Wednesday, August 6, 2014

For My Grandchildren

This is a letter to my grandchildren, or perhaps, it is a letter to myself.  I’m not so sure my grandchildren will ever even read these words I have to say.  The words in my heart must be expressed even if the ones for whom they are intended never read them.

My grandchildren, my dear grandchildren, you are on the cusp of life.  

The point of transition where all of you now stand is quite dramatic.  

There was a time a few years back, when together you climbed a fence to see what was on the other side.  With curiosity, together you all climbed higher to have a better view of what was beyond where you had been standing on your side of the fence.

Today, you are all four year older.
You are on the side of the fence that represents childhood.
You will quickly go over that fence between childhood and move into adulthood.

One of you has graduated from high school and is going off to college.  

Two of you are going to be getting your license to drive. 
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 I will have four of you in high school this year. 

I will have two of you in middle school.  

I look at this place where you all stand right now, this place where you will soon make the transition into the next stage of your growing up years, and recognize that those days when I was your grandma who took you on adventures to Lagoon, or to penny arcade, or out for an ice cream cone, or to the zoo are fading into the past. 

I must admit that I have tears in my eyes when I write these words.  I wish we would have had more times together.  You all lived far from me, so times together were not always easy to come-by.  Every single moment I have ever had with each one of you is a treasured memory in my heart.

These tears that are falling from my eyes are a grandma thing.  They are sort of like lipstick kisses, and grandma taking too many pictures of you.

The tears are there because I have loved and treasured my days with you as a grandmother.  I hope to have many more days with you all as you move into your futures.  As your grandmother, I also am taking this opportunity to speak to you about the lives I hope to see you live.

I have no doubt that you all will work hard and accomplish much.  You are a talented, intelligent, good hearted bunch of kids.  All of you have so much going for you.  I am very proud of that.  

Of course I want you to 
study hard,
read many good books,
learn those math equations,
turn in your homework,
get to class,
don't skip school, 
put on your seat belts in the car,
drive carefully,
stay away from drugs and alcohol,
make good friends,
respect your teachers,
make wise choices.

There is one more reason why I am writing this letter. 

There is a very important thing I don’t want you to neglect as you move on with your life: family.

We live in such a disconnected world these days.  It is easy to get busy living our own lives and forget about building those relationships that matter.  

Family matters.  

This summer, while most of us were at Ryan and Sheridan’s wedding, I was so thrilled to see how many good times you had with your cousins.  You hiked, fished, toasted marshmallows, played games, stayed up late, and talked, and laughed.  Times like these are more rare than I wish they were, but at least we have them now and again.

While we were together, I had the gift of having lunch with two of you.  We talked about divorce.  We talked about how hard it is for families who go through a divorce.  Divorce has touched our family more times than I wish it had, yet we have also seen new relationships bless our family after a divorce.

I never had to deal with the divorce of my parents.  For that I am grateful.  Even though I have not had to deal with what you are dealing with after your parents have divorced, I know one thing for sure, one must learn to forgive the failures of one’s parents and do one’s own part to make the relationship between the parent and the child a strong one.  Parents disappoint and hurt us.  It is a part of life.  We disappoint and hurt our parents.  That is why we have the opportunity to learn about forgiveness.  

As you move on into life, you have the opportunity to become mature adults and make your own way, but for now, all but one of you need the guidance and wisdom that comes from your mom and your dad.  

I left home at eighteen when I went off to college.  In those days, it was not easy to keep in touch with my parents.  Long distance phone calls were expensive and were only used for emergencies.  I wrote letters to my mom and dad.  I learned that from my father who always wrote letters to his mother until she died.  He was faithful to stay in touch with her on a weekly basis by writing long letters every week even though he was nearly seventy years old.  

As you know, my mom is nearly one hundred years old.  For nearly fifty years, I have made many car trips to see her.  She has never learned to drive and has not been to see me in my home over twelve years.  It has not always been easy for me to make these trips, but as a daughter who honors her mother for who she is in my life, I take the responsibility of making sure I see her as often as I can.

You are all just beginning the adventures you will have in your future.  As you move on into the next year, I am so excited for all of you.  I hope you have much success and a lot of fun discovering who you are and what you want out of life.  I hope you will stay in touch with me.  I love texts, phone calls, or video calls.  I am here.  Call me.  I’ll try not to bug you much, but I will check in once in a while with a text or a call.

More importantly, keep communication open with your mom and your dad.  They are the ones who love you more than any other person in this world.  They have made great sacrifices for you so you have the wonderful material things that you have had in this life.  They have worried over you and cried over you when you are hurting.  They still do this, and they will always continue to do worry over you while they allow you to spread your wings and fly into the future.  As you soar off into those teen years and adult years remember, becoming a responsible teenager/adult involves learning how to love and show honor and respect to your parents.  

