As you probably know, Grandparents Day was this past Sunday. As the recognitions and shout-outs filled my Facebook newsfeed, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own relationships with my grandparents (and my parents and in-laws who are now grandparents to my kids). Each has been very special, and I can’t imagine not having these individuals in my life.
This got me thinking, why do we have just ONE day recognizing how incredible grandparents are? Why not let them know how much they mean EVERYDAY?
So I made a vow to make a conscious effort to do just that … and here are some ways you can too.
Honor Their History
Ask your parents and grandparents about their lives and if possible, have them write or record their stories. One of the greatest gifts I have from my own Papa is a recorded history of his time serving in the Navy during WWII. At some point I won’t be able to ask him about watching the flag being raised on Normandy Beach, but I will be able to show my children the video of him sharing his experience. If your children are school aged, have them interview their grandparents and put together a book to be shared for generations. Legacy pages make recording a life story quite simple.
This seems to be a given, but I can’t tell you how many times my own grandfather has thanked me for “making his day” by simply calling to check in. At 90 years young, he has recently gotten an iPhone and loves to FaceTime with my kids. Since he lives in Boston, it can be a year between visits, but with FaceTime or Skype he gets to feel like he is a part of our daily lives and watch the kids grow up.
Never underestimate how badly a grandmother wants to see their grandbaby dressed as an angel during a preschool pageant! My children are fortunate enough to have two sets of grandparents in the state so including them in school or sports activities has been easy. Nothing makes my daughter happier than when she looks out into the audience and sees her Nana or Grandma! If your parents live farther away consider sharing some school scheduled events early in the year in case they would like to schedule their visit around the final tee ball game of the season.
Spend Quality Time With Them
Another no brainer, right? While it may seem like one, an astonishing 67% of grandparents spend the most time with their grandchildren while eating out at a restaurant. Think of the memories that could be made in the kitchen instead. Does your Mother-in-law have a killer chocolate chip cookie recipe you’re dying to get your hands on? Odds are if you invite her over to bake with your kids she might let the recipe slip!
Remember the Catalyst for Grandparents Day … Everyday
The idea of a national Grandparents Day originated in the early 1970’s with Marian McQuade, a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia. Her motivation was to champion the cause of lonely elderly in nursing homes whose family were not close enough to visit. Consider partnering with a local retirement facility to visit residents who are seeking companionship. Your children can decorate cards, gather magazines, or bring flowers to brighten someone’s day.