In the United States, Grandparents Day is celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day. It is a day to honor the elders of our family and to show them how important they are. Grandparents Day is a great reminder to us all of the value our grandparents have in our lives.
In 1970, West Virginian Marian McQuade initiated a campaign to introduce Grandparents Day. Three years later, in 1973, Governor Moore proclaimed the first Grandparents Day ever to be held on May 27th in West Virginia. The campaign continued its fight for another five long years until 1978, when President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the first Sunday after Labor Day would be National Grandparents Day. It has been said that autumn was chosen because of the symbolism between grandparenthood and the autumn years of one’s life.
Grandparents Day is a great excuse to visit with your grandparents or take them out for the day. It is a great reminder to parents of the special role our parents can play in our children’s lives. When my grandmother was alive, I referred to her as my best friend. I lost her just before my 17th birthday, but I was lucky to have had such a great relationship with her. I love watching my parents and daughter play, laugh or just talk constantly because the bond between grandparent and grandchild is amazing.
It is hardly surprising that in April 1999 the forget-me-not was named as the official flower of Grandparents Day. Some grandparents are in nursing homes for various reasons, and the forget-me-not serves as a reminder to use Grandparents Day as an excuse to visit. Some people do not have grandparents, my own daughter only has one set alive, and for these people there is the drive to adopt a gran. This program matches up people without grandparents to people in homes who either have no family, or whose family lives out of state or overseas.
Let’s not forget that about 4 million children actually live with their grandparents, so Grandparents Day is a time when those children can make their grandparents breakfast in bed and thank them for being there, much like others might celebrate Mothers Day or Fathers Day.
Grandparents Day can also be a time to participate in family history activities. Grandparents can assist with making a family tree and pass down tidbits of family lore. The telling of oral family histories is a great way of making history interesting for children. The family can also sit down with books or gather around the computer to get an idea as to what different ancestors’ lives may have been like.
Grandparents Day is also a great excuse to share talents and skills that your grandparents may have. They may be able to pass down sewing, wood carving, knitting or clock-makings skills. If you have one, get out the family cookbook and spend the day preparing recipes your great-grandparents passed down to your grandparents.
This September, spend time with your grandparents and have a fantastic Grandparents Day.