The Grandmother’s Gallery of Art

Ann Symes wasn’t expecting to be a grandmother.

“The kids were getting older, as were we,” says Ann, 66, who lives with her husband, Herb, in Maynard, Mass.

“No one was talking about babies, and we did not push.”

Ann Symes saves “every single thing” that her granddaughters scribble, paint, sculpt, and glue.

So when their son Dan and his wife, Amanda, had two daughters in close succession,”we felt more blessed than we ever thought possible.”

Dan, Amanda, and the girls, now four and two years old, live a few minutes from Ann and Herb.

Dan travels a lot for his job with a software company and Amanda, a nurse, starts work at 3 p.m., so Ann and Herb often watch the girls in the late afternoons and evenings.

“I cannot explain how wonderful it is and what a wonderful addition to our relationship the girls are,” says Ann, who retired from her job with a computer manufacturer three years ago. “I think when we were parents, we were somewhat like parents today—busy working, providing for the boys, worrying.”

“As grandparents, we get to enjoy the funny things they do and say. We get to study their little hands as they build with blocks or scoop up spaghetti.”

“We have the time to simply take in this stuff—every second of it—while we are here.”

Ann knows she’ll want to relive these years again and again, so she’s saving “every single thing” the girls scribble, paint, sculpt, and glue for her and Herb.

“I go through the box each time I add a new creation,” she says. “It tugs at the heart when you see the baby cards and realize how fast they are growing.”

She exhibits some of their art on a wall in her kitchen.

“Oh my—how proud they are to see their stuff framed and displayed,” says Ann. “I think it makes the ‘I love it! Beautiful! So proud of you!’ more legitimate.”