From parents to grandparents – making the transition

NIAGARA, Wis. — As most of you who have children — and have attained a certain age — already know, being a parent is very different from being a grandparent. I did not realize this, of course, until I had grandchildren. I mistakenly believed that since my husband and I had successfully raised two boys, being a grandparent would be easy — kind of a been there, done that sort of experience. Wrong! I remember seeing a book at my mother-in-law’s home decades ago entitled, “How to Be a Grandmother.” I thought at the time that it was odd because she had raised four kids already. Turns out she wisely knew this would be a different experience, and she wanted to do it right. I wish now that I had followed her example and read up on the subject.

Don’t get me wrong, we love our grandkids — all five of them — but we never took into consideration that our sons and their wives would have a different set of expectations about our role than we did. For example, when we were young and our now adult sons were kids, our parents always had them come and visit for one week each year to give us a break. My mother, especially, looked forward to having them since they were her only two for many years until my youngest brother added two more to the family. My husband’s parents did not continue this for long as they ended up with 12 grandchildren in four groups of three. Understandably, if they had given our boys a week’s vacation with them, they would have had to do so with all 12 and would have needed a vacation themselves!

We really appreciated this little time away from our kids, and they looked forward to visiting with their grandparents. We were able to concentrate on being just a couple, and at the end of the week were energized, rested and ready to “parent” again. And our boys completely enjoyed their break from us. My mother always had special outings planned with them and treated them to ice cream cones and car rides as she had done with her own kids. My mother-in-law had a fun way of incorporating them into whatever she was doing around the house. My oldest son remembers to this day how she would talk to him like Mr. Clean while she was doing dishes, and he was playing in the kitchen.

So, we vowed that when it was our turn, we would certainly return the favor and looked forward to the day when we could have our grandkids come to visit — without their parents. Our Green Bay son and his wife had three boys, and where those boys went so went their parents. We were disappointed, but welcomed the whole family whenever they had the time to visit. Our Minnesota son and his wife happily let us have the kids for a week of vacation — each one had their own separate week. But our one and only granddaughter got so homesick after two days that we had to meet in Wausau to give her back to our son. Even as she got older, she preferred to stay home. As she told my husband, “she was a city girl.”

Finally, our grandson from Minnesota was the only one who looked forward to visiting us by himself. He hated the drive and much preferred to fly, and fly he did — into a different airport across the U.P. each vacation! We would drive to pick him up from his airport of choice that year and then continued on to our vacation destination. When he flew into Houghton, we visited the Keweenaw and Copper Harbor. He was amazed to lose his cell phone signal, and we stayed in a motel that “reminded him of The Shining” because of its remoteness. We still laugh at that! When he flew into Ironwood — he was in the air for 45 minutes, and we drove for three and one-half hours the night before to pick him up on time; we continued on to Bayfield where we camped out and took a boat tour of all the Apostle Islands. We always had a great time as did he; his Christmas gifts to us during those years reflected each summer vacation.

An interesting article in Psychology Today, written by Barbara Greenberg, PhD, offers the following 10 ways to be a wonderful grandparent.

1. Never disagree with your adult children about their parenting style in front of their children. If you disagree with them, and you feel that it is important enough to discuss, then do it when you are alone with your children.

2. Do not undermine your kids by undoing their rules when you are alone with your grandchildren.

3. Do tell your grandchildren fun stories — not embarrassing ones — about your own life with their parents as little kids. Show them lots of photos with the goal being to provide family history.

4. Show respect and love for your children and their spouses to the best of your ability in front of your grandchildren. You are modeling behavior for them in their own interaction with their parents.

5. While everyone wants to “spoil the grandkids,” do not over indulge them. Small, special treats are fine, and experiences that create memories outweigh lavish gifts every time.

6. Stay involved. Listen if they are having issues. Before offering advice, ask if advice is wanted or if they simply want to be listened to or have a shoulder to cry on.

7. Make your home a comfortable spot for your grandchildren to come and stay — even if just to play for a few hours.

8. Use the wisdom of your years to teach your grandchildren gentle life lessons. They may listen to you when they tune out their own parents.

9. Play with your grandchildren so that they realize growing older isn’t all about being serious.

10. Do not play favorites. Each grandchild is unique. It is important for each of them to know they have a special place in your heart.

Each grandchild is an individual, and each set of parents is unique as well. Our sons have different parenting philosophies and different rules, and over the years we learned how those differences impacted and defined the relationship we had with each grandchild. They have all grown up so fast, and we wonder where the time has gone. Our “airport grandson” from Minnesota will be graduating from Arizona State University next month as a commercial pilot. His sister, and our only granddaughter, is a hard-working high school sophomore with a compassionate heart and still every inch a city girl. Our three Green Bay grandsons include a college freshman in the music program at University of Wisconsin -Oshkosh, a high school sophomore scholar-athlete, and a sixth grader who is on his way to becoming a comedian. His idea for a Halloween costume this year involved wearing a mask and a T-shirt that simply read “Blessing.” He was, after all, “A Blessing in Disguise.”

