Grandparents Day

grandparents Pictures, Images and Photos

Some of you are probably counting down the days until Grandparents Day, and some of you probably didn't even know it existed.  This year Grandparents Day is on Sunday, September 13th.  I've noticed the past few years that more and more calendars are listing it -- and to be honest, I think that's a good thing.

When I was a kid my school had a Grandparents thing every year. The younger classes would perform skits, or sing songs (I'll never forget the "I'm My Own Grandpa" song our class sang in fifth grade I think it was) and all of the students' grandparents were invited to hang out in the classrooms for a while.  I don't think we ever celebrated it on the real day though, and now that I think about it, I'm not sure if it was even on any calendar yet back then.  It was still neat that we celebrated them in that way -- all of the grandparents walked around the school grounds with big, smiley, proud cheesers spread across their faces. Even the really grumpy ones.

20 years later, my kids are at a school that celebrates Grandparents Day as well.  Not a whole lot is done in the classroom -- it's mainly a fundraiser for the school where grandparents arrive early to eat donuts with their grandchildren in the cafeteria and take a picture with them, but I'm still extremely grateful for the celebration.

Grandparents mean so much to us as we grow up -- and I think many times kids get to a point where they think they're too cool or too old or too whatever to be around grandparents socially  anymore.  I've had this argument recently with my 6th grader (who thinks she's 21, along with all of the other 6th graders).  She's getting to the point where it's almost -- not yet, just almost -- embarrassing to do things like Grandparents Day.

We were having a discussion the other day about an entirely different subject, and I just flat-out told her how I felt. (That's one good thing about older kids, not beating around the bush anymore.)  I said, "Well you know what?  You never know how long any of us are going to be on this earth -- so for that reason above all else, you're going to continue to do things with your grandparents until you are WAY older than this!"  What I didn't tell her was that when she gets older and looks back on it all, she's not going to remember the embarrassment or the conversation we even had -- she's just going to wish they were still around.

Maybe that's why I make such a big deal out of Grandparents Day.  Because slowly but surely over the years I've lost grandparent after grandparent. I started out with 4 grandmothers and 4 grandfathers (long story) and now I only have one of each.  This isn't supposed to be a sad story about losing grandparents, believe it or not.  The reason for this post was to say that I looked around town a bit today to get a feel for what's available for my girls to give to their Grandparents on Sunday, and after looking around Hallmark for 15 minutes, I left there feeling really pissed off.

I cannot even begin to tell you just how many "Grandma" and "Nana" things there were.  Not that I am complaining about that -- to a certain extent I am actually excited that people are finally making items that say "Nana".  But when I looked for "Grandpa" or "Papa" I couldn't find jack.  "Grandparents" this and "Grandparents" that, and then "Grandma, Nana, Grandma..." and so on.  For some reason it really bothered me.  Here there's shelf after shelf in every single store I enter with Halloween crap spread all over the place -- ugly witches that cackle and disgusting dead skulls and bony hands and spiders.  For a holiday that I can't stand in the first place -- that doesn't take place for over a month from now.  

Yet "Grandpa"? "Papa"?  Nothing.  Now I'm sure if I headed over to Wal-mart, I'd find the same ol' T-shirts and hats and coffee mugs (how many does a poor grandpa need of those, anyway?). How in the world can goblins and ghosts and bats be more important than grandparents?  I just don't understand it.  I'm probably odd-woman out on this one, and I realize that.  

If you looked at it from my point of view (and most of  you probably have your own version of this), grandparents are life savers.  They feed you whatever you want. Spoil you and take you places your parents would never go.  You get to watch TV in their beds and be hyper and play games with them.  For the first few years of my life, one of my grandpas was practically my dad.  And he was a wonderful grandfather.  I can't complain about a thing.  Of course he was the first out of all of my grandparents to leave this world, but by that time he wasn't "him" anymore, so it wasn't as hard on me.  

My point is, sometimes I want to scream from the rooftops at the marketers here, who decide what is so popular and what isn't. But I also want to scream at the consumers as well -- because to a point we are the reason for the decisions they make!  We're the reason Halloween and Fourth of July and even St. Patrick's Day are more important than Grandparents Day!  What are we telling our children? Or our parents, for that matter?  (Not that I think any grandparents actually sit around sulking if Grandparents Day isn't celebrated with them or anything.  But that's probably mainly due to the fact that most people don't even know about it.)

As I write this, Wednesday begins in 12 minutes.  That's four whole days to get out there and make/find something to give your grandparents, to help your children give something to their grandparents.  You can do this, people. I know you can. Go for it. Be creative.  And if you see anything that says "Papa" please let me know as soon as possible.

For those of you who haven't been able to remember the lyrics, or the ones who were wondering what kind of words could be in a song like "I'm My Own Grandpa",  here ya go.  

I'm My Own Grandpa
Guy Lombardo

Now many many years ago when I was twenty-three
I was married to a widow who was pretty as can be
This widow had a grown-up daughter who had hair of red
My father fell in love with her and soon they too were wed

Oh I'm my own grandpa
I'm my own granpa
It sounds funny I know,
But it really is so
Oh I'm my own grandpa

This made my dad my son-in-law and changed my very life
My daughter was my mother 'cause she was my father's wife
To complicate the matter even though it brought me joy
I soon became the father of a bouncing baby boy

My little baby then became a brother-in-law to Dad
And so became my uncle, though it made me very sad
For if he was my uncle, then that also made him br'ther
Of the widow's grown-up daughter who was also my stepmother

Father's wife then had a son who kept them on the run
And he became my grandchild, for he was my daughter's son
My wife is now my mother's mother and it makes me blue
Because altho' she is my wife, she's my grandmother too

Now if my wife is my grandmother, then I'm her grandchild
And every time I think of it, it nearly drives me wild
For now I have become the strangest case I ever saw
As husband of my grandmother, I am my own grandpa 


Anita said...

Thanks for the Grandparents Day reminder! My last grandparent died at the age of 99 in 2006, but my kids still have 3 grandparents. When they were born, they had 7, one of which was my 99 year old "Granny." You beat them by 1! We will definitely get those creative, homemade cars in the mail.
Maybe Hallmark needs to hear about its lack of grandpa cards. There are a lot of grandpas that don't have a wife, hence, they need their own special card as you said.
ps. We are one of the few that are not fans of Halloween either.

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

Anita - yes, cards, and gifts - plaques, mugs, magnets - they all said either Grandma, Nana or Grandparents...and then I asked one woman for anything Grandpa and the only thing she could find was a small spun glass rocking chair! I was like "Uh, my dad isn't THAT old."

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for writing about Grandparents Day. I think the holiday is also a perfect opportunity to honor those grandparents our children no longer have in their lives. My parents died from cancer and my children are young -- 7 and 9. To celebrate them, members of Parentless Parents will be coming together from 11am-1pm to participate in a number of age-appropriate activities at a local park in Yonkers, NY this Sunday, 9/13.
You can find out more by searching "Parentless Parents" on Facebook.
Thanks again for writing about Grandparents. I really enjoy your blog.

Allison Gilbert said...

Not sure why it posted as Anonymous -- My name is Allison Gilbert. :)

Dorraine said...

I'm not sure who came up with Grandparents Day, but I love them for it. They should be celebrated more than once a year. Life is short, like you said.

Oh, and I used to sing, I'm My Own Grandpa, with my three girls. We knew all the words and I thought it the quirkiest, yet best song.

Hmmm...wonder if they'd sing it with me now?

Thanks for your lovely post, Jessica.