In 1973 the governor of West Virginia proclaimed a national annual Grandparents Day. It became an official holiday in 1978 when President Jimmy Carter signed the legislation and the first Grandparents Day was celebrated in 1979. It’s the first Sunday after Labor Day.
The holiday has three official purposes, which are:
- To honor grandparents.
- Give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their grandchildren on a special day.
- Help children be more aware of the strength, information, wisdom, and guidance they can get from the older people in their lives.
I do not need a special day to show love for my grandchildren. I love being Grandma.
My husband and I have four grandchildren, two his, two mine, but to us all four are ours. They range in age from 15 months to 13 years.
Last summer, because of the Covid travel restrictions, we didn’t see them at all. We were in Florida, they are all in Pennsylvania. The youngest was born in May 2020 during the Covid lockdowns and it was so sad and frustrating to be so far away.
The time I spend with the grandkids is the best time ever!
When we came to PA this summer, within the first two months the two oldest were here three times for weekend sleepovers! The two youngest come for weekly play dates. We had a family birthday party for the granddaughter who turned 10 in August. She wanted a scavenger hunt for her presents and I had so much fun writing the clues that sent her running upstairs, downstairs, all over the house to find her gifts.
School started at the end of August, and after just 2 days at school she was exposed to the Delta variant of Covid and is now home, sick, quarantined, and we are worried. At age 10 she is too young to get the Covid vaccine and we hope that she’ll recover with no long term health issues because of it.
I had a Disney Princess theme for her birthday party. She is my “princess”. A girl who loves bling, and pretty clothes, and reading books, and chickens! She has chickens and her favorite is named Elsa. Elsa goes into her house with her… keeps her company, just like a dog, cat or other pet. I buy my granddaughter books about chickens, like How to Speak Chicken. Every time I find a chicken book I get it for her.
Grandparents don’t need a special holiday to remind them to show love to their grandchildren.
Labor Day weekend was the first sleepover for my 3-1/2 year old grandson. We bought him a Mickey Mouse bed and put it in our bedroom. We loved the opportunity for some very special one-on-one time with him. We did puzzles, built with Legos, colored, played, and watched Daniel Tiger. When he’s here to play he sometimes looks at me and says “I love you Grandma”. That is happiness!
Grandkids keep us young. Because I have Grandkids I play again … with Crayons, Legos and PlayDoh. With science kits and almost everything made by Melinda and Doug! I know who Blippy and Peppa Pig are, and I know what shows are on the Disney Channel.
I know their favorite foods. I love their hugs. I love buying them things. Its kind of a grandparent’s job to spoil them a little
The 2020 census showed that 2.7 million grandparents in the U.S. are now raising their grandchildren.
They are the lifeline for nearly 13 million grandchildren who depend on them. They don’t get the same grandparent experience I have. They don’t get sleepovers and play dates. They don’t get quiet days between visits. They are grandparents 24/7.
They get kids up and off to school every day. They make them meals every day. They try to protect them from the temptations and evils of the world – from drugs, gangs, violence, bullies, intolerance. They tuck them in every night.
They are substitutes for the parents who are gone, or in prison, or dealing with demons such as drug addiction, or are working two or three jobs just to make a basic living wage. And they do this while dealing with the challenges they have with their own health issues, aches and pains, financial worries.
80% of people age 65 or older have complex health needs, many have multiple chronic conditions, yet 2.7 million of them are dealing with the physical and emotional demands of being the “parents” every day.
Two thirds of those 2.7 million, are grandmothers raising grandchildren on their own.
As we observe Grandparents Day this year, I hope we all do better at restoring the family in our society. It’s important. It’s essential. Children need to feel part of a family. They need role models of moms, dads, grandmothers, and grandfathers to teach them values, show examples of responsibility and fairness., and encourage their dreams and develop their talents.
We can teach them love and acceptance so they don’t grow up with hate and intolerance. We can show them the joy of learning new things and the awesomeness of new experiences.
We can make their childhood, the tweens and teens years, the best time ever for them. And in doing so, we’ll make it the best time ever for ourselves.
“What a bargain grandchildren are. I give them my loose change and they give me a million dollars worth of pleasure.“