Aging Our Way

Lessons for living, from age 85 and beyond

Could We Really Make This Work Without Grandparents?

Grandparents Day is Sunday. Let's honor the work that grandparents do.

During a recent family vacation, the grandparents were busy as usual. They were working in the background, so their labor was mostly invisible. But their efforts made for a successful trip. Without them, I’m not sure what we (adults and kids) would have done.

 

*The rental kitchen was stocked with foods we all like (including the picky grandkids).

 

*Kids had library books to read, piles of them.

 

*Local restaurant menus were available on the counter. (Who do you imagine picked them up?)

 

*The youngest kiddos had playmates and general supervision at all times, even while slumbering.

 

*And believe it or not, the grandparents had even more to give – including compliments, hugs, and intelligent commentary at all times – even when you knew they must be exhausted.

 

Try to thank them for their efforts, and they’ll likely turn it back on you, saying they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. But this is my attempt to value that work – the work they do on a regular basis for us, their kids.

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Grandparents Day is Sunday, September 8th. So let’s honor the fact that:

 

According to the Census Bureau, growing numbers of children in the United States are living with a grandparent. In 2010, about one in 14 U.S. children (7 percent) lived in a household headed by a grandparent—for a total of 5.4 million children, up from 4.7 million in 2005.

 

Whether they live with grandchildren or not, grandparents are more involved in their grandchildrens' lives than ever before, whether they live close or far.

 

Let’s take time to acknowledge the important impact these inter-generational relationships can have.

 

Thanks to you, grandparents!

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Meika Loe, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies at Colgate University.

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