On my way home from school the other day, I saw a sign for Hometown Buffet, and my mind drifted back to my middle school days. On Wednesdays, my grandparents would pick me up from school, and we would head there or some other place for lunch. It turned into a ritual that I looked forward to all week.
I would talk about my day and whatever was happening at school. My grandpa would go on about which sports team he was rooting for or something he had heard on the news. My grandma would either be nodding her head or making a list of what she had to do at home. Sometimes, the most talking done involved my grandpa teasing me about all the food I had put on my plate. No matter the situation, my grandpa would crack a joke or make a witty comment that would make us all laugh and smile. Those were the moments I enjoyed the most.
Thinking about those times, I'm reminded of how grateful I am for my grandparents. But grandparents as a whole are often underappreciated, even though they take on countless roles, from taxi drivers to baby sitters to event planners to handymen. My maternal grandparents come over at least twice a week, whether it's to drop my brother and me off from school, help my family run errands, or drop by for weekend barbecues. Even my other grandparents, who live all the way out in Colorado, still manage to call us at least once a week, and they even help my sister, who's in college, with money and school clothes.
Grandparents give a lot, but it's not just about that. It's the advice and stories of the past they tell that connect us. My great-grandma, who lived with us for a few years, would tell us funny stories about when my grandpa was young that made us see him in a new light. My mother's parents are always telling me stories about how smart and spoiled rotten my mom was as a child, too.
I know my grandparents are not an exception. My friends can testify to the massive roles their grandparents play in their lives. Many of them depend on their grandparents for simple things, like the occasional ride or meal. It's not unusual to see a grandma or grandpa dropping off papers or lunches at school. Some kids are even being raised by their grandparents.
Grandparents do all they do under the radar, often unrecognized for their efforts. So why do they continue to put in the effort? According to my grandma, the answer is simple: "It's because we love you all so much."
So show your grandparents how much you love and appreciate them. Say thank you once in a while, or take them out to eat for a change. Make memories with them that will last a lifetime.
The Life in Perspective board is made up of teens who write for the features sections. Santiago Garcia attends KIPP King Collegiate High School in San Lorenzo. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.