Author Irma Bombeck once said, “If I knew that grandchildren would be so much fun, I would have skipped the children!” And it’s true! Ask any grandparent and they will tell you that there is nothing like the experience of being with one’s grandchildren. Of course, grandparents enjoy special benefits which parents don’t have: they often get away with spoiling their grandkids. And, after a visit, when grandma and grandpa are out of energy, they kiss their kiddies goodbye and go home. Pure pleasure!

For me, personally, life has come full circle: I was a very devoted grandson and now I have become a proud grandfather.

My maternal grandparents were one of the major influences in my life. Growing up, my mother, who suffered from cancer, was in and out of hospitals. She passed away two months before my Bar Mitzvah. As difficult as her passing was for my grandparents, they took me under their wing and I became very close to them. My grandfather was a scholar and a very gregarious, outgoing personality. He had a sharp wit, a great sense of humor, and would regale me with stories of his great teachers and life in the old country. My grandmother, in her own quiet way, was the wise power behind the throne. She made things happen and was the glue that held the family together. I was privileged to be their grandson and will always be grateful for the influence they have had in my life.

Now that I have been blessed with grandchildren, I feel one of the great gifts of living is witnessing your children becoming parents, and seeing their offspring mature before your very eyes. All of us are blessed — even if our children and grandchildren live far away — with a technology that allows us to see them as we talk to them on the phone and view their latest videos and pictures on social media. Of course, as wonderful as this technology may be, it doesn’t enable us to hug and kiss them. But as communications go, it sure beats postcards and snail mail!

As a grandfather, I am tremendously grateful to see the continuity of our family through the generations. I can only wonder what my beloved parents and grandparents would’ve thought had they had the privilege of seeing my grandchildren. It is a privilege to be that connecting link between the past and the future.

In closing, let me say that I don’t believe in Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Grandparent’s Day. No, I’m not a heretic! I simply believe that every day is Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Grandparent’ s Day. “Honor thy father and thy mother,” and “revering our elders,” are obligatory 365 days a year! So after more than 25 years as a geriatric chaplain, I offer children and grandchildren my best advice: make every day a special day in your elder’s lives — not by presents — but by your physical presence, whenever possible, or by the sound of your voice which will be music to their ears.

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