Until recently, I had no idea Grandparent’s Day was a national holiday since 1978, when Jimmy Carter made it official.
I think it’s a great idea. And I’d be celebrating if I had something to celebrate. I’m not a grandmother. (For my views on that subject, click here to read: Grandma Envy.) I joke about it but I’m not really envious (yet) of people who ARE grandparents. I’m envious of people who HAVE grandparents.
Because my kids don’t. All they have are pictures—like these with my dad—and maybe a few fuzzy mental pictures and memories of the two grandfathers they had just for a few years. My children never had a grandmother at all.
I don’t need to elaborate on how this bothered me, that my kids didn’t get to experience that special love through their childhoods. I already felt sorry—and guilty—about my kids having divorced parents and a mother with cancer and a father who lived in another city—having no grandparents was just another thing added to my list.
Every year on the day before Thanksgiving vacation, Daniel’s school celebrated their version of Grandparents’ day, when kids would bring their grandparents into school. In his Episcopal school, Daniel was already the only Jewish kid in his class; now he would also be the only kid without any grandparents—just another way he’d feel “different. I couldn’t stand the thought of my kids suffering; so on Grandparent’s Day, I often didn’t send him to school.
This is starting to sound a little familiar; related to Emotional Education. I didn’t cry over Grandparent’s Day but I’ve evolved. Although I still wish my kids had the gift of grandparents, I’ve learned that children can grow up just fine, becoming full and complete and wonderful human beings—despite and sometimes even because of being different—-and despite suffering through divorce or distance or disease— or having no grandparents.
If you or your child has a grandparent, or you’re a grandparent yourself, then I hope you’re celebrating today, even just with a phone call—to treasure that special relationship, and remember how lucky you are.