National Grandparents Day is September 09, 2012, a day for us to honor grandparents. These are the folks who make our homes, our communities, our neighborhoods and our families special. Like so many things in life, the thing about grandparents is they come in all shapes and sizes. Some we are related to, and some we choose. For most of us they hold a special place in our hearts. I think you will agree there is a certain kind of magic that keeps the grand in grandparenting.

Grandparents are the memory makers.  Grandparents are the legacy providers. There are more grandparents today than ever before. The Graying of America is more than the title of a book or a popular current research study; it’s the current demographic trend in the United States.  The number of children being raised in grandparent–headed households is also rising. This creates challenges but also opportunity.

My own grandparents lived far away. I missed out on the luxury of getting to know them well. My grandfathers on both sides died when I was quite young. I only got to know my grandmothers during occasional cross-country visits, photo albums and stories told by my parents.

I have fond memories of my mother fixing care packages for my grandmothers at Christmas each year. She gathered a selection of items that would bring smiles, make life a little easier and bring comfort. Many times these were items that we made. It was the special care that my mom took in packing these boxes that I will always remember. It was the time she took to make them, to pack them with care, to decorate and wrap them. It was the time she spent that made them so special.

Even though I didn’t have a strong grandparent influence I was fortunate to have many stand-in or pseudo grandparents, friends, neighbors and other older relatives who provided many lasting memories. On the street where I grew up we were surrounded by older neighbors; neighbors who lived there for 30 + years; neighbors who were like grandparents. They were always watchful, always there to listen to us kids, to share the voice of wisdom, and appreciate the young adults we grew up to be. These are the grandparents we chose.

My husband and I have not been blessed with kids; however, we are of the age where our friend’s kids as well as our nieces and nephews are having kids. We are now the ones taking on that role of pseudo grandparent. You can love them, spoil them, laugh with them, teach them and then send them home. Grandparents are a source of comfort in a time when the world may seem like it’s spinning out of control. Let’s take a minute to honor them and appreciate them.

For Grand families:

 Whatever type of grandparent you have, the ones you inherit or the ones you choose take action, do something grand to honor them. Do something grand in your homes or in your communities as a way of giving thanks and staying engaged with those who have given us so much.

For Grandparents:

Grand parenting seems like it should come naturally but that isn’t always the case. It’s much easier when they are babies. Most of us are pretty comfortable with cuddling and hugging. However sometimes it can be difficult to know the best way to engage with them as they become older. In some families it’s more about dealing with the parents and their rules and preferences that makes managing those family dynamics more complicated. Click here for ideas to help you with your grand-parenting skills.

Legacy planning is a big part of what we look to grandparents for. Be sure to check out our recent post on Legacy Planning.



About Mary Jo Lyons

Mary Jo Lyons, CFP® is a registered assitant with extensive expertise in designing financial strategies to help clients achieve their financial goals. Have a financial question? ASK MARY JO!


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