The first Sunday after Labor Day has been traditionally recognized as National ‘Grandparent’s Day’. Whether a grandparent was nicknamed ‘Nana’, ‘Granny’, ‘Gran’, ‘Nanny’, ‘Gaba’, ‘Pa-Pa’, ‘Pops’, ‘Gramps’ or ‘Granddad’, they have always been an important part of most children and young adults’ lives. There is a long history of one or both grandparents having to raise one or more grandchildren when circumstances made it impossible for a parent to raise the child. Check your own family tree, guaranteed there is at least one person who was raised by a grandparent solely. In the 21st century the tradition continues with some 2.4 million grandparents caring for their grandchildren. My own grandmother lost her mother at age 2 in 1893 and her father was unable to raise a young daughter on his own. So her widowed grandmother immediately stepped in at age 53 to raise a young child to adulthood.
So if one or more of your grandparents are still living, spending time with them, even on the phone would be great on Grandparent’s Day. If there are no grandparents remaining (a reminder – you have four of them), make it a point to spend some time to research more information on at least one of those grandparents. Start by working backwards, from their death date. Find out when and where, check for a newspaper obituary and if possible, contact the funeral home, they can produce a good deal of family information. Learn more about their career, where they lived on the years, their schooling, their wedding, any military service and their childhood.
For those grandparents living, make time to interview them, even if you had already done that, there truly will be additional events or stories never heard before. You can take notes, set up a video camera or a digital recorder, but do get the information down in some form. A few interesting questions to ask include finding out what pets they had as a child, what were their favorite subjects in school, who was the more strict of your parents, was there some goal or dream they had for their life, and one of the best would be, what is the best advice could you give could me? They will be thrilled and honored to provide an answer.
Another useful activity to do with a grandparent is to pull out the box filled with old photos and start labeling them as the grandparent names who, what, where and when about the image. That alone is worth its weight in gold.
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