Sunday, September 08, 2013

Happy Grandparents Day (Part I)

"The impetus for a National Grandparents Day originated with Marian McQuade, a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia. Her primary motivation was to champion the cause of lonely elderly in nursing homes. She also hoped to persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide. President Jimmy Carter, in 1978, proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day."

I find it a welcome coincidence that Grandparents Day falls on September 8th this year ... just four days after the birth of our daughter. There has been no other time during the five years that I have been a parent, that I would feel more of a need to say thank you to my parents, George and Diane Huisman, than this year.

I have now been living at their house since the 26th of July. I showed up with my three small children and took over their home. Literally. We ... took ... over. Two of their three bedrooms are now being utilized by our family. There are toys tucked into every corner. Swimming toys and attire line the entry way. There are piles of shoes and laundry and containers of apple juice and goldfish everywhere.

While both my parents work full-time, they have given up every other spare minute that they have to help our little military family come to America (sans Daddy) so that I can deliver out little girl.

By the time I got up in the morning, my Dad and Mom were already awake with one or both of the boys. Juices has been made. Granola bars passed out. Fruit cut up. Sometimes a cartoon was on. Sometimes crayons or puzzles were out.
During the work day, my mom would check on us periodically. Did I need anything? Was I okay? How could she help? She'd get home between four and five o'clock and would not even stop to sit down before jumping in and helping me. Dinner. Baths. Entertainment. You name it, she did it.    

On the weekends, the help continued. If I needed them to skip church, they would. The park. Swimming. Groceries. Meals. Laundry. Everything. Anything.

I was still battling morning sickness at the end of this pregnancy. And, with what we now know to be a ten pound baby inside me, I was far from energetic when it came to motherhood. I was lying on my parents' couch much more than I was helping.

But they didn't care. They encouraged me to rest, to lay down, and to let them do everything.

Now that baby has arrived, my Mom is probably more sleep deprived than I am. I honestly do not see her doing anything for herself. She is working or helping me. Only when I encourage her does she agree to take a nap. And then, she'll often have one of my kids with her. As I write this, she and Isaac are upstairs playing his favorite computer game with her. She is up numerous times in the night with me offering to give the baby a bottle or hold her or anything else I might need.

I have always been close with my Dad and Mom. They have always held a special place in my life. Since I have had kids, that love and appreciation has only intensified. They now have six grandchildren five and under! And they love each and every one of them immensely and whole-heartedly. My father was always a loving man. But I would have never called him a softie.

Until he became a grandparent.

Now, he is majorly soft. He is goo when it comes to these little people running everywhere around their little townhome.

Usually, I find words are easy for me, especially when I can write them. But I have struggled to find an adequate way to say thank you to my parents for opening their home and taking care of me and my children during the last seven weeks. So I'll just say ... thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Happy Grandparents Day Dad and Mom. I love you!


Anonymous said...

I didn't know today was grandparents day. What a lovely tribute Wendi-made me cry! I am so thankful we have this opportunity to do this. Too soon you'll be back in the Azores and trying to Skype is just not the same. I love those middle of the night alone times w/ Hannah Joy and I think I may be playing "the donut game' when you go back. Love that time w/ Isaac. Just so thankful for what God has done. You and JB and Keith and Ad are amazing parents. Love you so much!!! mom

Jenny said...

How wonderful! So glad for all you of you! I'm sure this was "work" your parents enjoyed doing!

Anonymous said...

well you found beautiful words cuz it made me cry! How beautiful when we live together in unity and love -it is like the oil on Aaron's beard running down --(now i have to look for that Psalm cuz that's what came to mind here!)...I can say Uncle Ed is JUST like your Dad here: My father was always a loving man. But I would have never called him a softie.

Until he became a grandparent.

Now, he is majorly soft. He is goo when it comes to these little people running everywhere around their little townhome.

I think one of the gifts of grandparenting is we get to see our parents thru our childrens' eyes -and see things we might not have known! love auntie Jan

Anonymous said...

Wendi, what an awesome tribute to your folks. I know they would do it all over again and again. They cherish this time with you and your family so much. Yes, this made me cry too! Love you! Julie