Do you have a must-read journalist or columnist?
I discovered mine in the pages of The New York Times. She specializes in some of my favorite subjects: the new old age, grandparenting and memoir. Her name is Paula Span. Her writing combines clarity, elegance and empathy. I love that she tells her own story as she investigates the stories of others.
I found Paula the way I have found many wisdom figures — by searching online — after our third grandchild Lydia was born in 2017, and after we moved to Pittsburgh for a year to help with her care. Grandparenting then became a subject that mattered even more to me. I was surprised at how little information I found from my first forays, but I did find one Times column I haven’t forgotten: “Where Are All the Grandparenting Books?” Then I began following the author Paula on Twitter. I was delighted when she followed me back!
Every column Paula writes about grandparenting contributes to a new wave of interest in the subject. Like other journalists of a certain age, (Leslie Stahl and Anna Quindlin), Paula herself has written a memoir of grandmothering, one sure to delight. The Bubbe Diaries is an Audible original, free to all subscribers of Audible.
Bubbe, of course, is the Yiddish name for grandmother. Paula picked the name because to her it conjured up “a short, mouthy woman with grey curls. And that’s exactly what I am.”
Here is new Bubbe Paula with her granddaughter, Bartola (an affectionate nickname used to protect the baby’s privacy).
The Bubbe Diaries follows Paula and her family from the announcement of daughter Emma’s pregnancy until Bartola is “three and three quarters.” She is now “five and a half,” and don’t forget to add the half!
Last week I had the pleasure and honor to interview Paula about the changing roles of grandparents, the impact of Covid on all the generations, the fascinating backstory for her audio book, and advice she has for parents and grandparents. The 30-minute interview, below, covers all these subjects and introduces you to an extraordinary woman, a very active grandmother, and a reporter you too will want to follow. If you aren’t a current subscriber to The New York Times, never fear. They have an enticing entry-level subscription rate.
If you could ask Paula any question about grandparenting, what would you choose? Who are your must-read columnists? Where do you go to find good grandparenting information?