Five-year-old twins Olivia and Jessica Tarchichi love playing with Lego, spending time in the garden and playing in the park.
But mention Albert Tarchichi’s name and the kindy kids drop everything.
Albert is their grandfather and one of 150 grandparents honoured at St Mary’s Primary School at George’s Hall last week, one of the many special ceremonies held throughout the Sydney Archdiocese thanking the more senior family members for their selfless giving and love.
Celebrated on the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, the patron saints of grandparents, the school held a Mass and morning tea and invited the grandparents to spend time in the classrooms as a special thank you.
Living links to the past, present and future, grandparents support family values, affirm spiritual traditions, share faith experiences and according to the twins “never run out of hugs”.
Proud grandfather Albert said his grandchildren give him so much enjoyment, happiness and love.
“They are my everything and I love them,” he smiled with a tear.
“They keep me busy and always show me how much they love me with hugs.
“I don’t mind saying they also keep me young at heart, hearing about their world and what they are doing is such a joy.
“They are the centre of my life and have a very special place in my heart.
“I really don’t know what I would do without them.”
The kindergarten twins agree they share a very special bond with their “gedo” which is grandfather in Arabic.
Olivia said she just loves spending time with him and giving him cuddles while Jessica said he is always smiling and there when she needs him.
“My gedo is very kind and a good person,” Olivia smiled.
“He gives good hugs and kisses.”
School principal Monica Palmer said the grandparents morning tea was a long-standing tradition and one of the most popular events held at the school each year.
She said as today many families have both parents working, grandparents are often the ones assisting with the day-to-day care of young children.
“As we are all so time poor, they are at times the one constant in a child’s life who has endless time and love to share,” she said.
“”Increasingly I see our grandparents dropping off and picking up students as commonly both parents work.
“Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that affect our lives and the world around us.
“I am constantly reminding the students to take lots of selfies with them so that they can treasure every special moment and memory. And always say I love you.”
Pope Francis is also known to sing the praises of grandparents and their importance to the family unit.
“Very often it is grandparents who ensure that the most important values are passed down to their grandchildren, and many people can testify that they owe their initiation into the Christian life to their grandparents,” he said.