Written by our Founder and CEO, our Celebrations Pulse Sunday Letters aim to engage with our community. From sharing stories to welcoming your ideas, we want to help you to express, connect, and celebrate the important people in your life.
Ask anyone to pick their favorite foods, and many will choose pizza and ice cream. Ask them to pick their favorite people, and grandparents will likely top the list. For us, ice cream and pizza are strongly tied to grandparenting.
Our paternal grandmother lovingly pre-scooped ice cream for all her grandchildren. When we went to friends’ homes, we noticed that most people would just bring the tubs out for everyone to serve themselves. But our grandma had a different approach. She carefully placed the ice-cream in bowls and then put them out on the table for all the kids. That usually precipitated a mad grab among her grandchildren, who were all attempting to score the biggest and most rounded scoops.
Grandkids creating pizza – and memories
And, while not doling out scoops, Jim has gone the slice route and found a rather clever way to get his grandkids to help cook. Utilizing one of the family’s favorite new gadgets, a pizza oven, Jim assigns each grandchild a role in preparing the pizza. The “pizza brigade” is a great way for the kids to learn to work as a team.
The popularity of the pizza oven had to take a backseat to Jim recently when he gathered the family together to celebrate a recent milestone birthday (yes, you guessed correctly, 40). The gathering marked one of his proudest moments as he and his wife had all their kids and grandchildren together. Jim felt exceptionally proud of the fact that all his children are themselves great parents, which was very evident to him during his birthday celebration.
Spending quality time and connecting with grandkids
Both of us are now grandparents, and it’s one of the most important roles of our lives. Being a grandparent is a great blessing bestowed on us. Chris also likes to point out that while we often focus on the joys and freedom of being a grandparent, we cannot forget that we also play an important function as the elders in our families, lending advice and support when needed.
The situation and location of a family help define how active grandparents are in the lives of their grandkids. Some grandparents act as caregivers for the younger children while the parents work. Others, because of distance, are grandparents from afar. They keep tabs on their grandkids through Facebook and Instagram posts, frequent FaceTime or Zoom calls, or highly anticipated visits around the holidays.
Our friends at Cheryl’s recently posted a story about the benefits of kids and grandkids spending quality time together. The article included comments from Ruth Nemzoff, Ed.D., a resident scholar at Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center and a grandmother of 11.
She said the pandemic allowed her, and others like her, to focus on keeping in touch. “I had time to read the books [my grandkids] were reading and then to discuss them with them.” She even took one of her grandsons on a virtual walk, describing and discussing nature with him via FaceTime.
If you are lucky enough to be near your grandkids, the article offers tips about how to spend more quality time with them, including exploring their interests, playing games together, and taking field trips. Jim feels that making pizza together should have probably made that list.
Grandparenting with love and memories
Chris has been reflecting on his role as grandfather:
“Whatever our role, we must never lose sight of the most important aspects of grandparenting, to love, and to show love, and to share with our grandchildren all of the wisdom we have accumulated through our lifetime of experiences.”
Honoring our Grandparents this Grandparents Day
As we get older and start to lose our grandparents, we recall them fondly and the life lessons they taught us. On Grandparents Day, it’s important to remember them and all the memories they gave us, and, if you’re a grandparent now, aim to provide meaningful memories for your grandkids to remember you too.
If you are lucky enough to have your grandparents, be sure to reach out to them on Sept. 12 to celebrate Grandparents Day. Some ideas:
You have the most important power to make their day!
Some of us who are older may remember a grandmother who made the best homemade pies, or a grandfather who got up at the crack of dawn to make flapjacks, or grandparents who took great joy and satisfaction in watching their grandkids devour the food in front of them.
Happy Grandparents Day!
All the best,
Chris and Jim