‘This Sunday is grandparents day.’ My parents and I are chatting during our weekly catch up. At first my mother is surprised - it is true that in France only grandfathers are being celebrated this Sunday (Grandmothers had their day in March) but then she follows on ‘This is just one of those silly commercial celebrations!’. We swiftly move onto another topic!
So what about Grandparents day? Grandparents day was proclaimed as a national holiday in the US in 1978. In the UK, the celebration was introduced by Age Concern in 1990. In fact, grandparents day has not been a commercial success but it does feel right to take the time once a year to reflect and celebrate those very special people in our and our children's lives.
For most of us, grandparents have jumped in to help in our many moments of needs. When we call on them they are here for us - however busy they may be, they try and do their best. Ready for baby sitting duties, day care a couple of days a week, emergency illness cover, and holiday stay-over and activities!
But beyond the support, there is also the amazing role they play in raising our children. They listen, they read, they share, they play, they guide with their wisdom, they entertain our little ones with an energy that we sometimes don't have. There is an extraordinary amount of pleasure involved when they are with the grandchildren and it shows. In their patience. In their energy. In their love.
So today we should take the time to celebrate them. Make them the centre of our attention. Take them out for a nice meal. Talk about them - Not our children; not us. It is a great opportunity to ask them questions about their lives, their memories, their dreams and their achievements. They have lived a full life that we will enjoy hearing about. Don’t be shy, ask questions. Many of them will hold back, worried they have merely led unremarkable lives, that you may find talking about the past somewhat boring. Nudge them into talking and discover your parents and grandparents in a new light. My father recently told my children of a trip he made as a 22 year old to London for a week end. They had never imagined their grandfather at 22 and were rather surprised to hear what he got up to then!
Today, whatever you do today to mark the occasion, I would like to wish you and your family a wonderful Grandparents Day.