There are different seasons in our lives, and each will define us, change us, and enable us to grow. I have to be truthful and say, I really love the season of life my husband and I are in right now. Like many of you, we spent our younger years raising our three children with great care and guidance. Much time was spent balancing church, school, sports, and family time. It was an exhausting time, but it is common knowledge that children come in an early season so that we have the stamina to keep up. It’s true! The next season we faced was the empty nest as they graduated, moved out, got married, and two of our kids have now had children of their own (our youngest just got married in 2017). Watching them become parents, and giving us the title of grandparents, has been an incredible experience. We have witnessed them apply principles they learned growing up, while also incorporating their own processes as they figure out what works for their family. I just keep reminding them that they are doing a great job!
As National Grandparents Day is approaching, I wanted to research how this holiday came about, share some memories of my grandparents, and tell you what it is like being a grandparent myself.
How the holiday came about
A housewife by the name of Marian McQuade started a campaign in the early 1970s that would be an incentive for families to visit with elderly family members living in nursing homes. She recognized the value of what grandparents can offer to their family members – wisdom and family history. President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation to make it an official holiday on August 3, 1978, and National Grandparents Day is celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day. September was appropriately chosen in order to represent the “autumn years” of life.
My grandparent memories
My paternal grandparents lived close by, so there are a lot of memories with them. My dad was an only child, and my brother and I were their only grandchildren. I remember sleepovers, eating oatmeal out of green milk glass bowls, hunting Easter eggs, playing with their Irish Setter dogs, driving in the car to the small town they grew up in for extended family gatherings, lots of hugs and laughs, family Christmas traditions, and so much more! My maternal grandparents had divorced when my mom was a young adult. My grandfather lived close by, so there are a few memories with him. But, he died when I was 11. My grandmother lived many more years, and lived near to us at times and far away at other times throughout my life. We shared a birthday, and loved spending them together when we could. I took a Greyhound bus trip with her once when I was 14 ½ from Kansas to California and back. Such a great time! She made the best chocolate pies, and they always had the perfect peaks on the meringue! I am grateful for all of these experiences in my life. They are memories that I will never forget!
Being a grandparent
It is truly a beautiful time of my life! I have been blessed to witness the birth of three of my five grandchildren. I love being able to love on them, spoil them a little, and then return them to their parents. They each have unique personalities. It has been interesting to see who they look like, and just what traits end up surfacing from the gene pool. Benefits of being a grandparent include seeing the family grow and expand. We went from an original family of 5, to now setting the dinner table for 15 as we gather for family meals. We also have the privilege of displaying unconditional love, praying over each child, focusing on making memories from fun times, as well as passing down family traditions. We were called Ma and Pa first, but are also known as Nana and Papa. I love being able to watch the milestones happen in their lives, seeing life through their eyes in a carefree and curious way, going school supply shopping together, attending sporting events or school functions, reading books with them, having family dinners, or simply just sitting and talking – this grandparent gig is one that fills my cup to overflowing!
So, get your kids involved with their grandparents. Have them interview them for school reports, create legacy videos so that history comes alive through their stories as they tell them in their own words, and just spend time with them. Don’t forget to look on our web site for unique gifts. Choose from crosses, home décor, keychains, books, figurines, and mugs!
As a Web Merchandiser for Mardel, I write on Gifts, Jewelry, and Apparel for our web site. I write from the heart of being a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and Women’s Ministry Coordinator at my church. More than anything else, I love the Lord.