Nanaville | Anna Quindlen

Summary of: Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting
By: Anna Quindlen


Welcome to the delightful world of ‘Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting,’ where Anna Quindlen shares her heartfelt insights on the journey from motherhood to grandmotherhood. This book will give you an appreciation for the roles grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren and illustrate how they offer color, connection, and wisdom. As we delve into the story, you’ll come across vivid examples from Anna’s life and learn the key differences between being a parent and a grandparent. You will also discover the unspoken rules of ‘Nanaville,’ with anecdotes on how to maintain a healthy relationship with your children as they venture into parenthood.

The Vital Role of Grandparents

A text message from her son sharing news of his child’s birth leads Anna, a new grandmother, to reflect on the difference between the roles of mothers and grandmothers. While parents are the primary caregivers and formative figures in a child’s life, grandparents play a supporting role that offers color, texture, history, and mythology. Just like in literature, supporting characters flesh out the plot and help create connections to our histories. Grandparents give us a sense of connection with our past, which helps us understand who we are and what we can become. While they may not play the same role in their grandchildren’s lives as they did in their children’s, the role of grandparents is far from meaningless.

The First Commandment of Nanaville

As grandparents, it can be tempting to offer unsolicited advice on parenting, but author Anna Quindlen warns against it. Meddling in your children’s parenting can lead to alienation and strained relationships. Furthermore, outdated advice and changing guidelines mean that your input may not be accurate or necessary. Instead, Quindlen emphasizes the importance of keeping your opinions to yourself and trusting your children’s expertise as parents. This not only maintains a harmonious relationship but also allows grandparents to have a more meaningful and lasting connection with their grandkids. Remember, the first commandment of Nanaville is simple: if you want to see your grandkids more than twice a year, keep your unsolicited opinions to yourself.

Nanaville: What You Want to Do

In “Nanaville,” Anna Quindlen writes about her experience learning Mandarin to connect with her grandson’s birthright. Unlike mothers, grandmothers have the choice to do what they want, not just what they must. Anna’s goal is to be part of her grandson’s life and connect with him on his level. She wants to understand his language and culture and pass it down to him. This heartwarming story emphasizes that being a grandparent is about what you want to do, not just what you have to do.

Fatherhood Changes Everything

Quin, a logical and meticulous man, never saw himself as the fatherly type until he had his own child, Arthur. The experience transformed him and became his focus. As he navigated the challenges of raising a child, he underwent an emotional thawing, and his love for his son grew fiercely. Anna, Quin’s mother, who was once adamant about the freedom of childlessness, couldn’t be prouder of her son’s dedication to fatherhood. She now knows that the measure of successful parenting is, “have you raised good people?”

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