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As an adult/parent, I never knew what this “Grandparents Day” was all about. I don’t remember doing anything for it as a child, do you? Maybe it just wasn’t as highly celebrated or publicized as it is today or maybe it was the fact that I didn’t have grandparents around to celebrate with. Either way, I did some digging to find out whether or not this was just some holiday made up by greeting card companies (laugh with me, you know you thought it was funny, too).
So here’s what I found (trumpets please, thank you!). In 1978, President Jimmy Carter passed National Grandparents Day to be the first Sunday following Labor Day in September. So, as you can see it’s completely legit and not a greeting card holiday (just like every husband says every year about Valentine’s Day).
My three boys have been blessed to have both sets of grandparents, and even some still living great-grandparents live close by for years, but many kids aren’t so lucky. If you have a child who doesn’t have grandparents close by or if they aren’t still living, how can we help them feel included? Here are a few ideas that might help.
As mentioned before, I didn’t have grandparents around very much when I was a child. My mom’s parents both passed away before any of us were born and we didn’t live close to my dad’s parents. We did, however, adopt grandparents when I was about 8 years old. The Kramers were an older couple at church that my family fell in love with! We asked and they were more than happy to fill the opening in our family as our grandparents. This article from Time and Date talks about how Virginia housewife Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade “urged” people to adopt grandparents. Now I’m not saying go find an old person and invite them into your family, but you may start by befriending the elderly in your community. Taking your child to the retirement center to play a game with someone who may not have a cute grandkid to play with can be beneficial to all parties involved. This might even help if your child is dealing with the loss of a grandparent.
Losing a loved one is hard for everyone but even more so for children. Even though none of us met my mom’s parents, we all knew them. Keep grandparents alive by telling your children about them and showing them pictures. Maybe have your child help you set up or look online at Ancestry.com or put together a family tree. The best way to keep a memory alive is by making sure it lives through you and future generations.
Technology has its perks; use them! If grandparents don’t live close, have your child call and schedule a FaceTime or Skype session with them on Grandparents Day. Both the grandparent and child will have something to look forward to at the end of the day. There’s also something fun and exciting about getting a letter in the mail. Nothing says “I love you” more than a homemade card or hand written note.
So whatever your circumstances are, Grandparents Day is for everyone. Mark it on your calendar and get ready to show some love in some way, form or fashion. Happy Grandparents Day!