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Every day is Grandparents Day

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Patsy Pridgen

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By Patsy Pridgen
Telegram Columnist

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Chances are, you don’t know today is a holiday. I didn’t either, until I happened to glance at my desk calendar and saw the words, “Grandparents Day” printed on Sunday, Sept. 10. Yep, right there along with Labor Day on the 4th and the First Day of Autumn on the 22nd.

According to the Internet, Grandparents Day has been around since 1978 when President Jimmy Carter signed legislation passed by Congress proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. Oh dear. In 1978, I had living grandparents, and I’m pretty sure I never sent a card to say Happy Grandparents Day.

But wait a minute. Reading further on the Internet, I find the preamble to the statute stating the purpose of the holiday: “to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.”

There’s no mention of presents, cards, or flowers here. In fact, once you get past the first three words, “to honor grandparents,” the rest is all about the kids. It sounds like Mom and Dad are supposed to take their children to see Me-Maw and Pops so the old folks can “show love” and share some stories about life before cell phones so the newest generation can “become aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.”

But do we really need to declare a holiday for this to happen? If you have grandchildren, which you all know I do if you ever read this column, then chances are you “show love” every single time you’re lucky enough to see them. You can’t do enough for them. You buy the junk toys their parents say no to, you feed them more ice cream than they need to eat, and you smother them with hugs and kisses even after they’re as tall as you are.

In this frenzied world, you often provide strength. You’ve lived long enough to know what is really important in life and can disregard the fluff. You are calm, unhurried, less frazzled than preoccupied parents who are still caught up in making a living and the daily chore of raising children.

And you’ve got plenty of information and guidance to offer these young’uns. I know about life in the years of the Depression, for example, from stories my grandparents once told me. Those hard times made them frugal for life, a trait they imparted to me. Today, I talk about the bookmobile stopping at my rural home in the summers of the 1960s and then ask my grandchildren what they’re reading, hoping to encourage them to love books the way I do.

Initially, florists and greeting card companies were excited about the creation of the holiday, says the Internet. Hallmark predicted it would become the sixth biggest holiday for greeting card sales. That didn’t happen.

I guess busy parents decided the old folks didn’t need a special day. They were right. Every day is grandparents day. We don’t require a holiday to remind us to love those grandchildren, and they honor us simply by being our legacy.

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