For some grandparents, everyday is Grandparent’s Day; they don’t need a calendar to remind them. Each and every time they see their grandchild is cause for celebration. This is true for Earl Sandvigen, a local resident and grandfather who said it best, “you don’t think that you can love anyone more than your children until you have grandchildren.”
Grandchild, John Wallace believes this to be true as he explains the mutual admiration that he shares with his grandparents, “ I enjoy being around my grandparents just as much as they enjoy being around me; part of that joy is the way they make me feel whenever I’m with them.” “I will never forget the way their faces light up each time they see me.”
Newport Beach resident and former State Senator, Marian Bergeson shares her opinion about grandparenthood, “I don’t think any of us can’t relate in some way to either having grandparents or having grandchildren. ” I know for certain how important it’s been in my life and I remember visiting my grandparents as a little girl.” She recalled what a treat it was to hear their stories and history and to be able to carry on that legacy with her own children and now grandchildren
National Grandparents Day, a secular holiday has been celebrated in the United States since 1978. It was through the lobbying efforts of Marian McQuade of Oak Hill, West Virginia that the first Sunday after Labor Day of each year be proclaimed Grandparent’s Day.
The statute’s purpose is "...to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer".
While the intention is honorable, Grandparent’s Day can also be a sad day for many grandparents and grandchildren. For a grandchild, losing a grandparent as a result of death is never easy, yet it is comprehensible. They miss them but still the memories are there to somehow comfort them and help process the finality of the inevitable circle of life.
But, there is no reasonable comprehension when a grandchild and grandparent are cut off from one another as a result of family feuding, and therefore leaving no comfort to be found. For disenfranchised grandparents Grandparent’s Day dredges up far too much pain and heartbreak and may best go unacknowledged. For the grandchild, who has no voice and no choice in the matter, there is a loss of affection. Along with that there is a lost opportunity to grasp that dose of confidence a kid feels when that grandparent lights up whenever they enter a room.
Judy Wiley will always be a grandparent to Mathew and Megan even though she hasn’t seen them for six years. When her daughter was killed by a drunk driver the father took the two children out of state to begin a new life that didn’t include grandparents. Judy’s greatest heartache stems from concern about the children’s feelings of abandonment, “I wonder what they must be thinking and I’m sure they feel that I don’t care about them anymore.”
Margaret Mead was right on:
“Everyone needs to have access both to grandparents and grandchildren in order to be a full human being.”