Grandparents Day. It’s a day that ranks up there with other September “days to remember” such as “National Neither Rain or Shine Day” or “Make Your Bed Day.” It’s easily forgotten, skipped over and ignored. However, I want to challenge moms everywhere to start making this date a celebrated holiday.
When: It is always the first Sunday after Labor Day, which means its September 10th this year.
Why: When I was a child, I spent many days with my grandparents. While I adored both sets, and was blessed to know both of them, my grandpa and grandma B. were a HUGE part of my growing up years. My grandma taught me all I know about baking and listened to my dreams and angst. Her influence impacts my own mothering. My grandfather was a businessman and my husband was able to get business advice and confidence from him as we grew our own business.
Today, as I watch my own children interact with my parents and my parent-in-loves I am aware how important it is that I encourage the times they have together. There is a richness in these relationships and here is why I encourage you to foster them:
- They know things we do not. My mother is creative. She takes the time to draw and color with my children when time and talent are not on my side. My dad’s desire is to spend retirement working on a lath and wood crafting. There is no way I’m going to be teaching my children any of these things myself. My father-in-love LOVES to bike and is fostering this love in my kids. My mother-in-love has an awesome pizza crust recipe and it’s a specialty she shares with them, when my pizza recipe includes a trip to Little Caesar.
- Your children will appreciate a different generation. Let’s get real. Children today are growing up without respect of others, I’ve seen it to often in the eye-rolls and tone of some children I’ve come in contact with. When our children spend time with older adults, they come to appreciate them and have a respect for them that is greater then if I just “told them so”.
- It takes a village. Parenting should never be done in a bubble. We moms need the wisdom and encouragement of an older generation who has been there and done that. We might not agree with everything they suggest or do but we are 100% better off as moms if we bring our parents into the mix.
How do we foster this relationship AND celebrate them this Sunday?
- Plan it. September is crazy busy with the return of school, sports, music, church etc. However, Grandparents day never moves on the calendar. It’s ok that you can’t celebrate on the 10th. What matters is that you DO. Take them out to eat. Invite them to a family outing. Drive up/down for the weekend (any weekend). Put it on the calendar.
- FaceTime. This has been a wonderful invention. My kiddos love to talk to their grandparents face to face. They show them their latest art projects and even their favorite outfits. Make it a weekly FaceTime date, especially for grandparents that live out of town. This has been monumental in helping my niece in TX know her grandparents. When she comes visit she is already “knows” their faces and voices.
- Invite. We make a point to invite the grandparents on our vacations (with the caveat that it is OUR vacation and we make the rules…let’s not get crazy). We invite them up for BBQ’s. Invite them to your child’s performances and recitals.
- Say yes. Yes, my child can come for a sleepover. Yes, they would love to go out to dinner with you. Yes, you can call us.
- Relax. There are some hard and fast rules our family has regarding our kids. Outside of that, sure grandparents feed the kids gummy bears for breakfast. Buy them the 20 gallon hamster cage. Let your parents and in-laws love and spoil your kids.
- Celebrate with TIME not CARDS. Yes, we can send a lovely written sentiment. However, time means more to our parents then a card makers sentiment. Can’t get together? Have your child write a letter or if they are too young, draw a picture. Grandparents will eat it up!
Side note: I am LUCKY to have great parents and in-loves. Some don’t. I understand. We need to protect our children from ALL toxic relationships. You need to decide as parents/single mothers right away what that means for your children. What will you allow? What is non-negotiable? Grandparents are deceased? Adopt some. One of my childhood friends lost her parents before she ever became a mother. However, her son has surrogate grandparents through another friend. The bottom line: Children need grandparents.