This first Sunday after Labor Day {in this case, September 12}, we are excited to celebrate the amazing Grandparents in our lives for National Grandparents Day!

My mom always made sure we called our grandparents on this day growing up, maybe because it became an official Holiday the year my brother was born, the first grandchild for her parents. In a world where we celebrate just about anything it was interesting to learn how much effort had to go into making Grandparent’s Day a national observance.

RELATED READING :: Grandparents, We Thank You

GrandparentsThe push for a day of observance came in the 1970s, when West Virginia Commissioner, Marian McQuade, started a campaign to gain support for a day of recognition for grandparents. McQuade petitioned for the Holiday while serving on the Commission on Aging and the Nursing Home Licensing Board. She hoped it would encourage families to visit their older family members in nursing homes. McQuade also said it was a way to designate time for grandparents to share their stories, experiences and dreams for the future with their grandchildren. McQuade’s efforts were picked up by West Virginia Governor, Arch Moore, and with some additional campaigning over the next 4 years, it was official in 43 States. Congress passed legislation after the resolution for a national day of observance was introduced by Senator Jennings Randolph in 1977. Finally, in 1978 President Carter proclaimed National Grandparents Day noting that “Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us. Whether they are our own or surrogate grandparents who fill some of the gaps in our mobile society, our senior generation also provides our society a link to our national heritage and traditions.”

Since those early years, the Holiday has grown in recognition boasting an official flower, appropriately the forget-me-not, and an official song titled “A Song for Grandma and Grandpa”.  While observing National Grandparent’s Day comes in many forms, it is important to remember the purpose of the day which is to honor the grandparents in our lives, allowing them the opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children see the knowledge, guidance and resilience older people exemplify.

I have been blessed to have my Mom and her husband close since I had my girls. My in-laws are also not far away. Both are the type of grandparents that show up for the school event, cheer on every sideline, and celebrate milestones big and small in person or over facetime. They have been building their own relationship with the girls since giving me a breather to nap or shower when they were little or hosting sleepovers as they got older. I can still recall the silly giggling in a packed airplane a row back coming from my mom and my oldest when she was about 6. My mom mischievously looking over at me “Whaaaaat?” They sing the lullabies that make you nostalgic for your childhood, find the best toys you never knew they wanted (but leave at their house) and never fail to have the “special treat” of the moment on hand. The stories they tell of their own life and their revisionist history on our childhood has been amazing to experience.

It was hard for them not to see their Grandparents amid the pandemic and while we are back to regular visits, gathering may not be an option for some. Even without the pandemic, distance can mean getting creative to show the amazing Grandparents in our lives they are loved and appreciated.

Have time to do an arts and craft project? You can set up a grandparents play date to do the craft together or complete it and send it to them. The heart of the home generation after generation has always been the kitchen. Cooking a meal together can be done in person or virtually and can be the beginning of passing down a family recipe. Cooking not your thing? You can find a puzzle that works for your child and enlist their Grandparents to help. Sharing time over a shared goal is a prime opportunity. Word searches can often be found online to do together remotely too. You can also keep it simple with a homemade card or quick with an online card and gift certificate to do something with your child(ren) later. A phone call or facetime can even be meaningful for them and your kids. Have them share a favorite memory, or tell a story about their childhood or any of their firsts. And moreover, know your Grandparents are always willing to share some amazing advice.

How will you and your family celebrate National Grandparent’s Day?

Photo Credit :: Noëlle Westcott Photography

Born in New Hampshire and raised in Florida, Rachel got to Texas as quickly as she could. She has spent the last 20 years in this amazing city as a student, wife, mother, friend and professional. She met her husband, Jonathan, here in Austin and the two share all things Longhorns, as well as a love of football, traveling, and being amateur foodies. When not carpooling the social butterfly, Claire, or watching the world through the eyes of a toddler, Diana, you can find Rachel researching, planning, and booking their next travel adventure. She is an unapologetic Patriots fan and a firm believer in self-care; eat clean, train dirty, and never under estimate the power of a fresh mani/pedi.

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