Established in 1978, National Grandparents Day, observed on the first Sunday in September after Labor Day, will celebrate its 36th anniversary on Sept. 7.
In 2013, President Obama issued a proclamation that asked grandparents “to commit to do something grand and share your wisdom, perspectives and key civic values with young people and advocate on their behalf.” He likewise asked grandchildren “to commit to do something grand and connect and serve with your grandparents or older adults in your community.”
As proud grandparents of seven, my husband and I enjoy the special times we have with our grandchildren. Our experiences range from a recent visit to the North Fork, a trip to Disney World in Florida, a visit to White Post Farms on Old Country Road in Melville, to a Long Island Ducks game in Central Islip.
Other great places to take grandkids are Adventureland in Farmingdale (for rides, arcade games and miniature golf), the Long Island Children’s Museum in Garden City (for hands-on activities to learn and have fun) and the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center in Riverhead (marine life exhibits, sea lion shows and many other educational programs).
While these activities are fun for the grandchildren, as grandparents, we cherish the special times we spend with our grandchildren at home. Whether it's a day when all of the grandchildren have fun in our backyard pool or simply when we take them out to eat at Friendly’s or a local diner, our special time with them is priceless.
We were especially proud when we saw our oldest granddaughter perform at Carnegie Hall with The Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York in May. Another granddaughter has received top honors several times in an art competition, while another is part of an award-winning cheerleading group. All five granddaughters attend the same dancing school, and we get to view their annual recital with great pride.
It was my grandmother who piqued my interest in sewing and crocheting. I made my first handmade doll’s dress under her patient, loving guidance. While teaching me to sew, she would tell me fascinating stories about our ancestors and our heritage. I was amazed to hear that our family actually had a castle in England, and she urged me to do some research on it when I was older. She told me that our ancestors left us with a great and proud heritage to pass on to our descendants.
So, happy Grandparents Day to all of the grandparents and older adults who offer love, strength, information and guidance to our younger generation. I urge grandchildren to have conversations with their grandparents about their ancestors and their heritage. It’s a priceless gift they can pass on to future generations.