I could help out if they needed it.
I’m now their baby’s nanny. She calls me Nana. I take care of her seven to nine hours a day, four or five days a week.
After the first year I did start charging them a monthly amount—about one-quarter of the going rate. I use this money to help pay my mother’s caregivers.
Anyway, I’ve had my baby since she was two months old and she is now two and a half years old. She comes to my house for care. I fill in any extra time the parents need me without any additional charge.
This has been wonderful for my spirit and health. My husband has fallen in love with her, also.
Her parents are able to afford a small house; they both work. Her grandparents come once a week if they are not traveling, so I get a break.
I would recommend this to other grandparent-aged people who wish they had a grandchild. It helps a young family get started in life; it provides the pretend grandparents with all the love and laughter that comes from a child; and the little extra money comes in handy (unless you buy lots of stuff for the child, which is tempting). Many of the younger people I taught with have given me wonderful toys their children have outgrown.
Just thought I would share. There are lots of young families out there who could use a helping hand.”