Here we are, the second week into September, and Grandparents’ Day is here yet again! You may be thinking, “Wait a minute… Grandparents’ Day?” If so, you’re not alone. I was unaware that such a holiday existed until very recently, and probably wouldn’t have known if it weren’t for social media. While my first thought was that it is yet another Hallmark holiday made up by the greeting card industry to be guilted into buying cards, flowers, and gifts (hello, Sweetest Day?!), I’ve recently given it a second thought. After all, if it weren’t for grandparents, I wouldn’t be here today (thanks to my grandparents), and I would have lost a lot more sleep, hair, and sanity than I already have (thanks to my son’s grandparents, aka my parents and in-laws).
I grew up with only one living grandparent, my grandpa, who lived a distance away and I did not see very often. I loved him, and he loved me. I am grateful for the time that I spent with him and the memories we made, like when he would tease me for the excessive amount of cream and sugar I put in my coffee…when I was in fourth grade (what can I say, I was a mature nine-year-old). And even though I never got to meet my other grandparents, I have grown up hearing stories and memories from my parents, which I’ve always enjoyed. And of course, my grandparents shaped my parents into who they are as parents, thus shaping me. For that I am thankful, because I turned out pretty great if you ask me.
My husband is very fortunate that he had three out of four of his grandparents and a step-grandmother well into adulthood, and I am fortunate by association, to have been embraced by his entire family (thanks again to my grandparents for laying the foundation to make me so likable! And humble!), thus gaining two sets of awesome grandparents. While I missed out on the experience of regularly having my grandparents at holidays and family gatherings when I was a kid, I got to experience this as an adult with my husband’s family. And let me tell you, there’s nothing like seeing the patriarch of a huge family with all of his grandkids and great-grandkids surrounding him under the Christmas tree while he unwraps their boxes of chocolate, picture frames, and handmade presents. And while we lost my husband’s grandmother, the last remaining grandparent between us not too long ago, we are glad that she and her husband both lived into their 90s and crossed paths with our son earthside for a short time.
And then we have the real MVPs…the grandparents to our children. If you currently have children and are fortunate like my husband and me, you have a set or two of parents nearby. In our case, my parents live about 20 minutes away. They began watching our son when he was 12 weeks old while we worked full-time. Now at four years old, Grandma picks him up from preschool every day and takes him on fun adventures, builds Legos or plays “bad guys” (don’t ask me, ask Grandma) until we’re done with our workday. He spends about as much waking time at their house as he does ours. I regularly hear “Hey Grandm– I mean, Mommy!”, which could be somewhat deflating as a mom, until I remember how lucky he is that Grandma has such a huge presence in his life.
While my husband’s parents don’t live as close, they are just as present and impactful on our lives with regularly visits to Columbus, vacations together, our at least weekly FaceTime sessions, cards and packages for all occasions, and just knowing that if we need them, they’ll be here (which we have, and they were). While we wish they lived closer and could see them more regularly, there’s something about seeing our son bound up their driveway so excited to greet them with huge hugs and kisses. I know that visits to Grandma and Grandpa’s house will always be a memory that he cherishes.
Just like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I realize that recognizing Grandparents’ Day may be difficult for those who have recently lost a parent or grandparent, or haven’t had a positive experience, or they/their children haven’t really had the opportunity to build a relationship with grandparents. Every family is different, and perhaps this isn’t a holiday you feel like celebrating, and that’s totally okay. I hope that you can find something else to celebrate today (Grandparents’ Day this year happens to fall on September 12 which also happens to be National Chocolate Milkshake Day, so I just found you something to celebrate!)
For those of you who are blessed with wonderful grandparents yourselves and/or grandparents to your children, perhaps this particular Hallmark holiday is worth shelling out for. Or you can have your kids make handmade cards for them. Or if you’re terrible about sending cards, just write a blog post in honor of all of the grandparents you love! You’re welcome Mom and Dad x 2! I love you!