~Firstly, I would like to mention that my grandma doesn’t own a computer so the only way this letter will reach her is if I mail it or bring it to her myself. I’m sure that even if she owned a computer she wouldn’t use it, because why?
Happy Belated Birthday! I know that it was on Wednesday, and that I sent a text to Grandpa in lieu of a call because I felt less than amazing, but I thought I’d say it again. You’re 87 years old, and even though I know age can be a sensitive topic I don’t think you need to worry. All it means is that you have decades more life experience than I do, which makes you wiser, smarter, and more well-read than me. I wish that I could’ve been there to celebrate with you, but I’ll be back home soon enough.
I know that I don’t say it near enough, but thank you. Thank you for giving Mom and me a place to live for the first year after I was born. Thank you for reading to me so much that my love of books always seemed natural. Thank you for teaching me about garage sales and thrift shops, because I know how to find a good bargain now. Thank you for always cooking my favorite meals when I come visit, and for sharing the recipes with me. Thank you for buying clothes that you think I’d like at garage sales, just because you thought of me. Thank you for the gigantic collection of Barbies and everything that goes with them—including several handmade outfits that still hold up after years of play. Thanks for 21 years of memories on my part, and for sharing stories about what life before me was like.
I remember the time that I pitched a fit because I forgot to switch the tapes in the VCR and your soap recorded over my (then) only copy of Home Alone II. I’m sorry that I gave you so much grief for that. I get pretty obsessive over shows too now, but I have a DVR to use instead of VHS tapes (which is way easier). I remember how we used to spend afternoons playing Old Maid, watching Arthur on PBS, and eating ice-cream. I remember you telling me to relax and take a break when I was wildly dancing along to the broadcasted performance of Cats, and how I didn’t listen and did get so exhausted I almost made myself sick. I remember all of the times that you’d buy me a Beanie Baby from the drugstore because I begged. I remember how you used to record interviews with the Harry Potter cast off of the Today show so I could watch them when I came to visit, and I don’t think I’ve ever said how much I appreciated that.
I spent so many weeks in the summers at your house. I’d devour dozens of books from the shelves, make a mess with the toys, and watch the same videos over and over again. When I got older I spent a lot of time (still) reading, but I also worked on my novels. You and Grandpa were some of the first readers of my rudimentary poems and short stories, and you always supported me. Even though I don’t see you as often, your house is my mental escape when things get tough, because it’s somewhere I always feel safe, inspired, and loved.
We share a lot of things besides memories. We hate, hate, hate snakes and some other creepy crawlers. We both love to read, although in recent years you haven’t been able to do so as much. When it comes to soda we both choose Coke. Some people say that I look a lot like you, and when I look at pictures of you at my age I can see it too, and I think that’s a pretty flattering thing!
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you’ve filled up my entire life with kindness, love, and wonderful memories. I know that I wouldn’t be quite the same person without all of the things you’ve done, and I know that I am a horribly spoiled grandchild. You’ve set an example of what grandmothers can be like, and I hope that one day I can build on that. I don’t like to imagine a world without you, can barely think it actually, but I want you to know that when you’re gone I’ll miss you more than words can say.
But for now I can’t wait to visit your house again, to listen to your stories, to feel like a huge weight falls of my shoulders when I walk through the door, and I can’t wait to give you a big hug and give you these wishes in person.
So, again, happy birthday Grandma.
I love you.