And blessings they are — all five of them in their own way!






Sunday: Scenes and sounds, noon; Uno, 1 p.m.; dunking donuts, 2 p.m.; church, 2:15 p.m.

Monday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; Father Michael, 11 a.m.; Veterans visit, 11 a.m.; scenes and sounds, 11:30 a.m.; library cart, 1:30 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; ice cream social, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Crafts, 10:30 a.m.; scenes and sounds, 11:30 a.m.; reminisce, 1:15 p.m.; Kentucky Derby, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; rosary, 10:30 a.m.; scenes and sounds, 11:30 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Reading buddy, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 11 a.m.; scenes and sounds, 11:45 a.m.; Bible study, 1:15 p.m.; Crystal Hogan, 2 p.m.; Lawrence Welk, 4:30 p.m.

Friday: What’s cooking? 11 a.m.; scenes and sounds, 11:45 a.m.; parlor games, 1:15 p.m.; sing along, 2:30 p.m.; happy hour, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Meet and greet, 10:30 a.m.; daily newspaper, 11 a.m.; scenes and sounds, 11:30 a.m.; oldies but goodies, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; evening news, 6 p.m.

Iron County 

Medical Facility

Crystal Falls

Sunday: One-to-one church visitors, 8:30 to 11 a.m.; room visits, 9 to 11 a.m.; hangman, 10 a.m.; bingorama, 2 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Memory books, 9 a.m.; resident council, 10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m..; room visits, 1 p.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; veterans’ program, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Book club, 10 a.m.; prayer, 10 a.m.; mystery ride, 1 p.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; western movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Hunter breakfast, 9 a.m.; animal kingdom, 10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; how do you feel? 2 p.m.; big buck bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; wildlife film, 1 p.m.; Christ United, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; deer camp party with Jim Clement, 2 p.m. — dress like a hunter.

Saturday: Puzzler/scavenger hunt, 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 11 a.m.; intergenerational social hour, 2 p.m.

Manor Care


Wet your whistle: 9:30 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

Exercise: 10 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

Movie: 10:45 a.m. Sunday through Saturday and 3:15 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and Thursday Saturday.

Popcorn Day: Every Friday

Sunday: Just jokes, 10:15 a.m.; company’s coming room visits, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant church, 3 p.m.

Monday: Veterans’ Day facts, 10:15 a.m.; Crystal Hogan, 2 p.m.; pokeno, 5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: Trivia, 10:15 a.m.; Lutheran church, 2 p.m.; movie and manicure, 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Remembering when, 10:15 a.m.; Golden Throats, 2 p.m.; video of the ’40s crooners, 3:30 p.m.; flip five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Crosswords, 10:15 a.m.; K bingo, 2 p.m.; crazy for cards, 5:45 p.m.

Friday: Finish lines, 10:15 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 2 p.m.; chips and chatter, 2:30 p.m.

Saturday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Maryhill Manor

Niagara, Wis.

Rosary, 8:30 a.m. Sunday through Friday.

Sunday: “Family Feud,” 10:15 a.m.; tailgate party – Packers vs. Panthers, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.

Monday: Trivia,10:15 a.m.; Veterans’ Day social, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; resident council, 2 p.m.; bingo, 2:30 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday: Protestant service, 9 a.m.; time slips, 10:15 a.m.; jokereno, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10:15 a.m.; on the road: Austria, 2 p.m.; whammo, 6:15 p.m.

Friday: Ball toss, 10:15 a.m.; short stories, 10:30 a.m.; happy hour with entertainment, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Christmas crafts, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; bingo, 5:45 p.m.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

Juice time, 10 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

Exercise, 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Shopping days: 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, must sign up.

Sunday: Football: Packers vs. Panthers, noon; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.;

Monday: Birthday party, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: “Wheel of Fortune,” 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Trivia, 2 p.m.; rosary, 3 p.m.

Friday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

Morning news, 6 a.m. Daily except Monday.

Beauty Shop open Tuesday and Thursday

Snack cart, 7 p.m. Daily except Wednesday

Sunday: Bingo/family and friends social time, 10 a.m.; football: Packers vs. Panthers, noon; Pastor Miller, 3:30 p.m.

Monday: Veterans’ Day program; bingo, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 a.m.; patriotic party with Valri, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Uno, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 a.m.; chair exercise, 2 p.m.; social hour, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Craft, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 a.m.; music with Grace and Dave, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 p.m.; manicures, 2 p.m.

Friday: Catholic church service, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 a.m.; trivia, 2 p.m.; happy half hour, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo/family and friends social time, 10 a.m.

