Until a few months ago, I didn’t even know that Grandparents Day (September 10th) was an actual holiday. I thought it was a made-up school event, like Back-to-School Night for parents. Apparently, it was founded by Marian McQuade, a woman who had 15 children and 40 grandchildren. Kudos to her, that’s a lot of births.
This year is different because I now have my own kid. As a new parent, I’ve found myself learning about all sorts of holidays and events I never knew existed.
A little over a year ago, my husband and I moved to Durham, North Carolina to be closer to his parents. To be honest, I was nervous about it. It’s not that I didn’t love them, because I did. And it’s not that I didn’t think it was a smart idea with our baby on the way, because I did. I was just worried that seeing them so often would be a bit…much. I barely knew my own grandparents, so I really had no idea what this type of relationship could look like it. I was worried that it would feel invasive to have them around so much at a time when Nick and I would still be trying to navigate our new roles as parents.
The good news is that it’s been incredible. My in-laws have stepped up to help us and their grandson in so many amazing ways. My mother-in-law stayed with us the entire week after James was born because I was on bedrest. When daycare fell through, she watched him for a month and has continued to watch him once a week “just because.” My father-in-law has come down to go to doctor’s appointments with us and has built special toys for his grandson.
Every night on our way upstairs to get ready for bed, we walk by a photo of Nick’s parents, and every night without fail, James points to the photo and his eyes just light up with recognition and love.
It’s as if he’s saying “I know those people! They’re MY people!”
When I think about the future, there are so many things I can’t wait to see them do together. Visit the North Carolina State Fair so James can hear about his grandparent’s hobby farm where they used to raise chickens, horses, and a cow. Explore the gardens at the Biltmore Estate where his grandmother will probably be able to name every plant in the whole place. Play pickle ball, because this apparently is the new big thing at their senior recreation center.
Make Grandparents Day Special With a “Familiar Faces Basket” & Few More Activities
The only thing that has been hard is that my parents live across the country in Seattle. I know for a fact that they’re jealous that James knows his paternal grandparents. I was thinking about this the other day and decided that one of the best things I can do to bridge this divide is to make sure that James sees their pictures are much as possible. I found this idea for a “Familiar Faces Basket” on one of my favorite Montessori blogs and have added it to my to-do list for this weekend (as if I needed something else to-do). I know how much it will mean to my mom when James clearly recognizes her and calls her by name. Here are few more Grandparent’s Day activities on the Raleigh Moms Blog Pinterest board that your family can enjoy, too.
One of the best parts of parenthood is getting to watch my son have experiences that I wish I’d had. So this year, I’ll be reflecting on how lucky he is to have his grandparents in his life.