By: Gabriela Gerhart

A very special day is quickly approaching … Grandparents Day, which falls on Sunday, Sept. 9, this year!

It’s a day to honor grandmas and grandpas, nanas and pops, mimis and papas and the many other names used to signify a grandparent. Grandparents are often huge role models in a child’s life – I know they were in mine. The older I get, the more I see and feel their influence on my life.

Reflecting back on the memories, I appreciate every moment I spent with my grandparents, from looking through old photo albums to learning how to knit and needlepoint. I grew up in the Czech Republic and spent many summers at my grandmother’s home in the countryside.

I remember walking with her to pick blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. She would show me how to make these wonderful berries into jam. I still tear up when thinking of my grandpa, who passed away when I was in my early teens. He was such a special man, so kind and caring. He always brought me a chocolate bar (which I actually did not like, but he did not know this!). I was still happy when he handed me the candy though because it was a special treat from him… just for me!

I’ve also had the pleasure to meet many grandparents in the 18 years since founding Motherhood Center. Several grandparents play a very active role at MHC, participating in classes and coming in for special events. Many other grandparents only come in every now and then, when they are visiting their family from out of town. These grandparents have expressed their thanks time and again for offering a safe haven for their son or daughter to make the transition into parenthood. In many ways, MHC acts as a surrogate grandparent for these families because grandparents who live out of town are able to offer support to their families by hiring a nanny or babysitter through Motherhood Center.

Motherhood Center offers a Grandparents Refresher Newborn Care Class, to bring expectant grandparents up-to-date on the latest research and changes related to childcare. This class covers topics such as putting a child to sleep on his or her back instead of stomach and when to introduce solids to an infant. This class has been so popular; it has been full or nearly full every time we’ve offered it!

Grandparents Day is the perfect time to celebrate together as a family. You can go through old photo albums and have grandparents tell stories of generations past. Young children will delight in learning about how grandma or grandpa grew up! Or grandparents can show their grandchildren a special hobby or skill, such as painting or gardening, so they can pass these skills and traditions along to the next generation.

For some, Grandparents Day is sorrowful, as they remember grandparents who have long since passed from this Earth. I think a great way to honor their memory is to visit a nursing home. Spreading some love to people living in a nursing home will not only brighten their day, but you’ll set a good example for your children and all of you will create new memories to cherish for years to come.

How do you celebrate Grandparents Day? Please share your ideas on our Facebook page! We’d love to hear from you!