Friday, December 23, 2011

Dear Grandma

For Christmas all the grandchildren on my mother's side of the family were asked to write a letter to our Grandma, in place of our usual gift-exchange. There were no real parameters for what this letter should be. It was more of a "Let her know what you've been up to. Let her know she's special," sort of a thing.

My relationship is somewhat unique, however, since I live in the same city as my grandmother, and we try to stay in touch frequently. Also, over the past 12 years, I have lived with my Grandma FOUR times, from periods of 2 weeks (while a small renovation project happened on my house) to 3 months (after my car accident), to 6 months (after a broken engagement) 8 MONTHS with my boyfriend, while my house was completely renovated. Needless to say, my grandmother has the patience of a saint. Therefore, the usual "let her know what you've been up to" wouldn't suffice. Here's what I wrote instead.
*I figured I could post it here, since she probably wouldn't read my blog between now and Christmas morning, right?

Dear Grandma,

“You come by it honestly.”

How often do we utter that statement? In our list-making, our gingersnap-baking, our penchant for gift-wrapping, and the way we tear up at every emotional moment (happy, sad or MAD)…those are the traits we share. I’m my mother’s daughter, and definitely my grandmother’s granddaughter.

We share so many personality traits – aside from your questionable aversion to sushi, of course – that it’s clear we’re related. Some things are just in our blood, or were passed on from generation to generation that one can say, “Well, Kristen…you came by that honestly.”

But I think that, even more than the traits we share, I treasure most the moments that we've shared…as individuals, as different women.

Grandma, you have shared so much with me over the last 12 years. You have shared meals with me. You have shared your house with me….4 times to be exact! You have shared your money with me after my accident when I was out of work. You have shared showers with me when I had to have someone make sure I could support myself after surgery. You have shared your stories with me, and thoughts with me, and very looooooong car-rides with me. And most of all, you’ve shared your patience with me… and your heart with me.

With you I’ve shared snowy drives through midtown Atlanta in search of lost car keys. I’ve shared some pretty interesting pain medicine-induced conversations. I’ve shared rides behind a tow-truck after my chronic car troubles. I’ve shared many a night eating breakfast because we were both too tired to think of anything else to make. I’ve shared my successes at work, as well as my failures at life and love(s)... I’ve also shared my opinions where we didn’t always agree.

I’ve seen you angry. You’ve seen me sad. I’ve seen you healing. And you’ve seen me healing. I’ve seen you as a wonderful wife and partner to Grandaddy for all those years, and as a wonderful and amazing woman on her own for these last 12. You’ve seen me in and out of relationships, succeeding and failing…succeeding and failing; and hopefully now, much stronger than I ever have been – on my own.

I can’t tell you how much of an angel you have been to me over the past 12 years. Don’t get me wrong… you were very special to me the other 22 years of my life, as well! It’s just that in the last 12 years our relationship has grown in ways that I don’t know it ever could have had I lived elsewhere. Or had all the circumstances of my, or your, life been different. But life led us both here, together. It brought us together to share all of these moments. For that, and for you, I am eternally grateful.

You have helped me become the woman I am today. Not just in the traits I come by honestly, but in the honest moments we shared.

I love you Grandma. Thank you for everything.