Get A Grip: Thankful for having "special" grandparents

As I delivered my sleepy baby into the waiting arms of her grandmother yesterday morning at 5 a.m., I reflected on just how lucky we all are to have one another.

How fortunate for me that one of Sophie's grandmothers lives just a few miles away and is always happy to help take care of my little girl.

And how fortunate for Sophie that she is so well loved and so well taken care of.

As I drove to work, I thought about how much harder it would be for me to have to take Sophie to a busy day care center and deliver her into the arms of an institution rather than into the warm curve of her grandmother's embrace.

On normal days Sophie spends the day at an in-home day care where she is loved and nurtured.

But the extra help her grandmother gives makes all our lives richer.

Later, at work, I put a photo in the paper taken during grandparents' day last week at Hualapai Elementary School.

The school invited students' grandparents to come visit and students wrote about special moments that they remember sharing with their grandparents.

The school should be commended for providing such a beautiful program.

It's easy for kids to take their grandparents for granted when in fact children are so lucky if they have special grandparents.

Having recently lost my own grandmother, I've been thinking a lot about special moments with grandparents and feeling thankful for the wonderful memories.

I'm not biased, of course, but I think my grandmother was the most wonderful grandmother in the history of grandmothers.

Some of my favorite moments with her were spent sitting over a breakfast of French toast and coffee and just talking.

She would tell me stories about her childhood and her days at college with Johnnie, my grandfather.

I would tell her stories about my days at the same college, so many years later.

When my daughter was born, she loved to tell me about when my mother was a little girl.

My memories of all my other grandparents are different; they all passed away when I was younger but not before I had the privilege of knowing them all.

My grandfather Johnnie was a big, tall, steady influence in my life.

I remember him laughing and I remember the view from the top of his strong, broad shoulders.

I am told that when I was a baby he was the only one sometimes who could calm my crying.

He would hold me in his arms and sit on his exercise bike in the cool basement and ride and ride.

His embrace and the movement of that bike going nowhere could always soothe me.

My other grandparents I saw less often as they lived farther away.

I remember my bald and hard-of-hearing Grandpa Gripman helping me bait a hook as we fished in the lake behind his house in Michigan.

My Grandma Gripman was a tough lady who I think was afraid to show any sentiment.

But we shared a love of books and of beautiful things and one day she amazed me by driving me into town to see a tree.

It was fall and she loved the colors that the leaves turned on this particular tree.

I'll always be grateful to her for sharing that with me.

As for Sophie, she is grandparent rich.

She has two sets of adoring grandparents here in town and another set, my parents, across the country.

I love watching her play with her grandparents and I hope she continues to create wonderful memories with all of them.

My parents work hard to be a part of their grandchildren's lives, even though all of the grandchildren live far away.

Phone calls, cards and packages come regularly and Daisy and Grampy will be special guests at Sophie's upcoming birthday party.

Their presence will be the best gift of all.

Kids love presents but in the long run the best gift any grandparent can give is themselves.

Over the years my grandparents gave me more gifts than I can possibly count and I loved and appreciated every one of them.

But today I can only remember a few of those gifts while their stories and their love will be with me all my life.