I am so humbled by the generous response to my new weekly feature, Letters For You that debuted last week and very grateful to Poppy of Funny or Snot for helping me kick off the series.
If you missed her heart wrenching letter to the lifeguard she credits to saving her daughter’s life, you can find it here.
This week, I am pleased to welcome Natalie of My Crazy Busy Life. Natalie helped her grandmother celebrate her 75th year recently and here is the birthday letter she gave her.
When Tonya asked me to contribute a letter for her new weekly series, I knew exactly what to send. While I had a close relationship with my grandparents, my paternal grandparents were the ones who actually raised me.
Last month, my grandmother celebrated her 75th birthday. I helped throw her a surprise party. We mailed invitations, ordered a cake and created a slideshow that celebrated her life. But what’s a party without presents? And more importantly, what do you buy someone who truly has it all? I followed the advice I’ve told my kids MANY times: I used my words. The following is a letter I wrote for her birthday.
One thing I’ve learned from you over the years is that our time here is limited. We never know how many days we will have or what our tomorrow may bring. So, as you celebrate your 75th year of being alive, I think it’s fitting to share with you a few of my thoughts. After all, there’s no better time like the present.
Children growing up often take their lives for granted. Children who are loved and nurtured naturally assume that there will be food on the table, a warm bed to sleep in and a lap for snuggles. That is, children make these blind assumptions IF their families are raising them in the way God intended.
I simply want to say thank you.
Thank you for giving me a home where I can be blissfully unaware of the outside world. For allowing me to assume that I will always have three square meals, a bed to sleep in and a hug when I needed it.
Thank you for caring for me all of the times I was sick and the countless bowls of chicken noodle soup you made on the nights I couldn’t sleep; for giving me a lap to be rocked in and arms that hugged even as I grew too big to crawl into that lap; you never turned me away. You simply adjusted in your chair to make room.
Thank you for telling me stories of not only your childhood, but the ones from my fathers, aunts and the rest of the family. Because of that, I’m blessed to know my history and where we come from. You shared the funny memories as well as the sad. I heard the struggles you faced not only as a wife and mother, but also as a woman. The strength I receive from that and from you is second to none.
Thank you for showing unconditional love AND setting rules and boundaries. I always knew you cared, but also when my behavior disappointed you. Because of how much you loved me, I never wanted to cause the disappointment. I came to strive to do my best because I wanted to make you proud.
The day came that I did disappoint you, but my deepest appreciation stems from one of our most difficult times.
Thank you for supporting me when I was pregnant at only 16. I truly do not know how it would have been possible without you. Having a baby in high school was certainly not a life I had planned, but it became a decision I have never regretted.
Thank you for supporting me in the beginning of the most important role of my love–being a mother.
As I watch my babies grow into kids and then ultimately young adults, I can truly appreciate all of the love I was shown when I was nothing but a kid myself. Not only do I understand the love, but the also the pain and disappointment. I am more sorry than you know for the hurt I caused; I was simply trying to do as you taught me; I wanted to find my own way as my own person.
Thank you for staying in your marriage for 55 years. The two of you have given our family a touchstone as pillars of strength. You taught me through your example that all relationships require work and that vows are promises meant to be kept. There will be bad times, but then we can truly enjoy the good ones. Because without thunderstorms, we wouldn’t have rainbows.
One of my favorite quotes is:
Two great things we can give our children: One is roots, the other is wings. – Hodding Carter
Thank you for teaching me the importance of the first and then giving me the courage to use the second.
With all of my love,