Amongst the four seasons, autumn signifies profound meanings beyond the cosy scarves and delicious pies: the season of change, preservation of life, comfort, and balance.

Autumn brings more than just a glorious view, it also portrays the tribute to the fallen leaves for their loyal services to the ecosystem. And even though warmth is still there, one can’t help but notice that the cold would start to creep in.

Perhaps it is because of these picturesque moments and the symbolism it represents that people decide to call the granny ages as ‘the autumn of your life’.

A West Virginia mother, Marian McQuade, had such high hopes back in 1979 when she successfully advocated for the establishment of National Grandparents Day.

Having lived long enough to meet her great-great-grandchild, she believed that this day should not be over-commercialised, and both the young and old should remember its fundamental meaning over superficial trappings of a celebration.

They’re the ambassador of our history

As autumn kicked in on September 1979, President Jimmy Carter bestowed us with these great words of wisdom, proclaiming this significant day:

“Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us.”

Change signifies life, and there is no life without change. As we are dedicated to documenting our pasts, our grandparents are those who live and mould the history itself.

The wrinkles in their eyes are from their tears shed to shape a better future for us. Their future has now become our present.

“Whether they are our own or surrogate grandparents who fill some of the gaps in our mobile society, our senior generation also provides our society a link to our national heritage and traditions.”

So much in the young’s life would turn pale and dull in the absence of the elders. The young would lose their compass that will guide them to reach their goal in life.

The same mistakes would likely be repeated all over again, and we would be stuck in the same circle of stagnancy, going nowhere. The steps to establish the nation’s and people’s identity would be full of hurdles and stumbles along the way.

Grandparents teach us about respect and having wisdom. They are the superhero that lived on to fight for the concept of sincere love, cherishing value, history, and appreciation beyond worldly desires.

“We all know grandparents whose values transcend passing fads and pressures, and who possess the wisdom of distilled pain and joy.”

It is from our grandparents that we learn to have faith in ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’. We realise that we would need the spark of hope and enthusiasm to reach there. We acknowledge that we would be injured by crawling there.

Upon reaching the finishing line, they brought along their lessons to us. From their laughter to their pain to the tears of happiness each one containing a lesson for us to learn about.

Paying tribute by befriending them

“Because they are usually free to love and guide and befriend the young without having to take daily responsibility for them, they can often reach out past pride and fear of failure and close the space between generations.”

In our society, the celebration of Grandparents Day is synonymous with the act of giving cards and gifts, having family get-togethers, and the story-telling session through the old photo albums.

Regardless of the activities that are practised, the underlying elements that we must never overlook that have to be there are our love for them, our appreciation towards them and our offer of companion and friendship to them.

Love the grandmothers, or fondly known as grannies. They had been through a lot especially in raising our parents. Their time was even more difficult back then, yet they managed to hold on to watch us growing up in front of their eyes. Pay them our heartiest attention and affection.

Appreciate them. Not just by giving gifts, but by listening to their great stories. By drinking from their well of wisdom. By having our young to respect them and have them as a part of their life.

Befriend them. Talk to them. Be a great listener, which more often than not, is hard for most of us to do. Maybe sometimes we forgot that they lent all their ears and cheerfully chatted with us even when we were only capable of mumbling and crying to communicate when we were little.

Lend us your strength!

Some of us are lucky enough to still have grandparents.

Cherish them while we still can, for they are our best source of inspiration. Learn from them because they are the living proof that despite what life and hardships threw at them, despite the ups and downs they had to face in their life, they persevered and now are able to witness us living our lives today.

“I look at my grandparents and what they dealt with in the Japanese internment in Arizona. That sense of perseverance, of making the best out of an incredibly bad situation, has always been something I drew inspiration from. I always ask myself, ‘What in the world do I have to complain about?’” — Scott Fujita