This Sunday, September 8, is National Grandparents Day. The day originated with Marian McQuade in West Virginia. She was looking for a way to help the lonely elderly in nursing homes. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day.
According to Wikipedia, the number of grandparents in the United States will rise from 65 million in 2011 to 80 million in 2020. Grandparents are also helping out in the area of child care and support. In 2012, 30% of children under five with working parents were cared for on a regular basis by a grandparent.
Our children our blessed to have three living grandparents and two living great-grandparents. Unfortunately, none of them live close to us. We have been lucky to see them many times throughout the years and our children feel a strong bond with them and an overwhelming love for them. We also “adopted” our 90-year-old neighbor. She has many grandchildren but none of them live in the area. Recently, she taught our children how to play checkers with true strategy because they were going to visit their great-grandfather and wanted to play with him.
If you are part of the 30% that is lucky enough to have the grandparents help out with childcare, I am envious of you. There are so many different things that grandparents can share with our children that we cannot. They have a different perspective and have more life experiences. Please help your children build and keep these important relationships. If you are unable to visit, there are many other ways to maintain these bonds. One of my daughter’s grandmothers read a book she was reading this summer so they could discuss it together over the telephone. Another daughter saves buttons that have fallen off because only grandma can sew them on just right. The artistic talents of our children are linked to a grandmother that sends the most creative thank you notes and has a love of art. One daughter inherited a sense of style from a great grandmother that has a pair of shoes and accessories to match every outfit.
Please call, face time, visit or write the grandparents this weekend. Small children can draw or paint a picture. My grandfather told me a story a few years ago. He wanted me to know that he chose the cemetery where he would be buried. He said there were many cemeteries in his town but he chose the one where all the famous people were buried so maybe someone would visit him. My grandfather had a very bad fall a few months ago that left him with memory loss and he is unable to care for himself. It has been difficult for my entire family. Before the fall, he was so sharp and active. He would read, travel, work, play golf and volunteer. He is now in a care facility. All he wants to do is go home. I will not be able to see him this Sunday but I hope someone “adopts” him and gives him the gift of a visit.
Please like this on Facebook if you will be calling or seeing your grandparents on Sunday or even adopting one.