How important are grandparents to our children? They raised us and now our parents have a completely different role as grandparents. Recently my daughter expressed her love to her grandparents on National Grandparents Day. She is constantly expressing her love to them but she was happy to know that there is a specific day that celebrates grandparents.
The day falls each year on the first Sunday after Labor Day. The holiday was initiated at the grassroots level by West Virginian Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade. She and her husband had 15 children, 43 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild!
There are three purposes for National Grandparents Day, to honor grandparents, and to give them an opportunity to show love for their grandchildren, (as if they need a day to do that!) And to help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance their elders can offer.
I was so lucky to have known and loved three of my grandparents. My maternal grandfather pictured on the left had passed away by the time I was born. I adored both my grandmothers (I couldn’t find pictures of them). My paternal grandfather pictured on the right was the love of my life. There are days that I still get really sad that he is no longer with us. He was an honest, caring, loving man with integrity and honor. He was a celebrated general but to me he was the most amazing grandfather in the entire world. Words cannot express the love he gave me. He made me feel invincible. I was a little girl when I lost my grandfather during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. I was devastated but the memories we shared together have stayed with me all my life. There is not a day that I don’t think about him. It always amazes me just how much he impacted my life. My childhood was one of bliss, mostly because of his existence. Once he was gone, something in me ceased to exist. The point is that his existence really helped shape me as a human being.
Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us. They are a link to our heritage and traditions.
Because they are usually free to love and guide and befriend the young without having to take daily responsibility for them, they can often reach out past pride and fear of failure and close the space between generations.
I know my daughter has a deep connection with her grandparents. They are able to reach her in a way that my husband and I cannot. They are able to teach her without lecturing her. They are able to love her without feeling the responsibility of parents.
Grandparents have a unique position, they don’t have to worry about rules and routines. Their unique position in the family attracts natural adoration from their grandchildren. They love them no matter what, no expectations or requirements. They’ve passed the test by being born. Their situation is ideal for becoming best friends and confidants. Children can confide in their grandparents because they expect emotional support rather than rationality and behavior lessons.
A grandparent is a friend with special power. They can make little hurts feel better. Better yet, they are a friend who can reach the cookie jar!
Being a grandparent is the best excuse to be a kid again. They can make great memories with our children.
My grandparents were my role models, my mentors, and my confidants. I hope you are giving your children the chance to enjoy this special relationship and foster a special love with their elders.