Sandwiched between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are Grandparents. What would we do without grandparents?
I remember a story about a young man who was very close to his grandmother.
On her deathbed, when he went in to say his goodbyes, his grandmother took his hand and told him, “I believe in you. You will be very successful one day”. This young man always remembered her prediction and went on to become successful in work, family and life. He believed what she told him and it became self-fulfilling.
Plagiarizing Jesus’ Beatitudes on the Sermon on the Mount, I offer and dedicate Beatitudes for Grandparents, celebrating grandparents and why we are so thankful to have them:
1) Blessed are the grandparents, who lovingly and joyfully come to the aid of their children and grandchildren in times of joy and in times of needs. Especially blessed are those senior parents who live some distance away, and bond with their little ones by phone, letters, e-mails, tapes and videos. The warmth from these communications lessens the distance between them.
2) Blessed are the grandparents who comfort their grandchildren in times of trouble, sorrow, disappointment, and maybe just for not making the football team or cheerleader squad. Grandparents’ comfort in caring for them gives them extra assurances of love. A kind and understanding word goes a long way, and is most special from a grandparent.
3) Blessed are the grandparents who instill confidence and self esteem to their grandchildren by appreciating and acknowledging their achievements – educationally, athletically or spiritually. Extra blessings for those grandparents who live nearby and attend school functions, class trips or school plays. Their presence lights up their grandkids’ activities. Attend a school lunch or a midget football game and watch how happy kids are that their grandparents are there!
4) Blessed are the grandparents who mentor their grandchildren with ethical issues, honesty in all things and offer themselves as examples of what kind of adults they should aspire to be. A grandparent’s fine example is better than reading a book about it. Kids emulate their parents and their grandparents.
5. Blessed are the grandparents who are patient with their grandchildren, especially if there are issues of fighting, misbehaving or argumentative displays between siblings. Especially blessed are those grandparents, who use tactics of understanding, forgiveness, and persuasion to bring calm waters to a stormy situation. Sometimes, a grandparent’s input is listened to more than a parent. A grandparent can be a great equalizer.
6. Blessed are the grandparents who act as peacemakers, not only with their own children and their family, but between grandchildren, too. It is a blessing when there is no finger pointing or taking sides or adding fuel to a fiery situation during family arguments. Grandchildren recognize grandparents ‘having some clout over their own parents’ actions; and that ‘clout’ is directed towards unity and not divided-ness.
7. Blessed are the grandparents who can overlook the young grandchild’s honest remarks about them; ie, you are old; you look fat, you look skinny, you aren’t as good on the computer as my mommy ; you walk funny; why is your hair gray? – and are serene enough to remember they are children and do not mean disrespect. Blessed are the grandparents who can make a joke or gloss over ‘truthful remarks’. Parents especially are thankful for this.
8. Blessed are the grandparents who are young in spirit and ‘play’ with their grandchildren. Kids LOVE to play and grandparents who usually have more time than their own parents to play board games, watch them on PlayStation [very boring, but kids love for Gramps or Nana to watch them] or even games you played when young. Kids love bingo, scrabble, monopoly, checkers, etc. or you can teach them card games or chess. Playing and having fun makes a strong bond between generations. Both enjoy these activities. Kids are very competitive and extra-blessings to grandparents who allow them to win sometimes.
9. Blessed are the grandparents who attend church functions with the family. Even if visiting on a trip and Nonna lives far away, going to church with the grandkids brings an extra bond in relationships. Kids listen to Grandma’s input on spiritual matters as well as others, and they will ask her questions they won’t ask other adults. She listens to them and answers them as best she can. A spiritual bond is a lasting bond.
10. Most blessed are the grandparents who show affection and love to these small people – and most find it very easy to do. The grandkids know how important Mimi and Pop-Pop are to the family unit, and how their unconditional love is the only one they will know besides their parents’. They know it and bask in it. Maybe it can be that one day these children may live with their grandparents or they with the kids or grandkids, and the love element will allow that to happen with more ease and naturalness.
There are countless ways that we are blessed with these ’surrogate parents’. Some are latch-key caretakers; some take the grandkids on vacations with them, or take them shopping which turn into memorable jaunts, or to the movies the grandparent really has no interest in going to, or simply reading and learning together. Grandparents are there for school vacations or extended visits. Grammy makes the best cookies and lets the grandkids help. Grandpa puts the miniature trains together and teaches anyone who wants to learn how to fish.
The best gift that grandparents give is the gift of themselves; they make some of our best adult memories. If we are fortunate to still have them, we are ever so thankful.
Copyright © Marie Coppola Revised November 2012