We all need something to celebrate. So, after Gokulaashtami and Vinayaka Chathurthi, Grandparents’ Day was here. Of course, the day passed us by like any other day. What after all is another day for humanity? After Lord Krishna’s grace and Ganesh Chathurthi’s warmth, Grandparents’ Day ushered in a sense of the frail nature of human beings.
For most people, being a grandparent is one thing and having a grandparent is another. I fortunately or unfortunately have experienced none of these. I never got around seeing my grandparents as their time was due before I arrived. And, I am still too young to become a grandparent myself. But I wonder, what it means to be a grandparent in today’s world?
It is no easy task mind you! While in earlier times, it was a state wherein you lavished all attention on your grandchild and almost became one yourself, today the situation is highly different. Grandparenthood is no longer a state of respite from tension or a time when you are free from all responsibilities. With nuclear families and working parents, the grandparent today has added responsibility. He/She has to baby sit the grandchild, bear with all the tantrums, run after the grandchild in spite/despite weak limbs, diabetes, heart problems and what not. A grandparent has to pick up grandchildren from school, buy vegetables, take the pet dog for a walk and so on and so forth.
I am not saying that all grandparents have these tasks entrusted on them. Many do these things with elan and with no grudges at all. In fact, many find it a great way to stay busy and occupied! Unfortunately, the reaction of all children and grandchildren is not as positive as it should be for our elderly citizens. Now, don’t mistake this article to be a write-up about Old Age Homes or Citizens’ Day (although these could invariably be related). It is just about the fact that not many seem to enjoy their grandparent state and many don’t seem to understand the value of having grandparents.
Till this date, I regret the fact that I couldn’t bask in the unconditional love of my grandparents. I feel that I have missed out on the warmth that only a grandparent can show his/her grandchild and protect them from the scoldings and beatings of a parent enabling a child (me!) to carry on with all my pranks! The closest I have come to perceiving and understanding a grandchild’s affection for a grandparent is what I see in my child when he reacts to my parents’ warmth. I did not know that my son loved my mother so very much until she passed away. For days after her demise, he would go to sleep with her housecoat and spectacles. Somehow, those inanimate possessions of my mother seemed to partly compensate her absence for my son!
We have come up with days like Grandparents’ Day but how much of happiness are we able to give back to our grandparents for what they do for us unconditionally, I do not know.
Some grandparents seem to re-live their lost dreams through their grandchildren, trying to see in them what they couldn’t see in their children. No wonder, not all are happy now-a-days with the parents insisting that they know best being the parents while the grandparents insist that they know better because they have already been parents once and so are wiser.
I suppose, like in any other relationship that needs patience, true love and understanding, grandparents, parents and (grand) children alike need to truly understand the value of grandparents.
Wishing grandparents all over the world happiness, peace and good health not just on Grandparents’ Day but every other day of the year.