When I was raising my children, I wasn’t thinking of how I would have the opportunity to become a grandparent. I was focused on the stage that I was in and getting through it and sometimes surviving it. Parenting is no joke – lots of hard work and sacrifice. Then they turn 18 and letting go happens. And you feel like your job is done.
What I have discovered over the past 12 years is that you don’t lose a child when they leave – you gain another child (who they marry) and you gain grandchildren. The greatest gift of parenting is when your child has a child. Becoming a grandparent is a special gift. We are given the best part of our child – their child. We also get a holiday called Grandparents Day – another reason to celebrate!
Purpose of the Holiday
Grandparents Day was declared a holiday in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter. He announced that the first Sunday after Labor Day each year would be the day to celebrate grandparents. This came after Marian McQuade began a campaign in 1970 to raise awareness about senior citizens and the value of intergenerational connection. Her biggest initiative was Adopt a Grandparent — not just for a day but for a lifetime. The holiday even has an official flower and song. The official flower is the forget-me-not flower and the official song is Johnny Prill’s “A Song for Grandma and Grandpa.”
To be honest, I didn’t consider myself a senior citizen when I become a grandmother at the age of 55. When my children asked me what I wanted the new baby to call me, I did not want to be called grandma. My new grandmother name would be “Mimi.” What a special day it was when each of my grandchildren were born. It was one experience for me to birth my own children. It was a totally different experience to witness my child birthing their child. Becoming a grandparent is a special gift!
Ways to Celebrate Grandparents Day
Spend time – Make the time to call or visit your grandparents. Now that I am a grandmother, I have noticed that I want my children to value what my experiences bring to the table. I know when I was their age, I was not thinking about the fact that my mother being 20 plus years ahead of me had a lot to offer. But she did, and I should have listened more carefully. Sharing my heritage and experiences from the past with my children and grandchildren is something I value at this stage.
Special Family Dinner – We lead busy lives and it’s always a good time to have a reason to celebrate. Organize a special dinner to honor your parent if they are grandparents and/or your grandparents.
Speak to them in their love language. Do they speak love in time? Enjoy a hobby they love together. Or is it gifts? Take them shopping or make a handmade gift. If it’s words – write a card with your words of affirmation.
Adopt a Grandparent – If you do not have any grandparents or they have passed on, find a new grandparent to honor. Visit a nursing home or contact that special person in your life that has played the role of a grandparent.
Becoming a grandparent is a special gift. Grandparents really don’t require more gifts – their grandchildren are the gift. Grandparents Day is an opportunity to honor those who give our life legacy with the gift of time! Because grandparents understand time is the greatest gift!