I don’t know about you, but when I think about grandparents, I think about people in their 60’s and older. My grandparents weren’t young when they had my parents, and my parents weren’t particularly young when they had me, so maybe my perspective is a bit off. Still, you’d never consider the possibility that a woman in her 20’s could be a grandmother, right?
Well, there is a woman who happened to become a grandmother in her 20’s, and she is a Romanian gypsy. Her name is Rifca Stanescu, and she was 23 years old when she became a grandmother.
She gave birth to her daughter Maria at the tender age of 12. According to Rifca, who is from the village of Investi, it is quite common to marry young in her culture.
Maria followed in her mother’s footsteps and had a child at a very young age, despite her mother’s warning her not to do so. Rifca wanted Maria to stay in school.
At the age of 11, Maria gave birth to her son Ion. The boy appears to be doing quite well.
Rifca said that she is happy to be a grandmother; however, she admits that she wished “something else” for her daughter—and for herself.
That said, she considers her little grandson a good boy. Apparently, he’s already “engaged” to an 8-year-old girl. We’re not sure how legally binding an engagement can be at such a young age, but if he does marry the girl, we certainly wish the future couple well.
Rifca also said that is always good to have boys, as she thinks they don’t “suffer as much” as girls.
While it may be traditional to marry young, Rifca actually defied her parents’ wishes when she ran away with a jewelry seller and got married at 11. He was only 13. She soon became pregnant. She had actually been promised to the boy’s family prior to their marriage; the promise was made when she was just two years old.
In Rifca’s culture, virginity is prized, so the girls are married off early, which ensures a healthy dowry from the families of prospective husbands.
Things have worked out more or less for Rifca, at least in the sense she has a healthy grandson. It wasn’t an easy road, though. Rifca recalls that her father once attacked her husband using a knife due to a dowry-related argument.
Eventually, after Maria was born, her husband’s family paid a dowry to Rifca’s family, and the bad blood was forgotten.
I suppose it is worth pointing out that Maria was married when she got pregnant with her son. While Rifca wanted her daughter to go down a different path, she did not try to stop Maria from marrying. After all, as she said marrying young is “the tradition”. It is, in her culture, “what happens”.
Rifca was definitely young when she became a grandparent, but her case isn’t totally unusual. In 1999, a woman from the United Kingdom became a grandmother at the age of 26. Her daughter was only 12 when she gave birth to a child. A British man named Shem Davies was only 29 when his daughter gave birth to her first kid. When he visited the hospital, staff understandably assumed her was there to see his child, not his grandchild.
If you go back over a century, there was a Nigerian woman who became a grandmother at a younger age than Rifca. Her name was Mum-Zi, and she was only eight years old when she gave birth to her daughter in 1884. Mum-Zi’s daughter then became a mother at the age of nine. So Mum-Zi was only a teenager when she first became a grandmother.
Whoopi Goldberg, the American comedienne and actress, actually became a grandmother at the relatively young age of 34. Now, at the age of 62, she is a great-grandmother!
The average age at which a person becomes a grandparents may actually surprise you. In general, people become grandparents at their late 40’s.
H/T – Source