Funny how grandparents are the ones we think need memory help. That might be so in some areas of living, but not remembering Grandparents Day. Even though it was a signed proclamation by President Jimmy Carter, in 1979, which made it a national holiday that falls on the first Sunday after Labor Day, it just isn't as commonly referred to as other holidays.

Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade founded the holiday with three purposes:

  1. As an honoring of grandparents.
  2. As an opportunity to show love for grandchildren from grandparents.
  3. As a time to show strength, guidance and information that can be offered to grandchildren.

The day is meant for families to enjoy one an other and nationally affirm the important roles that grandparents share in society. Surrogate grandparents are included. There are surely many of those who have enhanced the lives of surrogate grandchildren. This is nice so many seniors can be included on this day.

This Sunday, September 12th, will be the 31st Grandparents Day anniversary. Now, since there are so many baby boomers there may be more grandparents, and Grandparents Day awareness too. I know that my recent honoring of becoming a Grandma has really increased my awareness and love for grandparents. Unfortunately, mine are deceased, yet I picture them often, especially looking at my granddaughter. One can't help but wonder about the ancestry with grandchildren.

I love that my children's Grandmother's are still alive and just loving their great-granddaughter. It really puts a different spin on the family when grandparents are honored. Mother's Day and Father's Day are the more common links that get attention, and that is just right, because the immediate bond is extremely valuable. The family scenario has changed so much that the grandparent link has become, for some, the bond they know better than that of their parents. So, the national holiday has become a greater celebration in today's society.

McQuade intended the day as an honoring of family, whether the family is blood related or not. It is time meant to be with one an other. She didn't intend it as a gift giving holiday, but more of "a day of giving – giving of self, sharing hopes, dreams, and values, and setting an example for future generations." This intention is far more valuable than gift giving, and it is so rewarding to lift one's spirits by visiting with a grandparent.

Suggestions as how to acknowledge the day are plentiful. Here are some ideas:

  • If your grandparents live too far away to be with, spend some time making them a card maybe citing some fond memories of previous time spent together, and set a date to be together again.
  • Take them on a picnic, or treat them at your home or a favorite restaurant. Home-cooked is pleasurable because of the thought and time put into the preparation.
  • Visit any grandparents you know that can't visit you (shut-ins). Showing any interest in their lives and experience is a great gift.
  • Phone calls just to acknowledge their importance in your lives will always be a staple when live visits aren't possible.

Remember, time spent with grandparents creates memories, love, hugs, and rich experience passed on. Enjoy September 12th with your grandparents!