Grandparents are awesome and necessary and maybe even crucial to evolution

My son is lucky enough to have three sets of grandparents, and they all love him immeasurably. He has individual names for all of them (Grandma & Grandpa, Nana & GrandBob, Pap-Pap and Anya), and he relishes his time with each of them. He talks to them on the phone, sees them in person whenever possible and looks at pictures of them as I tell him stories. We talk often about how important they are in his life.

And it looks like grandparents are becoming more important in a lot of lives. According to the AARP, across the United States, nearly 7.8 million children are living in homes with grandparents present, 4.9 million live in grandparent-headed households, and 2.6 million live in homes where the grandparents say they are the primary caregivers. Obviously, the recession saw a lot more combined families and the need to fall back on grandparents as a safety net. So we are all incredibly lucky that grandparents today are living l...

But even those of us who are not living with a grandparent can take a moment to appreciate them for the role they play in our children's lives. When I first had my son, I used to admonish my mother for spoiling him. After reading The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruice Feiler, however, I learned that spoiling grandchildren is what she is supposed to do (and wow, is she good at it!) I save her and myself a lot of stress by implementing a "Nana's house, Nana's rules" attitude when we visit her.

Grandparents are special. (Evidence even suggests that grandmothers were even a crucial step t....) Let's celebrate them, appreciate them and love them for who they are - whether they are a hands-on grandparent who hides treasures in the backyard or a natural born teacher who wants to waltz with their grandchild. Thanks for being there for all of us! Also: What do you guys want for Christmas?

What do you love about your child's relationship with their grandparents? Join the conversation here.

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Tags: grandparents, parenting

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