By GAIL MAHOLICK

gmaholick@tnonline.com [1]

She takes my hand, and says, "Come on Grandma Friend." This child called Caroline has captured my heart. This little person has changed my world.

Why is it that our grandchildren seem so much brighter, more creative and special then any other child in the world?

I don't know that answer any more than any other grandmother does, but I am thankful every day that I can say, "I'm grandma."

Is it that when we're raising our children that we have to worry about every facet of raising them? As young parents, we have meals to prepare, helping them with homework, teaching them manners, doling out allowances, making them take naps and reading bedtime stories and all the other household duties to consider, but now when its grandma time, I drop everything. I am never too busy to play with Caroline.

I say, "Dinner will be late tonight, I was playing with Caroline." Or, I guess we'll have to pick up milk later, I forgot the time and the quick trip I had planned to make for groceries (also playing with Caroline).

When you consider that she is our miracle grandbaby, its no wonder I don't want to miss a minute of time with her. With the complications of the pregnancy, her birth was truly a miracle.

Nothing beats the times she throws her little arms around my neck and says, "Love you!"

I have to admit I see Caroline several times a week, so its not that she lives far away, but she is growing up so fast.

In a few weeks she will be 3 years old and soon she will start preschool. Where did the past months go?

A lot of grandparents have given me sound advice. They said enjoy your grandchildren when they are little because when they grow up they get busy with other things.

I am heeding that advice because I want her to feel love from generations of people.

While my mom was a great grandmother to my girls, having my own grandmother was something that never materialized for me. Both sets of my grandparents had passed on before I was born. So I never knew the unconditional love that grandparents have for their grandchildren. I never had the luxury of having adults drop everything, drop to the floor and play with blocks or dominoes that I do with Caroline.

Now that I've had the opportunity to be "Grandma" I realize how much I have missed in my life before her birth.

Caroline is unconditionally loved. She is getting a good start in life feeling valued. Wouldn't it be great if every child had that feeling of being unconditionally loved?

We grandmas and grandpas are pretty special people to help our small people in our lives get a great start in life.

Being called "Grandma" is the best feeling in the world and for now, I'm going to enjoy as many minutes I can loving this little girl.