To the world, Jaclyn Smith might be known as one of the original Charlie’s Angels — but to her granddaughters, she’s simply Mimi.
The actress and designer — who is featured as one of PEOPLE’s Glam-mas (glamorous grandmas) in this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday — couldn’t be more proud of the special relationship she shares with 2-year-old Bea, whose mom is Smith’s daughter Spencer Margaret, 33, and 4-month-old Olivia Rose, whose dad is Smith’s son Gaston, 37.
“They visit me all the time,” Smith, 73, tells PEOPLE. “This house is open to them. Bea knows that there’s a drawer in my closet that’s filled with candy, and she goes right for the gummy bears. She knows that I’m a soft touch for candy.”
In the future, Smith says she can’t wait to revisit her iconic role as Kelly Garrett in Charlie’s Angels by watching it with her granddaughters.
“My kids never really watched it that much,” she says. “In fact, if they saw me on film, they’d go, ‘Oh, there’s Jaclyn Smith.’ They wouldn’t say, ‘There’s Mom.’ I bet I’ll have fun watching it with Bea and Olivia. That might be fun to say, ‘Hey, here’s your Mimi a long time ago.’ I’d like them to see how things change, and I think it’s important for them to see their history, to see where they came from.”
Smith also thinks there are some valuable lessons to be learned from the show.
“It was about strong women,” she says. “It was about women having each other’s backs. It was about women being their own person, being emotionally independent, financially independent, carrying out their job. The show was really about the bond of friendship.”
As for now, Smith is looking forward to taking Bea to Texas soon to teach her about her life growing up in Houston.
“I want her to meet all of her relatives in Texas because there’s no place like Texas in my book,” she says. “Even though I’ve lived here longer, I’m still a Texan and she must know her Texas history. I think [her mom] Spencer Margaret’s into that too, so that’s coming up.”
“I grew up with the ease of running until the sun came down,” she continues. “I’m going to teach Bea and Olivia jacks and jump rope and roller skating and things I did growing up.”
As Smith puts it, “generations are important in a child’s life.”
“I was very close to my grandfather, and he lived to be almost 102,” she says. “He gave me the world and that’s what a grandparent’s job is — to embrace and be in the moment.”
A typical day Smith might spend with her granddaughters could include anything from a trip to Los Angeles’ Griffith Park to ride the ponies to an excursion to Disneyland to take a spin on the Mad Tea Party teacups to an exploration of her very own backyard.
“I mean, Bea is an explorer,” Smith says. “She has her little playhouse in the back, and we have tea parties and go out. But Bea is good with unstructured time, too, and entertaining herself. So we go out in the yard and we talk about the flowers. Olivia is just so little.”
Though there’s certainly a lot Smith will teach her granddaughters as they got older, there’s just as much they already have taught her.
“When you’re with them, nothing else matters,” she says. “You’re really in the moment. You’ve come a distance in life, and you really know what’s important. You just forget it all.”
“When you have your own children, you’re doing the nitty-gritty and you’re doing the homework and you want to do it all just right,” she adds. “But you get to a place in life where you realize that these moments are treasures, and that’s what it’s all about.”
For much more on Jaclyn Smith’s life as a Glam-ma, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
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