My mother passed away over 17 years ago, and my father has since re-married a wonderful woman named "Ruth". I have a very good relationship with Ruth - we talk a few times a week on the phone, go shopping together and generally enjoy eachother's company.
When my daughter was born two years ago, I never hesitated in having her call my step-mother "Grandma Ruth". My daughter loves spending time with her Grandma Ruth and the two of them have developed a very special relationship that I'm sure will continue in the years to come, which I'm very happy about.
My question is, how and what do I say to explain the unique family circumstances to my daughter? She is just starting to understand families and the idea of parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins, and she loves to look at our family picture albums. I've shown her pictures of my mother and I refer to my mother as Grandma "Sally". So far, she hasn't raised the fact that she hasn't met Grandma Sally but I know that she will eventually ask me where Grandma Sally is and/or whether Grandma Ruth is my mommy.
How do I explain it all to her in an age appropriate manner? The lesson I'd like to convey is that good things (Having Grandma Ruth be part of her life) came come out of bad things (not meeting Grandma Sally). But I know someday I will have to explain the concept of death and dying to her, and I'd like to have a pre-school appropriate response so I am not caught off-guard.
Thanks, From: Motherless Daughter, Newton, MA