There are now more grandparents in the U.S. than ever before. According to the latest census, there are 70 million! That’s a 24% increase since 2001. And that means a dramatic increase in hugs and chocolate chip cookies and model airplanes! Grandparent have a wonderfully unique place in the lives of their grandkids. They often have a bit more time, a bit more patience, and fewer rules than parents do. I’m incredibly grateful for the role my grandparents played in my life and I hope to do the same one day for my children.
I was one of those lucky kids who lived next door to her grandparents, not for my entire youth, but during my younger formative years. I could walk over to grandma’s house, find out what she was having for dinner, and then beg my mom to let us go over there to eat. Grandma seemed to make mac n’ cheese often and that was a favorite meal of my sister and mine. My grandmother had endless patience when it came to playing games. And she had no problem with us beating her (I think she may have planned it that way!). Grandma was just love, and good food, and patience. She would tell us great stories about her youth and growing up on the farm. One of my favorites was when she and her brother would hide in the manager and tickle the cow’s nose with straw. The cow would kick the milk bucket over as a result. Her sister was milking the cow at the time so this would cause all sort of calamity. My sister in I were in on the joke, decades removed, and we thought it was hilarious. We could envision the situation clearly from the way my grandmother described it. I loved oral stories even then; perhaps that’s why I love recording memories and stories now. Audio simply transports. I wish I could hear my grandmother’s voice today. I don’t remember what she sounded like.
My grandparents moved back to Kansas when my sister and I were in our early teens. At first they only went for part of the year and eventually they moved back altogether. This was “home” for both of them. My sister and I were consumed at this point with school,riding horses, and friends. Our “need” for our grandparents shifted. I’m incredibly grateful for those early years though. My parents were stressed trying to eke out a living but for me (largely due to my grandparents influence), growing up was all fun. I felt loved by my parents and loved by my grandparents. I was a fortunate child. I wish I could share my grandparents with my children. Sadly, only one grandmother lived long enough to meet them. If I had recorded my grandparents' stories, my children could hear from them. They might be interested, they might not, but I know I would be. I would love to hear their voices again. I would love to learn from them, to absorb their wisdom, and be entertained by their stories.
Grandparents love us like no other and yet their season with us is too brief. Save your grandparents stories and memories. Whether you record them or write them down, just capture them in some way. Take it from me, you’ll miss them incredibly when they are no longer around.
September 10th is National Grandparents Day. If you need a prompt or a reason to record your grandparents, this is it! Let them know how much you love and value them. Sit with them, listen to their stories, and record these treasured exchanges for future generations.
Here are 5 questions to get you started:
Tell me about life when you were growing up.
When you were in grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
When/how did you meet your spouse? When did you know he/she was the “one”?
What was the hardest part of raising my mom/dad?
What’s the best part of being a grandparent?
Wisdom is a gift. Save it today and share it forever.