Grandparents Day: A Tribute to the Memories

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My grandparents are a big part of my early memories. I remember hopping like a bunny to deliver a basket of eggs to their front door every Easter. Grandpa would make a magnificent breakfast after we opened presents with them on Christmas morning. Grandma would don her best jewelry of the moment and sit on the long white benches in my elementary school cafeteria for our Grandparents Day celebration. We would have turkey, an ice cream scoop of mashed potatoes with that thick yellow gravy and a warm buttered roll. She would act like it was the best meal she ever consumed despite being an amazing cook herself.

Grandparents Day hangs heavy on my heart this year. My grandpa -- Papau in our family titleage -- passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly this past January. We were caught off guard in that way the only death catches you off guard. For weeks, I cried at the mere thought of his bear hugs, his John Wayne face and his deep, deep love. Even now, as he enters my mind, I am simply shocked that he is no longer with us.

© Jenna HatfieldThe sting has lessened a bit over the past seven and a half months. I am much less likely to suddenly burst into tears when a memory crosses my brain. I have come to realize, through the experiences of others shared with me, how lucky I am to have truly known my grandparents as an adult. They not only attended my wedding and adored my husband, but they got to know my children. I am the only grandchild who has yet had children, having that nearly decade long head-start on the lot of them. I am the only grandchild who will ever have pictures of Papau and my kids.

Since my grandpa’s passing, I have been all the more focused on my boys’ relationships with their grandparents. They’re lucky. They have a Papau, a Yia-Yia, a Nina, a Grandma, a Grandpa, a Mamaw, a Gramps, a Big Mamaw, another Grandma, a Granna and a Great-Great-Grandma. They are even luckier than I was at their age.

I have become suddenly aware that those people -- every last one of them -- are human. I hate it. I don’t really want to acknowledge it. But I need for my children to appreciate how truly blessed they are in the grandparent department. A friend recently pseudo-complained that my husband and I too frequently “farm our children out” to various grandparents on the weekend. While having free time for us as a couple is a bonus feature of these special weekends, the real point is that my children are creating memories with their grandparents. They are priceless, those memories, and they won’t happen if I don’t let them.

© Jenna HatfieldEvery time my children run into my father’s arms and yell, “PAPAU!,” I am hopeful that they will remember these times. When my mother takes time to make a gingerbread house with the boys, my heart is full. Every time my husband’s grandfather slips and cusses in their presence, I know that someday we’ll have giggles to share as we recount these stories. Every time my sons tell me that they had so much fun at insert-grandparents-name-here, I smile and say, “You’re supposed to, buddies. You’re supposed to.”

I’m not the only blogger with beautiful grandparent stories to share. Here are some posts about grandparents that made me smile, made me cry and made me call my Grandma today.

  • In a post shared here on BlogHer by Mother Nature, we are transported to her grandparent’s garden. I can almost taste those tomatoes.
  • Last month, Rita shared a hard post about her grandparents and Alzheimer's. It was a heartfelt post that brought together emotion and today’s Science.
  • Calliope shared the bittersweet feeling of missing a grandparent but not wanting them back on her grandmother’s birthday.
  • Shauna Glenn shares memories of fishing off of her Mimi’s dock and relates a story of taking her kids to do the same recently. The last line made me smile. (As did the part about the slamming screen door. My grandma’s line is still, “In or out! Choose one!” I yelled that last week.)
  • Meryl related a list of things her grandma used to do that she thought were silly. Her opinions have changed as opinions often do over time.
  • The Pioneer Woman shared a post by Kristen Chase of Cool Mom Picks in her homeschooling category. Kristen has made it a part of their homeschooling curriculum to write letters to grandma. This post makes me want to have my kids write letters to all of their many grandparents. Right now.

Do you celebrate Grandparents Day? Do you have a special post honoring your grandparents or your parents as grandparents to your children? If so, please share them with us here. There’s nothing better than a heart-warming grandparent post.


Contributing Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land. She is a freelance writer and newspaper photographer.

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