With Grandparents Day coming up on Sunday, Sept. 7th, Huff/Post 50 decided to take a moment to celebrate the incredible contributions grandparents have made to our lives. We asked you to tell us about your own grandparents -- and your own grandchildren. We were inundated with inspiring stories. Featured below are just 12 amazing grandparents. On Thursday, we shared with you stories of how our own grandparents impacted our lives. From what we've seen, grandparents aren't ready for the sidelines. They want to be active, engaged, involved and appreciated. Happy Grandparents Day everyone!
Richard Hahn, grandfather of Abby, Caden and Lily
"I started reading to my first grandchild, Abby, not too long after she was born, and continued doing so until she started devouring chapter books on her own. Around the time she turned four, technology allowed us to continue bonding through books as we read together once a week via Skype, the video computer hookup. My wife and I would buy two copies of illustrated classics and new releases or scoured the library for a duplicate. Abby would have one copy in Pittsburgh and I would read from another in Youngstown, Ohio. We would turn the pages together. She would ask me what certain words meant. She would comment on the story line or how 'pretty', 'handsome', 'scary', or 'brave' the characters were. We’d finish each story by looking into the camera and saying together 'Theeeee end.' We did this until she was around 6. And, boy, do I miss it. That the act of reading together, whether she was sitting on my lap or 65 miles away, created a special bond that I will always cherish, and one, I believe, she will as well. Now, even at 9 years of age, she still likes to jump up on my lap and read silently to herself. I just smile because I know I’ve helped nurture her love of reading, learning and imagining. I hope one day as she starts reading to her own children -- and grandchildren -- she will whisper to them, 'I remember when my Buddy read to me just like this'."
Theresa Wiza, grandmother of 17 grandchildren
"With so many grandchildren (17 of them), ranging in age from less than 1 to nearly 27 years old, I enjoy doing anything and everything with them. Just cuddling the babies and talking to them, having picnics (indoor or outdoor) with the toddlers, taking walks to the park, reading books, and talking to the older ones about things that matter to them. WHAT we do doesn’t matter -– THAT we spend time together does. Sadly, only three of my grandkids live close to me, but with phones and Skype and lots of birthday parties spread out throughout the year, we have plenty of times to connect. What I want for my grandchildren is for them to find their own personal joy in doing whatever brings them fulfillment. I want them to be compassionate and caring (they already are) and to use their various creative gifts to better their own lives and the lives of everyone around them. Above all, I want them to know that they are truly loved AND lovable. My dream was to get all of them together in one place at the same time and, as you can see by the photo included, that’s exactly what happened! My two great-granddaughters celebrated their birthdays and I gathered all of them together with me to take this photo. I feel so blessed to part of all of their lives."
Angela Moragne, grandmother of Angell, Gabriel, DJ and Wade
"What I enjoy doing most with my fellas is working on our business. We own a small salsa company which specializes in salsa and chips. We do this to eliminate food deserts. This year we started our own plots, gardens and donations to families. Nothing huge but we did it. We not only plant, grow but also harvest our products. The boys -- Angell who is 11, Gabriel, 9, DJ 4, Wade 2 -- all help out in one way or the other. Angell is shy but fakes it so much folks think he is outgoing. He is a sports fanatic and my name sake. Gabriel is laid back and cool as a breeze on a hot summer nite. He loves to help me paint my fixer upper which is always needing more work They are brothers. DJ is a card and LOVES to TALK and READ! Too smart for any age. Wade mostly eats all the tomatoes straight from the plant -- he loves them! What I want to impart on my four boys is to always honor yourself first. For in honoring you, it is much simpler to honor others. I tell them, 'Life is not that complicated so why try to complicate it?'"
Linda McKenney, grandmother of seven grandchildren
"We have seven grandchildren (the five middle ages are in the photo) ranging in age 21 to 2. If I could do only one thing for them, it would be to help them be strong in spirit and and make their way with kindness and compassion. Keeping that in mind helps me to do the same because I believe children are watching and they will learn more from what they see you do rather than from your words. We talk about good Karma, tolerance, acceptance and keeping your word. I am only one piece in the 'raising the child' puzzle, but I will try my best to be the nurturing kind of influence my grandfather was for me. And I listen to them, for they are wonderful teachers as well and keep me in a learning frame of mind. For example, once when we were hiking my grandson (who was 5 at the time), said he would lead because the one with the best sense of humor should be the leader. You don't get advice much better than that!"
