Today is National Care For Grandparents Day- here is my story of why caring for grandparents means so much!
Caring for your Grandparents can mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people. For young grandkids, it can mean pinched cheeks and ugly sweaters, with the hopes of getting a piece of candy afterwards.
For others it can mean fascinating history conversations, family traditions, home cooked dinners and dessert each night.
Sometimes, caring for your grandparents can mean long drives, fine China decor, and proper manners.
What does Caring for your grandparents mean to you?
While I was incredibly blessed with two sets of grandparents, my husband never had any at all. Teaching him what it meant to care for my family was easier than losing him in Lowe’s Home Improvement! Here’s what I mean….
For me, my childhood was filled with memories of my grandparents taking us to the park, local pool, and the beach. It also meant fun days playing hide-n-seek in the perfectly manicured gardens my grandmother often weeded and fussed at us for crawling through.
But as I aged, so did they; suddenly, caring for them was more important than them caring for me.
In our first year of marriage, it meant bi-monthly trips, 6 hours each way, to mow yards, bleach gutters, sort canned food, and cut coupons. It meant clearing the table and sorting out dishes in the cupboards, while my grandfather micromanaged because he had specific places for each dish.
Caring for them meant quiet nights in, and sometimes, boring conversations about people we barely remember meeting. It also meant good manners and dressing much fancier for their church than we did for our church.
Caring for them, was good impressions, little to no messes, and lots of work in 3 day weekends. We watched grandpa and grandma care for others, even as they aged. So we learned from the start there are no shortcuts when it comes to helping our elders.
Fast forward 9 years, and caring for them means a lot more than it did then…
It means driving hours on end in 3 different counties to find the right nursing homes. It means caring more for them than then the “perfect” nursing home ever could, and helping them pack and relocate multiple times as staff and management changed. It meant taking selfie’s at the DMV while waiting to change his Grandpa’s license.
Today, caring for them means making dinner and driving to their most recent destination, my parents home, and sitting as a family and dining together, the 9 of us. It means sitting quietly and talking softly, smelling their perfume and cologne, and recognizing safety.
It means helping grandma in and out of her wheel chair, convincing grandpa to let you take on that project, walking outside, slowly to check the mail, arm-in-arm. Caring for them means slow, steady, tender love.
It means thanking them for their decision to love, making your parents, making you, making your kids. It means loving them and their choice to have a family, because of them you too have a family.
It’s not a burden, it’s not a chore.
Caring for them is an honor.
Helping them, is a reward.
Loving them, is a blessing.
Being their grandchild, is the single handedly most positive experience of my young adult life, and I pray they know it.