Happy Grandparents Day to all grandparents out there. Hopefully, you will get to see your grandchildren today (Sunday, Sept. 13) or at least talk to them on the phone.
I feel incredibly blessed that our four children had such close relationships with my parents. As I have said many times over the years, I don’t know how I would have gotten through those years without the love, support and help of my parents.
When I was growing up, we never lived near either set of my grandparents, so I only saw them a few times a year, usually at Christmas and during the summer.
When I got a little older, I stayed with both of my grandmothers for several weeks during the summer.
Those summer weeks in Kentucky are among some of my fondest childhood memories. Being the youngest of four children, I loved feeling special and getting all of that grandmotherly attention.
Vevia, my grandmother on my dad’s side, was a prim and proper lady, who loved taking me out to lunch and dinner.
She also took me clothes shopping, but only for dresses. In fact, I don’t remember her ever wearing pants, so naturally she wanted her only granddaughter to wear proper dresses.
Vevia was a petite little lady. Every time I saw her, she remarked how much I had grown. I remember that first summer when I was taller than her, something she refused to acknowledge, saying she was still taller.
I loved her house, which was filled with beautiful furniture and antiques, all of which had a story.
One my favorite pieces was her china cabinet. Handmade from cherry wood, she told me about the father and son carpenters who had made it and most of her furniture.
The china cabinet housed fragile and beautiful china, which I begged her to let me use. I loved sipping hot tea using the delicate tea cups with their saucers.
When my parents got married, my grandparents had a giant walnut tree cut down and the carpenters crafted coffee tables, night tables and other pieces as wedding gifts.
I was thrilled when my parents gave us two of those night tables, a small coffee table and, yes, that beloved china cabinet.
I loved sleeping in the cherry wood twin bed that I needed a stool to step on to get in. Everything in her home seemed so perfect, so different from our home, which was filled with sports equipment, televisions and “modern” things.
To this day, I cannot walk past the china cabinet without thinking of my sweet grandmother and our fun times together.
My mom’s mother, Hazel, was quite different from Vevia. Unlike “mom,” which is what we called Vevia, Granny lived in the country. That meant I tossed aside any dresses Vevia gave me, and donned cutoff blue jean shorts.
I ran barefoot through the woods and swam in a genuine swimming hole. There was a beautiful waterfall, plenty of fish and frogs and lots of outdoor things to do.
Granny, a retired teacher just like my other grandmother, was also an accomplished writer, painter and potter. I loved seeing whatever she was working on, and I loved writing stories and poems for her.
At Granny’s, we never went out to eat, not that there were any restaurants around anyway. Instead, we enjoyed lots of good home-country cooking sitting around the dining room table.
The first time I had fried chicken was at Granny’s house. It was something I don’t think my mother ever cooked at home.
Everybody raved about Kentucky’s country ham. We always stocked up on that before heading home.
My mother did make a mean red-eye gravy, one of my father’s favorite accompaniments to biscuits and grits.
Granny had long, silver-white hair that she kept in a big bun on top of her head. At night, I loved watching her take it down and brush it.
My father’s father passed away before I was born, so I never knew him. My mother’s father also died when I was young, but I do remember him. He was an expert whittler, and I loved watching him take a stick and make it into various things.
Grandparents are such an important part of a child’s life. I am so happy that even though we didn’t live nearby, my parents made the effort to keep our grandparents in our lives.
If you have young children, please make sure to involve your parents in their lives. Even when you’re not around, I promise they’re busy making memories that will last a lifetime.
If you’re reading this and lucky enough to have a grandparent here on Earth, please take a minute to call them and tell them you love them.
Happy Grandparents Day!
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at email@example.com.