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