Last week, it was Grandparents Day, and seeing the heart-warming tributes shared really inspired me to write a post.
Whether you see Grandma and Grandad as biological, members of your foster family, or simply elderly neighbours whom you have adopted as your own over the years, there is no denying that grandparents are quite simply amazing.
My grandparents were such a huge part of my childhood, and I often think of them, even now. I was particularity close to my wonderful Grandma Barbara, who was a big German lady with a wicked sense of humour. Her hilariously sharp wit, impossibly kind heart and mesmerising imagination inspire me to this day.
I spent a lot of time at Grandma Barbara’s house growing up – she was always on hand to assist with school runs and summer holidays when my mum and dad were at work.
I relished my days spent at my Grandma’s. She taught me to bake, to identify different flowers and birds in the garden, and encouraged me to summon my own imagination to enhance the long days.
At Christmas, I’d sit on the rug at the foot of her chair while she enlightened me about German traditions and festive tales of her own childhood. Every December, the cupboards would be stuffed with German goodies, the tree full of intricate wooden nutcrackers and elaborate Father Christmases. I still fondly recall the tantalising smell of spice, marzipan and gingerbread that engulfed the house every winter.
My Grandma simply defined the spirit of Christmas, and adored having the whole family round. She really flourished in both her hosting and cooking skills, and in true Grandma fashion, wouldn’t sit down to her own lunch until everybody else’s plates were piled high!
Grandparents don’t ask for much – just a generous dollop of precious family time.
Grandparents are the life long best friends we know we will be eternally grateful for.
With endless patience, outstanding creativity and fierce loyalty, grandparents are our biggest supporters and cheerleaders. In the eyes of Grandma and Grandad, every victory - no matter how small - is worth celebrating.
Grandma and Grandad’s house is a welcome escape from our own if misery has come to call, and you can be assured that Grandma will be on your side, no matter what!
Our grandparents are genuinely interested in every single aspect of our days, and will listen to our rants, worries, achievements and anecdotes, offering tip-top advice and wisdom.
Stresses seem to bypass grandparents, who take everything in their stride and become the backbone of the family in times of adversity. Their solid presence and practical approach to every situation is more admirable than we realise.
I often wonder if grandparents read a special, secret manual before lovingly taking on their duties - there are certain traits that all grandparents seem to exert!
Who else’s Grandma stands on the front doorstep waving and waving as you leave their house, not retreating until you are round the corner and out of sight?
Who else’s Grandma constantly supplies them with delicious food parcels?
Who else’s Grandma delivers blunt honesty, particularly when it comes to weight gain and weight loss?!
Who else’s Grandad cracks cheesy jokes that never fail to raise a smile, even on the darkest of days?
Who else’s Grandad discretely presses a pound coin – or a five pound note if you’re lucky! – into your palm while your parents aren’t looking, and puts a finger to their lips?
Who else’s Grandad may be old, but seemingly has boundless energy every time you visit, so keen to make the most of your time together? (My Grandad would be plagued with aches and pains, but still determinedly tore around the garden after me when I was little, pushing me in the wheelbarrow, pretending to dump me into the flowerbeds… I never fully appreciated it at the time.)
Unfortunately my grandparents are long gone, however we do now live next door to a lovely older couple who have stepped up to the task of offering that unrivalled grandparental support.
When we – as anxious and stressed first time home owners – moved into our house, our wonderful new neighbours sent us a little postcard to welcome us and reassure us that they were there if we ever needed them. Since then, they have continued to provide support and random acts of kindness by bringing our bins in, or simply offering a cheery smile when we simultaneously find ourselves scrambling to bring the washing in from the rain!
Even when gone, our beloved grandparents leave everlasting traces of beautiful nostalgia in our everyday lives.
We remember them in the smell of fresh strawberries as we recall Grandma’s epic summer fruit tart recipe.
We remember them in the Christmas cracker jokes – the one’s we can almost hear Grandad roaring with laughter at.
We remember them in our happiest moments, as we picture their beams of pride.
We remember them in our times of hardship, as we search the skies for their advice.
The love of a grandparent – be it biological, fostered, adopted, or whichever way you see yours – is nothing short of an infinite blessing.
Cara Jasmine Bradley