A Letter to a Grandchild from a Grandma

December 4, 2018 Published by
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When I look back on my life, I have a few regrets. If I could wish upon a star, what would I wish for right now? I would wish to go back in time and spend more together time with my grands during all of the holidays. Unfortunately, we are separated by miles, states, and at times, countries and, lest we not forget, complications.

So far away

Our family has never had the pleasure of living close to one another. I have never had the joy of driving a short distance or walking with my pooch to any of my grandchildren’s homes to take them to Dairy Queen or buy them jeans. Why? They all moved away. At this time they are living in New York, Texas, suburbs of Illinois, Arizona, California, and Indiana.

When I wanted us to be ‘family,’ it seemed there were always interferences of one kind or another. When one family member could come, another could not: Some were traveling, some couldn’t travel, and some did not want to travel. Some were going to another family member’s home, some were going to a friend’s home, someone was sick, and someone was not talking to someone else. You get the gist.

A grandma’s wish

I just wish I had more memories to hold onto. And, I wish my grandchildren had several more lasting memories, too, because memories tell the story of the relationship between two people: Grandmother and grandchild. It is a bond of love and respect that ties them together for eternity. I know every grandmother is a gift. She should be savored. She is precious… unfortunately in many families, from afar.

Last night, on our 15-hour flight from LAX to Singapore, Indonesia, I thought about my grands. They were all on my mind in part because, as I was packing and racing through airports to catch a flight, I was thinking of Hanukkah and wanted each of them to know I was thinking of them. So, I sent text messages, of course. They sent texts back wishing my ultimate concierge and me a Happy Hanukkah, too.

My teary-eyed confession

After take-off, as darkness set in, I got teary-eyed thinking about the loss of so many special times we missed sharing, generally caused by distance: Sunday night dinners, impromptu ice cream runs, long talks around the fireplace. The excitement, pride, and happiness of watching them get awards, play sports, or perform in a play. Maybe just walking our pooches together. (All of my grands are pet lovers, darlings.) The value in face-to-face, secret talks, and help from grandma.

I know many of you grandmothers can relate to my feelings and my thoughts. Love is not lessened by distance, yet it is difficult to love from afar.

grandma

The memories of my grandmothers

With my teary-eyed confession behind me, I began to think of my relationship with my grandmother. I found hope in the remembrance of how she impacted my life, even though she too was a long distance away.

My mother’s parents lived in Chicago. I grew up in Kankakee by the Sea. I lived 60 miles away from my grandmother. How often did I see her? Not often, but she left her mark.

I have my memories of our relationship, our close bond. I have stories in my head of our times together. The lessons, imparted by her, are stored in my head. To this day I make sure to put a ‘pinch of sugar’ in the pot of boiling water with the fresh corn on the cob. She has a sweetness that I can still feel now. And a deep, unending love for me that was unmistakable from near or far. I pray that my grands have those type of memories of me. I know you do, too.

My other grandmother lived in Kankakee by the Sea, but spent the winter months in Florida and traveled often. It did not matter. I adored her. She was sugar and spice and everything nice and, not my biological grandmother. But did I care? Not one bit. She earned my adoration because of her loving manner and how she handled her role in a blended family. She had 14 grandchildren that were not biologically her own! I was one of the 14. We all loved her. She was as much a part of us as she would have been if her blood ran through us.

Two grandmothers, one love

Two Grandmothers. One lived far away. The other was not biological. Both are often in my mind, and both will always hold a special place in my heart.

It is late. The sound of the roaring engine is putting me to sleep. I will say adieu for now. My last thought, as I sit here, reminiscing, is that I hope my grands feel about me the way I feel about my grandmothers.

I wish I could tell both of my grandmothers, at this very minute, how much I love them, how much they taught me, how much I respect them.

I would tell them how high of a bar they set and how, every day, in every way, I try to be as warm, kind, loving and impactful as they were. I can no longer go to them for advice, but I will always find wisdom in the legacies and memories they left behind.

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15 Comments

  • I have very fond memories of my Grandmothers too! One lived in Kansas City and one in Pittsburgh. We lived in Minneapolis. We spent more time with the one in Kansas City, Thanksgiving we would all pile in the car for an 8 hour drive there. But the one in Pittsburgh had a truly profound effect on my life. We were able to spend a week every year together later in life that will always be the most special treasure for me. I have never had the joy of children but I admit I love them whoever they are and do my best to inspire those around me in any way I can!

  • Jennifer says:

    This is your best writing yet.

  • Donna Hipps says:

    My grandchildren have been the joy of my life. I have traveled to so many places to see them in their concerts, plays, colleges, etc. You are right, grandchildren are the love of one’s life

  • Antonia says:

    We have the same challenge; we live in Ohio with children and grandchildren in LA and Colorado. While we travel out there to see them all, it is never enough. I, too, am envious of those grandparents who live in the same town and can have those very casual encounters. But I am also lucky. We HAVE grandchildren (my oldest friend will not) and we spend good quality time with them when we visit.

  • Lela Freigo Gahwiler says:

    What wonderful memories this brings to mind of my dear maternal grandmother, Fortunately, she always lived near to us in Kankakee, I could experience the fresh baked cookies, help in the garden, learn to sew on her old machine, play canasta with her , my Mom and sister, hear stories of her life and of our extended family. How blessed I was to have her love and kindness as an example for my later role of Grandma. For many of their growing up years my 7 grands were in Kankakee. I did the cookie thing, ice cream runs, parks, childrens museum,overnights at Grandma and Grandpa’s and trips to Chicago to visit museums, the Aquarium, boat trips on Lake Michigan and the American Girl Doll store. What wonderful memories we share often.
    When we retired to SW Florida our two daughters and sons-in-love relocated with the youngest 5 of the 7 grands before they started high school. We were able to be a part of those years of sports and school dances and family gatherings. How blessed we have been.
    Now we are enjoying 2 precious great grands who live nearby.
    We are starting again with memory making…walks, movies, pool play and family gatherings. I give thanks each day for the blessing of family nearby in distance ,and those close in the heart who are a bit farther away.

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      Your grands are so lucky to have you and you are so lucky to have them. You were so fortunate to have a wonderful grandmother. I think our grands observe us more than we grandmothers realize. I know you and I observed ours. We are not alone. Warmly, Susan

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      Your children and grands are so fortunate to have you both as their grandparents.And, you are fortunate to have them. Great values passed down through the generations. Warmly, Honey

  • Maria says:

    Oh how this resonates. I was lucky enough to have 7 of my 9 grandkids nearby while they were growing up & develop a really strong bond with them. Now they’re scattered, St. Louis, Mo, Columbus, OH, Beloit, Wis, Chicago, Il while we are on our little island. Maintaining the closeness has taken extra effort but with either us in Chgo or they in Grenada, we’ve managed it. Thanks for sharing your story.

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