Why Grandparents Day Matters

by On September 6, 2013 in General, Holidays

Grandma-love. Photo credit: Diana Dull Akers

Grandma-love. Photo credit: Diana Dull Akers


This Sunday, September 8th is National Grandparents Day. If you’re thinking “just another commercially created holiday to sell flowers and cards,” think again.

  • Grandparents Day is a result of a grassroots effort in the 1970s by West Virginian Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, who spent much of her life working as an advocate for older adults, and sought to honor them with this day. (As a mother to 15, grandmother to 43, and great grandmother to 10, McQuade deserved to be honored as well!)
  • In 1979, President Carter proclaimed the first Sunday after Labor Day each year as National Grandparents Day.
  • The day is intended to honor grandparents, encourage families to connect across the generations, and inspire in children a greater awareness of all that older adults have to offer.

As a 53-year old mother to a six-year old, I don’t know if I’ll experience grandparenthood some day. I do know I am routinely mistaken for Hope’s grandmother out in public! That’s one reason why I love being out and about with my daughter and mother at the same time; it seems to clear up the confusion!

Making memories with Grandma.

Making memories with Grandma.

But what matters most to me is that my daughter Hope is making memories with her grandma. My 80-year old mom is there for her unconditionally, just as she’s been there for me my entire life.

My husband and I also make a point of sharing stories about our fathers with Hope. We are all sad they died before she was born. It heightens our focus on nurturing the connections between Hope and our mothers.

As we were blessed with Hope through an open adoption, we also celebrate our meaningful relationships with Hope’s birth grandparents as well.

This Sunday will find me thinking once again of my own grandparents: the Italian grandparents who taught me to love Italian operas and cuisine, and the mid-western grandparents who delighted me and my siblings with handmade ornaments, poker lessons, tins of divinity, and hours spent reading our first Golden Books.

This Sunday, why not make more memories with the grandparents in your lives, or honor their memories by doing something you loved doing together. For inspiration, check out these ideas from Grandparents.com.


Diana is a sociologist, freelance writer and mom, though rarely in that order. Her writing spans topics from parenting joys and challenges to prevention education. She writes a monthly parenting blog for Yahoo and has published feature articles on adoption, family rituals and the childcare industry for parenting publications. Diana earned her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. These days find her hanging with her husband and book-loving six year old in the San Francisco Bay Area, while happily blogging and serving as a reading advocate for Bookboard.


  1. Ken

    September 6, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I have wonderful memories of my grandparents, and am so pleased that I grew up with all of them living nearby for almost my entire childhood. I have tons of incredible memories associated with each of them. Even though they were all a part of my life right up until I left for college, I still wish I could talk to them as an adult and ask them questions, instead of just passively listening the way I used to.
    In the 70s/80s, my father set up a tape recorder and interviewed his parents (and his own grandparents) about their lives. We’ve preserved those recordings, and they are a family treasure. I need to do the same with my own parents and hopefully my in-laws, too. My three year old son is growing up with loving grandparents, but they won’t be there forever. I want him to be able to hear their voices and learn about their lives when he is old enough to want to know more. For now, the hugs and love they give him are more than enough!

    • Diana Dull Akers

      September 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      Ken, I love the idea of doing the recordings as well, and keep moving it up to the top of my to do list! I also appreciate your comment about wishing we could talk to grandparents (and for that matter, my deceased father as well) now, as adults. Imagine the conversations we would have! But we are lucky to have had time to build memories, nonetheless. Thanks for posting!

  2. Michelle

    September 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I love that my husband’s parents live right next door. My children have been very blessed…their grandparents have been a big part of their lives ever since they were born and as a result, they have a very special relationship. Now that they are older, I would like to have them sit down with them and start asking them to tell them the stories of their lives. I think its important for children to know their family history and by spending time together learning those stories will only bring them even closer together.