Today is National Grandparents Day!

Many people assume that Grandparents Day resulted from lobbying by florists, greeting card companies and similar businesses. This could not be farther from the truth. Grandparents Day is a day for celebrating the connections between the generations, and its origin was decidedly noncommercial. The holiday has remained fairly true to its roots. Susan Adcox, writer for “The Spruce” tells us that the roots of Grandparents Day go back to 1956 and a West Virginia mother named Marian McQuade.

While helping to organize a community celebration for those over 80, Mrs. McQuade became aware of the many nursing home residents who were forgotten by their families. She wanted a holiday to bring attention to these forgotten individuals and to honor all grandparents. In 1973 West Virginia became the first state to have such a day.

McQuade and others then shifted their efforts to the national level, achieving success in 1978. National Grandparents Day was finally signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, A presidential proclamation on September 6, 1979, made this day official – it designated Sunday, September 9, 1979, (being the “first Sunday of September following Labor Day”) as National Grandparents Day. Marian McQuade received a phone call from the White House to advise her of this event. Grandparents Day is a real national holiday or observance, celebrated each year on the first Sunday after Labor Day, although not classified as a federal holiday.

The official flower for National Grandparents Day is, appropriately, the “forget-me-not” flower.

Maybe the reason that Grandparents Day has escaped commercial exploitation is holiday burnout. Busy parents simply don't have room on their calendars – and in their brains – for another holiday. If that is the case, grandparents still shouldn't let the occasion go by unnoticed. Most of the younger generation will be happy to participate if they don't have to plan. Remember, one of the purposes of the holiday is to give grandparents a chance to show their love for their grandchildren.

If it doesn't work out for you to see your grandchildren, Grandparents Day is a great excuse for you to phone themtext themFaceTime or Skype with them, or even write them an old-fashioned letter.

Maybe you have a neighbor whose grandchildren don’t live nearby, or grandchildren in the neighborhood who don’t have grandparents nearby. You don’t have to be related to honor a grandparent or grandchildren.  Who doesn’t need another grandma?! Since you are reading this on National Grandparents Day, you don’t have a lot of time to make a plan. Look out your window, down the street. Maybe you noticed someone in church this morning who could use a little celebration. Take a few minutes of your time to honor a grandparent or a grandchild. You will be glad you did. Hmmm, I just gave myself an idea…Happy Grandparents’ Day, Mrs. P.