Melinda Green, grandmother of Ian, Sean, Heather, Joey and Holden
"I was a young grandma......Now that my grandchildren are all teenagers, my favorite thing to do with each of them is to talk. I try to share with them my knowledge of situations and outcomes, good & bad. Three of them are in high school, and two are in middle school, so I try to discuss pertinent matters. Drugs, sex, bullying, all things that were around when I was younger, but not as prevalent, are in our casual discussions. Since I have a wonderful rapport with them and have been there for them since birth, I am hoping they will consider what I have to say as my way of saying I really love them and only want the best for them. I would lay down my life for these kids."
Risa Nye, grandmother of Madeleine, Fenton and Ezra
"I have three grandchildren as of today. (A fourth is on the way and will be here soon.) I love reading to my grandchildren and can’t think of anything more delicious than snuggling up with a book and a baby. I love to get them to sing with me. The two older ones like to sing 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little R' because of the necklace I wear that has my first name initial on it. It began as a joke with my granddaughter when she was around two years old. Now we give that 'R' a pirate trill, so it’s more like 'Arrrrrrrrrrrrr!' I love making my grandchildren laugh. A child's giggle is a joyful sound I can't get enough of. Sometimes we dance or make funny noises or fall down. We have our own 'in jokes,' and as they grow older, I hope that will continue. If I can impart any lessons, I hope they would have to do with seeing the humor in everyday situations, but knowing that sometimes we have to be serious. I would also hope that they learn to love books as much as I do, because reading allows us to imagine, to learn, to laugh, and to keep a sense of wonder about the world."
Sherlene Lucas, grandmother of Rashoad Crosson Jr.
"I love my role as a first-time grandma to a smart currently 2-year-old grandson Rashoad Crosson Jr., RJ for short. My grandson is so awesome. We've created space for a book/playdate at the local library for him or anyone in the area who wants to come and share an hour on a Sunday afternoon. We review picture books and do other small activities. He loves the library. Our other special moments are at Chuck E. Cheese. RJ is very entertained by the activities and rides. I believe we grandparents should be a part of formulating stability in their lives. It give them some stepping stones to a brighter future. We are there to share stories and be a part of their growth and development."
Charles Ray, grandfather of Samantha and Catherine
"After 20 years in the U.S. Army and 30 years as a diplomat, being transferred to a different location in the world about every two to three years, I’d come to think that I’d never be a good grandfather. I remember my own grandmother, who served as something of an anchor for the family, never very far away. Even though I retired from government service in 2012, with consulting jobs and public speaking engagements, I’m on the road almost as much as I was during my ‘active’ years. Not exactly the picture of your average grandfather –- something I swore I’d never be. Well, in 2011, my first granddaughter, Samantha was born, and Catherine came along in 2013, and the three of us have been on a voyage of discovery ever since. I’ve learned that it’s not the amount of time you spend with children that counts, but the quality of that time. My own grandmother taught me and helped set me on the course I took, and I’ve resolved to do the same
with my young’uns. I want them to grow up with self-confidence, but without arrogance; with courage, but without foolhardiness; and with the capacity to love without becoming obsessed with anything or anyone. I want them to grow up refusing to let their gender restrict them. They will learn from me to take risks; to fall down, but to always get back up. Most of all, I want to teach them to leave the world a better place."
Suzanne McLain Rosenwasser, grandmother of Edie Rose
"My granddaughter has said her first word recently, and it’s: 'Hi!' Is that a terrific first word or what? She says it to everybody and everything. 'Hi!' she says to the lady quietly approaching her cart in the grocery store. 'Hi!' she says to the dog walking toward us on a leash and 'Hi!' to the dog’s owner, as he passes by. 'Hi!' to the scarecrow on our neighbor’s lawn and 'Hi!' to the creepy ghosts flying from the tree branches. The baby hears a bird and points up to the tree: 'Hi!' she calls, and 'HI!' to the postal lady driving by in the truck and 'Hi!' to Sr. Salvador who tips his hat while mowing a lawn. They all say 'Hi!' back in their own way, even the ghostly sheets appear to blow more strongly in the breeze. And it may be just a simple 'Hi!' but I’ve seen it make the day of perfect strangers over and over again. An elderly couple exited a building, assisted by walkers the other day. Hearing this chirpy 'Hi!', they stopped in their tracks. 'Well, hello, little one,' the lady said. 'How nice to hear such a sweet hello. And with a cheery smile too? Oh my goodness, how lucky I am.' I’ve said every month -- 'Oh she’s cuter than she’s ever been...' but this month -- this tenth month -- has to be the one that tops the others. If she gets any sweeter, I will melt. I am grandmother, hear me gush. Those smiles. That laugh. Those arms reaching out to me. That sloppy wet kiss and the instant, down dog that interrupts even the most serious oatmeal box play. We are such open spirits when we’re new...when our words are new and the world is new to our new grandparents who see their own children anew with each and every 'Hi!' What is it, I wonder -- this wonderful oneness with all -- and where, oh where does it go?"
