One Long Island grandparent talks about what Grandparents Day means...

One Long Island grandparent talks about what Grandparents Day means to her. Credit: iStock

National Grandparents Day in the U.S. is the first Sunday after Labor Day. It was established on Aug. 3, 1978, when president Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation “…to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer."

We are fortunate that our three children and their families have settled on Long Island and live minutes away from our home. If they need us for any reason, we’re there -- and vice versa.

Our seven grandchildren are very special to us. Each of them has a distinct, different personality. They feel at home at our house and know all of its nooks, crannies and good hiding places. Hide-and-seek is a frequently played game when the grandchildren get together at family functions at our house.

It’s not uncommon to find Papa Kurt (Grandpa), armed with his trusty flashlight, on a hunt for monsters in our basement with one of our grandsons, who frequently stays overnight. It’s part of a ritual that will be fondly remembered in years to come. Other such rituals are knock-knock jokes that are told and retold over lunch at McDonald's on Fridays on the way home from nursery school.

Special snacks are kept in our pantry and in our TV room. When the candy jar is empty, someone will say that they sure wished that there were some M&Ms in the jar. Feeling guilty, I’ll make sure that it’s filled for the next visit.

As grandparents, we feel special each and every time we get hugs and kisses from our grandchildren. They love to get together with their cousins, and rarely is there a behavior issue when they interact.

I can vividly recall celebrating the very first Grandparents Day at my son’s school when he was in kindergarten in 1978. My mother-in-law was invited to come as one of the special guests. Now I walk in her shoes as the grandparent 35 years later!


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