Our family has had a lot of sadness in the past few years.  I hope if there is one truth that you all know for sure, it is this:
We are all here for you.
You have grandparents who adore and love you and would do anything to help you.
You have aunts and uncles who adore and love you and are there for you.
You have cousins who will be there after your grandparents, your moms, your dads, and your aunts and uncles are gone.
Your family will always be here for you.  
Each and every single one of you.

My life has been rich in friendship.  My life has given me many great relationships.  The most difficult, and yet the most treasured relationships in my life, have been within the family.  Our family is not perfect, but I hope you all remember that we are all here for you cheering you on as you move into this next chapter of your lives.  Make it a good one.  

I have great confidence in you abilities to make wise choices.  I also know that if and when you make a misstep, and we all do, you know that you have a team behind you cheering you on in your family.  

Text an uncle or an aunt or a cousin, or make a call to you mom or to your dad, or to you grandma and let them know you love them now and again.  We truly are all here for you.  If you need help, ask one of us for it.

Know that I pray for you, each of you, every day.  

I love you all beyond measure.

Grandma Sally


Terra said...

Wonderful letter and each word is well chosen. This can apply to everyone really, no matter the age. If and when I have grandchildren I would echo this post, and put Jesus as the center pin.

A Quiet Corner said...

A lot of good life lessons here to pass on the these young children approaching adulthood. ...:)JP

The Furry Gnome said...

Beautiful. I hope they all do read it.

Linda Myers said...

Lovely. I suggest you consider finding a published home for this.

thisisme said...

Beautiful, wise, loving words for your grandchildren. I really do hope they get to read these lovely words. We are blessed indeed with our grandchildren. Happy memories my friend.

thisisme said...

Beautiful, wise, loving words for your grandchildren. I really do hope they get to read these lovely words. We are blessed indeed with our grandchildren. Happy memories my friend.

Olga Hebert said...

This is so beautiful in sentiment, Sally. It is a family keepsake, a family treasure, a wonderful gift to your grand children.

Lin Floyd said...

lovely, print it off with your photos and save a copy to be given to your grandchildren at some appropriate time...

Rose said...

Beautifully written, Sally. I hope that all of your grandchildren do read this. You've expressed what every grandparent feels; in fact, you've inspired me to write something similar to my own grandchildren.

I've been fortunate to have my grandchildren live close by (so far--a new baby on its way will be 800 miles away!), so I've been lucky to see them often through the years. But my oldest son's recent divorce has made it more difficult to see his children. It makes me so sad, but I've tried to keep the lines of communication open and make sure they realize we are always here for them no matter what.

Elizabeth Cutter said...

I teared up at the line with "I. . . recognize that those days when I was your grandma who took you on adventures. . . are fading into the past" and pretty much cried the rest of the way -- not because your words were so sad but because they are so TRUE. Thank you for capturing a matriarch's heart so beautifully.

Barb said...

You've expressed a treasure of feelings and of wisdom for your grandchildren, Sally. For children to have a bedrock of love and caring is so important, no matter what other circumstances they encounter. This is wonderful tribute to the love you feel for family.

Arkansas Patti said...

I do so hope they read this amazing letter. It is a must read and a letter that could fit into most families.
It is so easy for the young to get caught up in their busy,exciting lives, thinking family will always be there so they put off visits or communicating. We always think we have more time.
What a wonderful reminder of the comfort, safety and joy a family brings. You can't buy it, so enjoy it--now.

DJan said...

What a precious gift this letter is, Sally. They may not realize it now, but they will one day. Please print it out, with pictures, and put it in a safe place, just in case it won't be here on line when they need it. I'm so glad I got to read it, too. Thank you! :-)

rosaria williams said...

We should all write such letters, and often to each and everyone of our family members. When we are gone, these words will stand for all we meant to them.

#1Nana said...

Lovely. I hope they follow your advice.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

This letter is so beautiful, so wise, so loving, Sally! Your grandchildren are very fortunate to be part of your wonderful, imperfect family and to have you for a grandma! You teach a lot of valuable life lessons here, applicable to all -- young or old.

Perpetua said...

Beautiful, wise, loving words with so muc truth in them. The others are right, Sally. You should print this our, a copy for each child to be given at the right time. If I could have had something like this from my beloved grandma I would still be treasuring it.

Deb Shucka said...

They are so lucky to have you for a grandma! Such amazing and soulful words of wisdom. I think you should print this on pretty paper and put a copy in each of their stockings at Christmas.

Jeanie said...

This is beautiful, Sally -- and if the parents are smart they will print this out so long after the computer world has changed, they will still have a copy of your wise and beautiful words. They're lucky to have you as a gran, Sally. You share your wisdom, your "real life" and they will be all the better for taking a look at this every now and then.

(A Grandma thing -- I love it!)

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

This is a wisdom-filled message.
We spent the day with our kids and granddids. It was wonderfuL!
(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!