Zoe Vaughn, grandmother of two grandchildren
"Although I am not yet 50, I have been a grandmother for more than 8 years. I just this spring became a gramma of two, with the birth of my little granddaughter, joining her big brother, my precious boyo, whom I raised as primary caregiver until just this past winter. One thing that I dearly love to do with my grandson (and soon his sister) is to take him out to all-ages shows of a Grateful Dead tribute band that I see often. The musicians are stellar, and my very dear friends. The littles are fourth generation alternative folk, with a great-gramma who was a Greenwich Village and Haight-Ashbury dweller, a gramma who was an ‘80s Deadhead, and parents who were 21st century hobos, riding freight trains across the country. When I have my grandson at a gig, piggy-back on my hips, dancing to the music of our tribe, I feel such tremendous cultural transmission. And, being the eldest of five myself, I realize that he is the third generation that I have danced with. My own younger siblings, my own children, and now my grandchildren share this culture, this family, this tribe. It flows in everything we are; the art on our walls, the summer activities in which we participate, the music flowing from whatever device is currently at hand. This generational transmission is, for me, the quintessential grandparenting legacy. This is who I am, who we are. Welcome to your world, kiddos."
Lynn Eberlelynn, grandmother of Jack
"My two-year-old grandson, Jack, is the light of my life. He is my beacon of hope, my inspiration to make the world a kinder place, and the cutest little man on the planet! Two years ago, I struggled with how I would tell my only child and his beautiful pregnant wife about my breast cancer diagnosis. Our family was so happy and thrilled to be expecting a little baby to enter our lives! I felt so bad about breaking my devastating news. Shortly after my surgery, Jack came into the world... Six weeks premature. There was our little guy in the hospital's NICU, all hooked up to monitors, tiny and vulnerable. The very first time I laid my eyes on Jack, I was so completely overwhelmed with love, that it made my heart burst with joy. On that day, everything about me changed. Fear was replaced by determination and sheer grit to get well, and to stay well. This little baby boy was fighting his own little battle like a warrior, and I took his lead and never looked back! Peace, love, joy, family, friends...and one sweet little smile on this boy's face all make me fall to my knees in gratitude. I love to take Jack exploring on lovely walks and playground trips! He loves to hear my stories, and eat my cookies. He loves my dog, Waffles, and likes to drop her treats from his high chair. We water the garden together, we sing and read books, and best of all... We share that fighter's spirit. Here we are, world! I'm going to help teach Jack that kindness matters, and that the best things in life are not things. Jack calls me 'Rah-Rah.' I guess the name fits, because I am his adoring fan, his cheerleader, and by the grace of God, his grandmother. Good news, Jack's going to be a big brother! Life is good!"
Jeannie Suppa, grandmother of Estelle and Cole
"I am a Grandmother of two. Estelle, who is 5 and just started kindergarten, and my two-year-old grandson Cole. I watched them both every Monday this past year, and will continue to babysit Cole. This came about after my grandchildren's paternal Grandmother Char, who lived closed to my daughter and her son, was diagnosed with terminal stage 4 pancreatic cancer in November 2013. Char sadly lost her battle on April 18, 2014, just six months later. This was extremely heartbreaking for everyone, especially Estelle. I always imagined they would grow up with both their Grandmothers until adulthood, as I did. Char was an incredible hands on Grandmother and she loved and adored them as much as I do. I made a promise to myself to keep their Grandma Char alive, so just a few days after her funeral, with the help of my new husband,( yes, I am a newlywed after 31 years single ) the kids planted a pear tree in our back yard in her memory. Estelle was so excited just last week to see how much Grandma's pear tree had grown! We, also, along with friends and family, walked for Hospice Buffalo, New York on May 18, 2014, in honor of Char, thanks to their loving paternal Grandfather who put "TEAM CHAR" together in less than two weeks! Joe and I also made sure my grandchildren were part of our wedding day,and boy were they ever! They BOTH danced the night away and I could not have been happier or more proud of them.. So what if they stole the show!! I will ALWAYS encourage them to be kind to people, never judge people carelessly or without cause, carry confidence and inspire them to give to those less fortunate, as this is something I do often and truly believe in! I also hope that they will remember me as a super fun "glama" who never liked to act her age!!"