Since 1978, the first Sunday after Labor Day has been designated National Grandparents Day. The primary intention being the recognition of the importance of seniors and the contributions they have made.
Being a grandfather many times over has proven to be every bit the joy I expected. I agree with one pundit who confessed, “If I knew being a grandparent would be this much fun, I would have had them first!” Or, as one unknown author put it, “Grandchildren: my favorite hello and my hardest goodbye.” Amen to that!
Having years ago achieved the distinctive rank of “senior citizen,” I am keenly aware that my body clock is ticking away. So every opportunity I have to enjoy these energetic, youthful progenies, I seize it with all the patriarchal gusto I can muster. I pray for my grandchildren daily. I send them gifts for every reason and sometimes no reason at all. I put together photo albums for them, I wrestle with them on the floor, tell them jokes, dress up like the Hulk on Halloween, all with the intent to provide fond memories of their Poppy…and plant seeds of faith in the fertile soil of their hearts.
My blog, TheBuddyBlog.com is first and foremost a legacy for them, a written record of their Poppy’s thoughts, observations, and musings about life and faith. There is a multitude of voices in our culture trying to influence our children, I want to be sure my voice is one they will remember and take to heart.
Sometimes I wonder if they appreciate these things. Are they too young to remember all the fun things we have done, all the life lessons I seek to pass on?
And then I get a call this past Sunday – on National Grandparents Day – from one of my daughters, who had a story to tell.
Religious Education (Sunday School) classes had begun at their church, and families were asked to sit together with their children during the class. My daughter’s three sons, ages 8,7, and 5, listened attentively as their teacher asked each family to discuss answers to a few questions.
The first question. If you could go back in time, who would you want to meet? Immediately, seeing no need for discussion, my 8-year-old grandson’s arm shot into the air. Momentarily taken aback by the enthusiastic response, the teacher acknowledged my grandson and asked who he would he like to meet? He said, without hesitation, he wanted to meet his grandmother. (She had passed away the year before he was born.)
My tears began to form as I listened without comment to my daughter’s story.
It gets better.
The next question was, who has influenced your faith more than anyone?
Again, my 8-year-old grandson told his mother that he knew the answer to this one too. He whispered his idea in the ear of his 7-year-old brother, who nodded his head and, in turn, whispered the same to his 5-year-old brother, who likewise agreed.
When the teacher asked for responses, these three brothers, in one synchronized movement, shot their hands into the air. Again catching the teacher by surprise, she smiled at their youthful exuberance and turned her attention to the 5-year-old. “So who has influenced your faith the most.” He shouted, “My Poppy!” When the teacher asked how his Poppy has influenced him, my 5-year-old grandson paused only briefly before stating, “Well, that’s what my brothers are going to say.”
Maintaining her composure, the teacher turned to the seven-year-old. With a nod, he explained, “Our Poppy buys us books.” His older brother quickly added, “And our Poppy teaches us to pray.”
By now, my tears had fully formed, and my words were mere mumblings of wonder. Praise the Lord for spellchecker. Even as I type this, the page is getting a little blurry.
There are no words to describe my response. I cannot imagine any grandparent who had a better Grandparent’s Day.
I went to bed that night, giving thanks yet again for God’s gift of grandchildren. Praying that their memories of their Poppy will be as a grandfather who
- Taught them lessons of love and kindness
- Had a keen sense of humor
- Made the best grilled cheese sandwiches, pancakes, and smash-burgers
- Gave the best hugs in the world
- Passed on a passion for reading
- Was willing to dress up as the Hulk or Obi-Wan Kenobi on Halloween
- Always had the best candy in the candy jar waiting for their visit
- Was not afraid to cry but strong enough to bear the burdens of others
- Loved to wrestle his grands
- Told the best stories
- Was their biggest fan
- Was a non-judgmental listener
- Loved the Lord and, of course…
- Taught his grandchildren to pray
Why be that kind of Poppy? Because I want every day in heaven to be Grandparents Day.
Note: Picture provided by Johan Mouchet at unsplash.com