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Sunday, September 9, 2018

Happy Grandparents Day!


Where Was I . . .  Best Job Ever!


This month we celebrate National Grandparents Day on September 9. I have been a grandmother for a little over three years now to two little girls, and I can say that next to being a mom, it is the best job ever! But it is not without responsibilities. You’ve probably seen those cutesy sayings like, “The best part of being a grandparent is spoiling your grandchildren and being able to give them back at the end of the day.”

That’s funny and true to an extent, but I think that reduces the role of grandparents too much. I think grandparents are essential, and you are blessed if you have or had one in your life. In fact, the famous anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Everyone needs to have access both to grandparents and grandchildren in order to be a full human being.”

I certainly do enjoy treating my granddaughters, but I want to be more than a soft touch for cookies and toys. So what kind of grandma do I want to be? What do I want to do for my grandchildren? What do I want to teach them? When I’m long gone, what do I want them to remember about me?

To answer this, I thought back to my own grandparents and what I remember about them. I was fortunate to know two great-grandparents and four grandparents. These are some of the things they gave me of which I’d like to pass on. They gave me a sense of who I was. They told me stories of who they were, where they came from, what their grandparents, parents and my own parents were like as well as telling me what their own lives were like. Through their stories, they picked up my little life and wove into our family tapestry and made me feel I belonged to something bigger than myself.

They provided good examples and passed on their faith. They were funny and fun. They taught me that although times change, people essentially are the same. They talked about bullies in school, boys who tried to get “fresh” with them, and mean bosses they worked for. They passed on their resilience. One of my great-grandma’s favorite things to say was, “Oh, kiddo, it’s a great life if you don’t weaken.” 

They also passed on their hope that there was something even better waiting in the next life.
They demonstrated love. I never, ever had to wonder if they loved me. I can still think back to times when I’d sleep over at my grandma’s. We’d lie in bed together, and she’d say let’s hold hands until we fall asleep. Or I can see my grandpap when we’d come to visit, opening his arms and saying, “Where’s pup-pup’s girl?”

So yeah, spoil the grandkids, but also give them something that’s lasts a lifetime like your faith, your hope and your love. 

This originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Northern Connection magazine.