Sally Field Speaks Up
The Love of a Grandmother
LHJ: What do you mean by that?
SF: I don't think mothers are only female. I think mothering is a quality, a character trait. Mothering is about responsibility. There are plenty of men who are great, great mothers. Nelson Mandela is a great mother. People who care more about their children and their children's children than about getting money in their pocket are great mothers. That's how you protect your people. That's how you move into tomorrow.
LHJ: Your sons have managed to build solid relationships and loving families. What's that like to watch?
SF: Amazing, astonishing, wonderful...shall I go on? As they get older, I learn more about my children, and what I've learned is they're compassionate, loving people. That feels like a real accomplishment.
To watch your own children parent is a beautiful thing. You really see if you were successful or not. You see them addressing the issues they had as children, and that's fascinating. For instance, my middle son, Eli, always felt that I didn't give him enough structure and discipline. I wasn't tough enough on him. But now his son, Noah, is 2 and Eli's giving Noah a real structure for everything. Noah can't have a bottle except at night. He can't have a pacifier unless it's a certain hour. I was like, "Oh, you want your pacifier, here you go. Take the pacifier."
LHJ: Do you ever stop worrying about your kids?
SF: That's lifelong. The emotions toward our children are so strong. I just took my youngest, Sam, to the airport a few days ago on his way back to New York [Sam is a college sophomore]. And I stood there watching him go through security. He stopped at the end and turned around and waved to me. I waved back and he was gone and I started to cry because my baby, my last baby, was gone. I miss him terribly. I like it much better when he's up in his bedroom here shuffling around or asking me what's for breakfast.
LHJ: But you have your grandchildren. That must be a joy.
SF: I think I'm a good grammy. That's what they call me. I'm probably like every other grammy. I give them too much. I let them run all over me. They love to come over to the house and swim in the pool. And the girls are different. For Christmas we have big buckets for art projects. I also make them sewing baskets. Different fabrics and ribbons and little needlepoint needles and lots of threads. One girl is now almost 10, the other is almost 7. Their art-project basket is almost too big now. When I can be with them I am a great grandmother.