Pinecrest Medical Care Facility


Sunday: Grace church, 10:15 a.m.; Packer party, noon.; Lutheran service, 2 p.m.; life stories, 3:30 p.m.

Monday: Veterans’ breakfast, 8 a.m.; life connections, 9:45 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; worship and communion service, 1:30 p.m.; rosary (2nd), 2:30 p.m.; bean bag toss 3:30 p.m.; checkers, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Veterans; program, 10 a.m.; busy bee, 12:15 p.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; “Family Feud,” 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Casino outing, 10 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; Jim Clement, 2 p.m.; bunco, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Buck hunt, 10:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; Trouble board game, 6 p.m.

Friday: Catholic Mass, 10:30 a.m.; venison stew, 11:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 a.m.; bunco, 2 p.m.; trivia, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Karaoke, 10:15 a.m.; cards, 10:30 a.m.; ice cream social, 2 p.m.; reminiscing, 3:30 p.m.


Note: All centers ask for 24-hour advanced reservations for lunch. Those who have meals delivered who will not be home should notify the Center.

Alpha-Mastodon Center


Meal at noon every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Amasa Center


Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Lunch at noon.

Bingo on Tuesdays.

Free meal drawing on Thursdays.

Menu for the week of Nov. 12:

Tuesday: Ham, baked potatoes, peas, and corn relish.

Wednesday: Sloppy Joes, baked beans, and coleslaw.

Thursday: Pasty, mixed vegetables, and coleslaw.

Breen Center


Meals Monday through Friday.

Pasty sale every third Saturday of the month, except on holidays.  

Cards and games available 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m. 

Hostess on duty Monday through Friday.   

Treats and coffee, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Center retail store is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday; volunteers and donations are welcome.

Birthdays acknowledged every day.

Evening meals are on the first and third Thursday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with dinner at 5 p.m. Donations are $4 for those 60 and older and $5 for 60 and younger.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Beef stroganoff, noodles, and rutabagas.

Tuesday: Pot roast, mashed potatoes, and broccoli.

Wednesday: Pork chops, baked potatoes, and peas.

Thursday: Chili and sandwich.

Friday: Baked fish or smoked sausage, potatoes, and mixed vegetables.

Soup, salad and dessert are offered with every meal. Reservations for meals are encouraged. Walk-ins are welcomed.

Crystal Falls Center

Head cook: Lucy Korhonen


The Center is not just for seniors – bring a friend.

Suggested meal donations: $5 if older than 60; $6 if younger than 60; $1 extra for take-out.

To reserve meals, call the Center by 1 p.m. with name and number of people.

All dinners include the soup and salad bar, homemade dessert, tea, coffee and milk.

Open: Monday through Wednesday, 4:30 p.m., soup and salad bar, 5 p.m., dinner.

Mondays: Basket weaving after dinner – all are welcome for dinner and/or class. Beginners can make their first basket with materials provided.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Pork chops, rice, and vegetables.

Tuesday: Chicken Cordon Bleu, buttered noodles, and vegetables.

Wednesday: Liver and onions, mashed potatoes, gravy, and vegetables.

Crystal Lake Center

Christine McMahon

906-774-2256, ext. 235

The center is closed on weekends.

Monday: Woodcarvers, 10 a.m.; mahjong in dining hall, noon; Les Artistes Art Club, noon; Bridge Club, 12:15 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday: Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: Billiards, 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday: Spinning Spools Quilters Guild, 1 p.m.; crafters, scrapbookers and others also welcome; knitting and crocheting class, 1 to 3 p.m.

Thursday: Happy Quilters, 1 p.m.; two-person team cribbage, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Friday: Smear, noon.

The kitchen once again is open and serving meals. A new lunch program is offered every Wednesday from 11:45 to 12:45. Meals cost $5 for those under 60 years old and a $4 donation for those older than 60.

Home delivered meal menu for week:

Monday: Chef salad with croutons, and dessert.

Tuesday: Gnocchi with Italian sausage, garlic breadstick, and cauliflower.

Wednesday: French toast, sausage, and spiced pears.

Thursday: Beef stew and a biscuit.

Friday: Polish sausage, sauerkraut, potatoes, and green beans.

Center Based beal menu for week:

Tuesday night: Gnocchi with Italian sausage, garlic breadstick, and cauliflower.

Wednesday Lunch: Vegetable beef soup, baked potato bar, and salad bar.

Transportation is available from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call Buzzin’ Around Town at 906-282-0492. Rides are $3 for age 60 and older, and $3.50 for younger than 60. 

Felch Center


Meals served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Wednesday.

Bingo after lunch on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

A congregate jigsaw puzzle is done daily.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and watermelon.

Tuesday: Meatloaf, baked potatoes, green beans, and bread.

