Being Thankful for My Kids' Grandparents

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great-grandmother and grandchildrenThe holidays aren't my favorite time of year.

Four years ago, Thanksgiving was the very first holiday after my 54-year-old father passed away from colon cancer in August 2004. It was a difficult day to say the least -- I was eight months pregnant with my first child, and my family was deep in the thicket of mourning.

Weeping over pumpkin pies and a turkey no one had any appetite for, I thought of my unborn daughter and the wonderful grandfather she would grow up without ever knowing.

This year our daughter is 3 years old and we welcomed a new child, our son, in August. As is our tradition, we're in Ohio with my in-laws for the first leg of our Thanksgiving holiday, and later on today we'll travel to Western New York to join my sister's family and my mom.

I grouse a lot about the (ridiculous) travel schedule we take on from November to January. We have family in three states, and we live in a fourth. We make a tremendous effort to see every single grandparent our kids have during this season, not wanting to deprive either the kids or our parents of the chance to spend time together at this family-oriented time of year.

I also just get sad. I miss my dad every day, but never more so than on Thanksgiving Day. He always sat at the head of our table, raising a glass in thanks for his blessings.

This year, I look into the eyes of my daughter and I know that while this trip will be hard on all of us, she and her little brother will bask in the attention of her grandparents: my father-in-law and his wife, my mother-in-law and her husband, my mother, and her two great-grandparents on my husband's side.

While my father is missing from that list, I am eternally thankful for the wonderful grandparents who are here to lavish love on my son and daughter, especially because I was not similarly blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the grandparents, great-grandparents and grandchildren out there.

Who makes you thankful?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.