In honor of National Grandparents Day, this Sunday, Tea Co-founder and CEO, Leigh Rawdon, is sharing her reflections on her very grand parents.
You were grand parents before you were grandparents. I always knew it even if I didn’t always admit it. But now that I am a parent myself, I see clearly how grand you were for me — and now how grand you are for Adam and Matthew.
You only had Dr. Spock’s — not all of these parenting blogs and books and articles. There weren’t names for types of parenting — free range, helicopter, attachment. You just did what you did, you were who you were, and you looked something up in Dr. Spock’s if something felt off. Or maybe you asked a friend. You created a safe and nurturing home that was covered in wall-to-wall, unconditional love.
I was watching — even as I operated in my own little tween/teen bubble, holed up in my room on the phone, zipping around to different activities, or protesting one rule or another.
I watched you pay bills, read books, and come home a little late because you were fully engaged in your work. I watched you religiously sit on the sidelines or in the bleachers, always present for that rare time I made a basket (or for the humiliating time I scored an own-goal). I observed your satisfaction in the efficiency of numbers and your awe of the poetry of words. I absorbed your values not through what you said, but by your actions: originality, integrity, personal responsibility, and deep appreciation for the world’s beauty, even when that beauty isn’t clear to anyone else.
I don’t know what your grandsons see. I know they literally see treasure hunts, your new puppy, Tennessee football (Go Vols), homemade popsicles, 10 mile (or more) hikes in the Smoky Mountains, Alexa (I’m sure Alexa is very happy when we leave), conversations on the screened in porch, political analysis with historical references, and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World. But I am pretty sure they get it. These literal observations are at their essence: creativity, joy, loyalty, tradition, curiosity, stability, civic engagement, and, of course, laughter.
Thank you. You opened my eyes and my mind to this world. You found a way for me to join my high school French class for a Spring Break trip to Paris, beginning my lifelong love for travel. Since then, I haven’t stopped using my passport. And while I love to cross borders, you also gave me a home base. The home base wasn’t a physical place as much as an idea. An identity. A responsibility to be a good citizen. Do the right thing, do it well, and be kind. (You also tried to teach me not to overthink things — but I think that was a lost cause.)
You are nothing like the grandparents in children’s picture books. Whew! I am grateful that my kids’ picture of grandparents won’t come from these books, but from a real life experience of my very own grand parents.
Be warned: I am still watching. You are active (Those hikes are insane not to mention the workouts and how you have to do a wall-sit while you lift weights because otherwise it is just too easy), you are engaged (seriously … artificial intelligence programming?), and you have so many real friendships (who, by the way, are as interesting and fun as anyone I know. A puppy shower? Overnight hikes? Wine dinners? Trips to Europe? Firefly safaris? Last minute packing and moving?).
I hope I can be as grand a grandparent one day. Every day, you make the world grand — and now, not just for your kids but for your kid’s kids (did I get those apostrophes right? It didn’t feel right to ask you to proofread this).
Happy Grandparent Day. It’s a thing. But mostly, it’s an excuse for me to tell the world what I think.
PS: Mom, you have always been Tea’s best ambassador and publicist. I’m sure your friends are tired of hearing about Tea by now, but if they aren’t (or even if they are), thank you for always spreading the word. You and Dad have been my biggest supporters from the very beginning with all of my crazy ideas. In honor of Grandparent’s Day, Tea wants to meet more amazing grandparents like you. It’s also an excuse to remind your friends how awesome you are. So it would be great if you can share the Tea Facebook post and maybe tag a few of your fellow amazing grandparents in the comments. There is also a little contest on Instagram (I know you like to win but I’m afraid you aren’t allowed to enter — sorry. You’ll just have to enjoy winning at Risk or Rummikub during the Thanksgiving holiday). More info below.
In celebration of National Grandparent’s Day, we’re giving you a chance to win $50 to Tea for sharing photos of your family! Enter to win our #GRANDSLOVETEA giveaway. Simply follow Tea Collection on Instagram and post a photo of and tag (if you’re able to!) the grandparents in your life – Make sure they’re following Tea too! On Monday, we’ll randomly select 5 #GRANDSOFTEA to win $50 to Tea Collection, notifying each winner by leaving a comment on your photo. For more information and official rules, see here.