If you are a parent in America, chances are your parents--now repossessed by some small people and turned into grandparents--have been helpful this year. I know mine have been, amazingly so. When I'm done with this post, I'm going to call them, ask them to drive a 7-hour round-trip to take my son for four days (I know they'll say yes), and say Thank You, and Happy National Grandparents Day (Sept 9th).
This, fellow parents, is an important holiday. Below, we asked some Yahoo Contributors to write open letters to the life-saving, dearly loved grandparents in their family. This year, it's especially important, because US Census data and a study released last week by the University of Chicago show that, since times are tight, american grandparents are pitching in more than ever. The 2010 Census found that 2.7 million American grandparents are full-time caregivers for grandchildren, up from 2.4 million in 2006. And the University of Chicago study, based on a decade of data from interviews with 13,614 grandparents ages 50 and older, found that 61 percent of grandparents help out with the childcare, spending at least 50 hours a year or more. Another study, done in April for the MetLife Mature Market Institute, found that 74 percent of grandparents surveyed online baby-sat or provided care weekly.
Here's what some of our contributor network of moms and dads had to say to their moms and dads. Enjoy, and tell us about your family's story in the comments!
"I just want to say thank you for being the best grandparents ever and I hope that when my turn to be called grandma comes I live up to your shining example of what a grandparent should be. I love you! Happy Grandparent's Day!" Read the whole Thank You letter by Danielle Crofford Fetters.
"My mother took care of the twins with my niece while I went back to work…. I never had to know the pain of leaving two babies in the hands of others. I also could afford to manage with her help. The cost of day care for two babies under the age of 6 months was too expensive to imagine." Read the whole Thank You letter by "Forever Grateful" Giogia Degenaars.
"Mama, saying "thanks" seems pretty inadequate. So I'll paraphrase from one of your favorite movies--"I will write across the sky in letters 100 feet tall--To Gaga, With Love." Read the whole Thank You letter by Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben.
"Years back, I watched you step so perfectly into the role of Grandma as my sister had her two wonderful children, now 18 and 21. Who knew that two decades later, both my brother and I would become later-life parents, adopting three amazing babies between the two families. Suddenly, we were the ones racing to the "red-alert" Grandma phone to cry: "help!"". Read the whole Thank You, by Maya Hope's Mom.
"I don't know how well you understand that I would not have made it through the last twenty-five (25) years without you. So, here it goes, thank you from the bottom of my heart, and the tip of my soul! I love you both so very much. So much that words really cannot adequately express the love I have for the both of you!" Read the whole Thank You, by Bonnie Mackenzie.
"Last week we both bade farewell to the youngest of my four children as she left to attend college many hours away. It has been a long and interesting journey raising my four children, and it was a journey that would have been impossible without your help." Read the whole Thank You, by Lyn Brooks.
"I have watched as you have developed a close bond with my kids and it has meant the world to me. When I got divorced, you both stepped in to help with childcare and fill in emotional gaps to make that difficult time as easy as possible for your grandchildren." Read the whole Thank You, by Tammy Lee Morris.
"When my kids' dad left me caring for two very young children, you stepped up to give me a hand. Rather than allowing me to stay in my own home and struggle at a 9 to 5 job, barely making ends meet, you talked me into moving in with you. Having a place to stay where I did not have to worry about outrageous bills, I was finally able to sit back and take out time to go to college, where I should have been." Read the whole Thank You, by Caradwyn Cooper.