Sunday is Grandparent’s Day and until my husband and I became grandparents I just thought of it as another “Hallmark Holiday”. A day created by the card company to make more money by making us feel guilty that we don’t spend enough time with our grandparents so we assuage it by buying cards and presents or making a perfunctory phone call. Until I became a grandparent I never understood the love that a grandparent has for their children’s children.
Let’s look at the definition of what a grandparent is: A parent of one’s mother or father; a grandmother or grandfather.
Technically that’s right but it is so much more than that so I am going to redefine it so all of you who are reading this will understand how shallow that definition is.
We will start with what a “Grandparent” is. A grandparent is a person who has spent many years learning how to be selfless and self-sacrificing. A person who has spent countless hours feeding, washing, changing, teaching, holding, comforting, encouraging, disciplining, worrying and caring for their own children with the hope that someday they will be rewarded by having grandchildren to love. Grandchildren are the perks of surviving parenthood. The dessert in the banquet of life.
What does a “Grandparent” do?
Wait, wait, wait…this is not turning out how I want. Stay with me while I let my heart do the “talking” instead of my head.
I want to tell you about my grandparents and how it was when I was growing up and about my mom and dad and how they were as grandparents and how my husband and I wish our lives as grandparents could be. Then you will be able to see how much more than just a “parent of a mother or father” grandparenting is.
Growing up I had two sets of grandparents. My mom’s mother was a “perfect” grandparent. Grandma Lou was loving and kind and always made you feel as though she had just had the greatest gift given to her when you came to her door. Her face just beamed with joy at the sight of any of her grandchildren. She loved us all equally and it didn’t matter if you were popular or pretty or what kind of grades you made. She loved you just because you were her grandchild. I loved staying at her house overnight. I felt so secure. So loved. And when you left, she would stand in the big picture window and watch you get into the car and wave until you were out of sight. She wanted to enjoy every moment with you up till she could see you no more. All of her grandchildren miss her now that she is gone and not one of them has a bad memory of her. I aspire to be like that to my grandkids.
My other grandparents were nice enough and I have some fond memories of them but not like Grandma Lou.
My own parents were great at grand-parenting my daughter. They loved her and she could do no wrong in their eyes. My mom baby-sat her for the first three years of her life while I was a working mom and never once complained. I knew that when I dropped my daughter off for the day, she was going to have fun and be loved and well taken care of. My dad died when my daughter was just 8 but my mom has continued to be a wonderful example of a grandparent and now has the added title of Great-Grandmother to my daughter’s children.
So here I am, the grandmother of two (soon to be three) darling children and I now understand the love that my grandparents had for me and the love that my parents and my husband’s parents (who were also very, very good grandparents) had for my daughter. My only regret is that now that I see how important it is to grandparents to be an active part in their grandkids lives, it is too late. My dad, and my mom-in-law are gone and my daughter is all grown up. I never understood the connections between them. I did not understand the need of the grandparents to have the grandkids around. I wish I could go back and redo it. I denied them their greatest joy by not making sure we saw them at least weekly. It did not seem that important to me.
They say, “Hindsight is 20/20” and that is so true. I can not go back but you can learn from my mistake. If you are a young parent, remember this post. Your children are the world to your parents. Make time for them. Let your children make precious memories with them. Make spending time with them important. And if you are still blessed to have your own grandparents around, go see them. Be involved in their lives, too. Because believe me, you will one day “Reap what you have sown” and how you treat your grandparents and your parents WILL come back to you. If you want to be part of your future grandkids lives, then make grandparents important to your children. If you don’t, then your kids won’t think it’s important for you to see yours!