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Grandparents Day, a closer look

 We always get excited when our pals from Grandparents.com stop by to share what's new in the land of ... Grandparents! Today, Gary Drevitch, Editor-in-Chief of Grandparents.com is here to share a bit about Grandparents Day (which was last week, did you know that?) and how this young holiday go its start.

by Gary Drevitch

Last week was Grandparents Day, did you do anything special for your loved ones? It's a holiday that does not get a lot of attention, partly because it’s somewhat young. Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation creating the first National Grandparents Day in 1979, to recognize "the importance and worth of the 17 million grandparents in our nation." (Today, by the way, there are 70 million.)
 
Carter's declaration was the culmination of years of grassroots lobbying led not by the nation's greeting-card companies, as some might suspect, but by an Oak Hill, W.V., housewife named Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade. She had worked with senior citizens for many years and had come to conclude that too few were given the attention they deserved. She imagined the holiday as a day that would bring attention to the needs of people living in nursing homes.
 

Grandparents Day - Founder

Marian McQuade, Founder National Grandparents Day

She began her campaign in 1970, and eventually drew the attention of U.S. Senator Jennings Randolph (D-WV), who introduced a Grandparents Day resolution in Congress in 1973. When neither the House nor the Senate acted on the proposal, McQuade and her growing ranks of supporters turned to the media to bring new attention for their efforts. The pressure paid off – in 1978 Congress passed legislation declaring the first Sunday after Labor Day to be National Grandparents Day. The day was first celebrated on September 9, 1979. McQuade, the mother of 15, the grandmother of 43, and the great-grandmother of 15. passed away in September 2008, at age 91.
 
In his proclamation, Carter wrote that because grandparents "are usually free to love and guide and befriend the young without having to take daily responsibility for them, they can often reach out past pride and fear of failure and close the space between generations."
 
Today, millions of grandparents do far more than that. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2.7 million grandparents across the country have primary responsibility for raising grandchildren, and 4.9 million children live in a grandparent's home. Of children younger than 5 with a working mother, 30 percent are cared for on a regular basis by a grandparent while their mom works.

Why do they do it? Grandparents.com readers recently shared with us what they cherish about their role:

"I love being a grandparent because they love you unconditionally."
 
"The best is when that child sees you and her face lights up and she flies into your arms! It never gets old."
 
"Nothing in the world could ever match being a grandma."
 
"Every moment with her is special … She really is a gift, a gift from God."
 
"My world is a better place with my grandchildren. They give my life a purpose."
 
"The best part is hearing them say, 'I want to stay with Gramma!'"
 
"When I see the smiles on their faces and the light in their eyes, I know we're making memories."
 
"I know I'll always live in their hearts the way my grandmother still lives in mine."
 
"I get to do all the things with my grandson I never got to do as a kid."
 
Or, as Carter put it more than 30 years ago, "Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us."

Visit Grandparents.com for cards to send Grandparents, coloring pages, great quotes about grandparents, and grandparenting ideas and tips.

And we'd love to know, what do you love best about being a Grandparent or what are your best memories with your own  Grandparents?

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