Wednesday: Cheesy potato soup, egg salad sandwich, and carrots.

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County, Wis.


Director: Tiffany White

Suggested donation for seniors older than 60 is $4 per meal. Residents younger than 60 must pay $7. Reservations and cancellations are needed 48-hours in advance.

The ADRC can assist area seniors and those with disabilities with transportation Monday through Friday. Transportation reservation should be made with meal reservation.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Ham and bean soup, pickle and bologna sandwich, cucumber salad, and fruit juice.

Tuesday: Cooks choice entrée, vegetable, and fruit.

Wednesday: Brat on a bun, oven fries, baked beans, cranberry and apple crisp.

Thursday: Deer Camp pasties, coleslaw, bananas, and brownies.

Friday: Pork loin and gravy, buttered noodles, broccoli, tomato slices, and oranges.

Other assistance includes information on aging, benefits specialist, and care-giver support.

Fence Center/Town Hall


Meal reservations call 855-528-2372

Meal at noon Wednesdays only – Same menu listed under ADRC of Florence County. Reservations are requested. Cribbage and cards are available.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

Meal reservations call 715-528-4261

Home-delivered meals are available. Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. at this center Monday thru Thursday, with the same menu as listed under ADRC of Florence County.

Note: Center closed on Tuesday for elections.

Tipler Town Hall

Meal reservations call715-674-2320

Serving lunch at noon on the second Thursday of the month only, with the same menu as listed under ADRC of Florence County.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora

Meal reservations call 715-589-4491

Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, with the same menu as listed under ADRC of Florence County. Transportation arrangements can be made to and from the meal site.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Pam Haluska


Meal is at noon Monday through Friday. Suggested donation is $3 for age 60 and older and $7 for those younger than 60. Morning coffee is available daily.

Fifteen games of “fun bingo” are played each Tuesday and Friday, along with a 50-50 drawing.

Tuesday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Cards played in the afternoon. Call ahead to see if a game will be going on.

Friday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Monday through Friday: Walking in the gym, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A treadmill also is available.

Enjoy friendly interaction with other crafters.

Iron River Center


Meals served 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; a $4 donation is encouraged from those 60 and older, and a $5 payment is required from those younger than 60. Thursday meal, 3:30 p.m. soup, 4 p.m. salad bar, with dinner 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Home-delivered meals are available — call 906-774-2256 ext. 235 or ext. 230.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Cheeseburger macaroni casserole, green beans, and roll.

Tuesday: Parmesan chicken, noodles, cauliflower, and garlic bread.

Wednesday: Hot dog, potato salad, and calico beans.

Thursday: Night meal: Spaghetti, meatballs, Italian vegetables, and bread sticks.

Saturday, Nov. 16: Pancake breakfast, 8 to 11 a.m.; Cost is $5.

Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center

Meal site manager: Corrie Maule, 715-251-1603

Senior center director: Jill Anderson, 715-251- 4154

Noon meals served Monday through Thursday. Transportation is available to the meal site for those living in the Niagara, Wis. area. Any senior groups who would like to use the meal site as a meeting place are welcome — join us for lunch then stay for a meeting or social time. Wii games, cards, puzzles and board games are available to play. 

Other activities are in the works — suggestions are always welcome. 

Those who have not been at the meal site/senior center are invited to give it a try. Those who haven’t been here in a while are encouraged to come back.

Norway Center

Director: Susie Slining


Monday through Thursday: Meals served at noon, with salad bar. Soup also is available at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Milk, juice, bread, fruit, tea and coffee served daily. Meal donation is $5. Reservation for the meal should be made in advance.

Two special-themed meals take place each month on Tuesday, with bingo, prizes and a 50-50 drawing.

Two evening meals offered at 5 p.m. on the first Monday and third Wednesday of the month, with bingo, prizes and a 50-50 drawing.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Beef stew with vegetables, peas and carrots, salad bar, fruit, juice, and dessert.

Tuesday: Veterans’ Day Dinner: Italian sausage roll-ups, broccoli, garlic bread, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice, and dessert.

Wednesday: Monterey chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, Capri blend vegetables, salad, bar, fruit, juice, and dessert.

Thursday: Sweet and sour chicken over rice, stir fry vegetables, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice, and dessert.

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes: Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes: Wednesdays.

Puzzles always in the works.

Note: File of Life packets available at the center.

Sagola Center


Meals: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11:45 a.m. Cards: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Commodities every other month and quarterly commodities are every three months. A puzzle table is available to enjoy. Volunteers are always welcome. 

Menu for the week of Nov. 12:

Tuesday: Chicken, pasta, garlic bread, Brussel sprouts, and peaches.

Wednesday: Pork roast, potatoes, mixed vegetables, and apricots.

Thursday: Beef stew, biscuit, corn, and mixed fruit.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)