Did you know that Grandma's Day is Saturday (Jan. 21), and Grandpa's Day is Sunday? At least it is in Poland.
What a great weekend for some internationally inspired, intergenerational fun and a chance for children or grandchildren to spend time with their elders and to learn about each other. It also gives the grandparents the opportunity to invite the younger generations to have fun together. All the grandparent has to say is, "Did you know today is Grandma's/Grandpa's Day? How about if we spend some time together?"
Another opportunity will be National Grandparents Day, which will be on Sept. 10, 2023. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day.
A separate day for each of the grandparents began in Poland. And what a great idea. Grandma's Day and Grandpa's Day are not official holidays in the United States yet, but don't Grandma and Grandpa deserve some more love?
Meanwhile, the idea for a National Grandparents Day was first forwarded by Marian McQuade, a homemaker in West Virginia who wanted to raise awareness about loneliness among the elderly. She thought a day to recognize grandparents would help grandchildren remember to take time to visit with their older relatives and benefit from their wisdom. For those with an older loved one living in Cincinnati, here are some great ways to celebrate — even if they live in a retirement community or are recuperating in short-term rehab.
1. Family story time
Many of us have fond memories of our time with our grandmas and grandpas and of stories they’ve told us over the years. But remember, even if you spent every waking moment listening to your elderly loved one recount every detail of their life, there still would be decades’ worth of stories left.
Consider these two days an invitation to take some time to listen to your grandparents or your grandchildren. Ask questions about family members you never had a chance to meet, about places they’ve seen, or things they’ve done. Ask about their careers, the people they've worked with, and the lessons they learned.
The more questions you ask, the more you can learn. And if someone brings a digital voice recorder or uses their smartphone’s voice memo app, those stories can be preserved and passed on to future generations. Give your family’s history a voice other than your own!
2. Bring in dinner
What’s your Grandma's or Grandpa’s favorite food? If you don’t already know, re-read idea No. 1 above. But if you already know, why not make that dish or order it from their favorite restaurant to share?
Meals are excellent opportunities for discussion. And providing a meal is a wonderful gesture that shows how much you value someone.
If you're the younger generation, call your grandparent and ask if you can bring over lunch or dinner this weekend. Bring a movie or flip on the game to watch over dessert! Just your presence will show them you care. If you happen to be the grandparent, why not take the initiative and invite your grandkids over? Maybe even better — your kids and grandkids?
3. Game night
A few younger members of the family — siblings, cousins — can head over to visit and play a big family game.
Many nursing homes and continuing care retirement communities, like Cincinnati’s Marjorie P. Lee and Deupree House, and Louisville's Episcopal Church Home, offer residents and their families the opportunity to reserve meeting rooms for larger gatherings. If there are many grandkids, they can call ahead to find out if a room with tables and chairs is available.
Bring a cooler filled with drinks and snacks or a few gallons of ice cream to dish out. Take a boombox or smartphone speaker with you and play some of the older generation's favorite music.
You can make it a full family party, even if your grandparent no longer lives in their own home!
4. ANOTHER game possibility: the Bengals are playing!
Who around here doesn't love Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, Coach Zac Taylor, and the rest of the Cincinnati Bengals? As luck has it, they have a huge game this weekend! Will they beat the Buffalo Bills during Sunday's game in Buffalo? The game time is 3 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 22) on CBS.
Spending time together during the game gives grandparents an opportunity to share some of their sports memories, either as a player — of any sport — or as a spectator. The kids may not know Grandma saw Michael Jordan play or had a silky basketball shot back in the day. Or that Grandpa was captain of his high school basketball team. The game has changed since then, with the addition of three-point baskets, to name just one thing.
But back to the Bengals: Won't it be great if they win? There will be many celebrations again this year if they do, as the excitement builds, with hopes of another Super Bowl. Everyone will be involved, with bakeries concocting doughnuts like these to help fuel the fun. May the best team win, especially if it's the Bengals.
Time among generations should happen more often
Who says there needs to be a specific day to spend time with grandparents or grandchildren? Set aside some time every week or every month to head over and see what they’re up to.
It doesn’t have to be a long visit. Just 30 minutes or an hour is enough to show you love your grandparent and care about their wellbeing, and show that you greatly value their life experience.