By Bria Suggs
The Atlanta Voice
The Caregivers is a unique series focused on the challenges and triumphs of caregiving. These stories have been created through a strategic partnership between AARP and Word In Black.
Stone Mountain resident Stacey Jones is a grandmother to seven; their ages range from one to 12-years-old. Jones’ youngest daughter and her three children currently live with her. Jones enjoys being able to be close with her grandchildren because she feels “committed to [provide] for them all.”
Jones was a single mother to her children, so she helps her youngest daughter in any way she can to ease the load of raising children alone.
“I have raised my children to know that I will always be there for them, and as I was a single mother, I always tried to do all I can for them,” Jones said.
Jones credits her close bond with her youngest grandchildren to them living together. She loves being able to see them every day, and said she feels sad whenever she goes without seeing them.
One of her favorite ways to spend time with her grandchildren is by watching Disney movies with them. She also loves spending Christmas with them because they get to decorate their Christmas tree together.
Jones first became a grandmother at the age of 40. Although she was introduced to grandmotherhood at a relatively young age, she was excited for the journey ahead of her.
Before she was given the news that one of her children was expecting a child for the first time, Jones heard a baby’s cry while she was in the shower one day. She took that as a sign that a baby was on the way.
Her oldest two grandchildren live in Augusta, Georgia. Even though distance separates them, she still shares a close bond with them because she raised them for a part of their lives.
It’s for this reason that Jones doesn’t see being a grandparent as much different than being a parent.
“I am still teaching, loving, disciplining, and raising,” Jones said. “The only difference now is I can send them home! I definitely see myself as a parental figure to them.”
Her other two grandchildren aren’t as close to her as she would like. They live in different states, and it’s not always easy to see them regularly. Jones wishes she could be closer to them, as she believes proximity makes it easier for her to connect with them.
Regardless of distance, Jones models her role as a grandmother after her own grandparents. She tries to impact her grandchildren’s lives with the same wisdom and knowledge her grandparents used to impact hers.
“My father was in and out of my life, so his parents stepped in and helped my mother, so I really never went without,” Jones said. “My grandmother on my mothers side was everyones’ mother.”
Jones’ grandparents taught her “the good, the bad and the ugly of life.” She tries to do the same for her grandchildren.
Being a grandparent has made Jones very happy in this stage of her life.
“I look at the kids as an extension of my life,” Jones said. “I truly love being a parent and grandparent.”