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Maria Shriver opens up about the 'whole new joy' of being a grandmother

Maria Shriver says it’s been "a gift" to see her eldest daughter become a parent.
/ Source: TODAY

Maria Shriver says it’s been a “blessing” to spend time with her granddaughter, Lyla.

“It’s just this whole new joy for me, this whole new relationship for me,” Shriver told Hoda Kotb during a surprise visit to guest host TODAY with Hoda & Jenna. “I’m learning to kind of be in it and also be out of it because it’s not my baby.”

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Shriver, 65, became a grandmother for the first time last August when her eldest daughter, Katherine Schwarzenegger, welcomed a daughter, Lyla, with husband Chris Pratt. The NBC News special anchor said it has been a joy to watch her daughter become a mother.

“They’re incredible parents, and watching Katherine in that role has been a gift, to be able to be alive to see that,” Shriver said.

Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, Shriver wasn’t able to hold Lyla right away, but she says she is now able to be closer to her grandchild.

“They had this beautiful, healthy baby during COVID, so that was stressful, and they were very protective of not being able to be around the baby,” Shriver told Hoda. “That’s loosening up a little bit because I’ve had my vaccine and so they’re now allowing me (to be) closer to hold her.

“It’s one of those things, Hoda, where she’s so excited to see me, and that makes me so excited to see her,” she said.

Shriver added that her daughter has come to appreciate her even more after becoming a mom herself.

“You think that kids never really know what you’re going through as a parent, right? And it’s probably only until they go through what you’re going through that they go, ‘Oh, I understand now why they were this way, or I understand a little bit more what they were dealing with,’” she said.

“So (Katherine) does say that now a lot, like, ‘Wow, I understand you were getting up, you were working, you had four kids under eight at the same time.’ And when I look back at it, I actually don’t know how I did that. It’s kind of a bit of a blur.”

Shriver has four grown children from her previous marriage to Arnold Schwarzenegger: Katherine, 31, Christina, 29, Patrick, 27, and Christopher, 23.

She became emotional when Hoda brought up an Instagram photo of her kids together.

“I don’t know where it all went when I look at all of them,” she said. “They’re grown adults and thank God they love each other, thank God they’re good, thank God they’re healthy. I look at them and I’m in awe, really, of all of them.”

She added that she has always encouraged her kids to cultivate close relationships with each other.

“I tried to stress, look, you can fight with your siblings, but you’re in it for the long haul and they will be with you, God willing, for your whole life,” she said. "So, pay attention to that relationship, nurture it, love it, they know you better than anyone."

She added, “They’re great human beings, they’re kind, they’re loving, and I feel really, really blessed.”