Have you ever started off your morning with a list of things you want to accomplish that day and ended up wandering in a totally different direction? Has one thing led to another and before you know it, you are sitting on the bedroom floor sorting through piles of stored memorabilia that have been (im)patiently waiting for you?
This past Wednesday morning the first item on my list was finding and printing out a copy of Amanda Gorman’s The Hill We Climb to include in my granddaughter Olivia’s scrap-ish book. I am not a scrapbooker by any stretch of the imagination, but ten years ago I started saving mementos for Olivia and putting them in a book to give her someday down the road. I have the invitation to her baby shower, the label from the bottle of bubbly that Mr. Smith and I shared on the day she was born, and other bits and pieces I have gathered through the years.
I found Ms. Gorman’s poem and was printing it out when a prickling of conscience hit me. I was way behind on Olivia’s book. Instead of continuing on with my “to-do” list, I pulled out her album and a large stack of pictures, thank you notes, drawings, and other grandchild keepsakes and started sorting. I spent a delightful afternoon. I basked in the memories and started speculating about new adventures we might share as soon as we get rid of this lousy Pandemic.
I donned my grandma crown in a big way from Day One. I was working away in my office at the law firm in the fall of 2009 when my son Emmet called. He and his wife Emily were expecting their first baby and I thought he was calling to report on a prenatal visit. He asked me, “Remember how excited you were to find out you were going to be a grandma? Well, get ready to be twice as excited!” Twins! I spent the next hour floating around the firm, spreading the word to anyone who would listen that we were going to have not one, but two grandbabies! I didn’t start scrapbooks for Eli and Henry, but I did buy a couple of boxes for their keepsakes.
The last time Henry and Eli were able to visit, we had a grand time sorting through their boxes. They loved seeing birthday party invitations from birthdays they can’t quite remember. My favorite souvenir is from the first Camp Grandma in 2012. They were 2 years old. One afternoon while we were hanging out on the beach, Henry came running up to me excitedly saying, “I found Goodnight Moon, I found Goodnight Moon!” While playing in the sand, he had dug up a broken milk jug cap, but in his eyes, he had found the moon!
I have logged the most grandma hours with Sam, Eli and Henry’s little brother. I was the grandmere au pair for the trio of brothers for 16 months a few years back. Eli and Henry spent their mornings at preschool and Sam and I were the best of buddies. We played at the park, we nibbled many a croissant, and spent hours creating fanciful creatures with playdough.
I have been writing a letter to Sam each year on his birthday. I tuck in a little cash, seal it up and put it away for later. I’m thinking maybe his 18th birthday. While he is no longer my little sidekick, I treasure the time we had together and want him to know how special he is to me.
Emily, Elizabeth and Eleanor each have their own envelope filled with the same sort of memorabilia, but I haven’t decided how I’m going to organize them. Each of my grandchildren is unique and I want to choose the right format. I’m thinking Elizabeth may have to have some sort of recording. When we were Facetiming recently, she had a book that Mr. Smith and I had “recorded” for her. She was fascinated that our “noise” was in there. With the speed in which technology changes, I will need to do some research to discover if there is a way I can make a recording for her so she can always hear our noise.
So, I confess. I let myself fall behind on my grandmother duties and I’m not sure why. I want to leave my grandchildren with the memories of moments we shared and hope that my keepsakes will be treasured by them. Are you keeping a scrapbook, journal or something else for your grandchildren? Do you write them letters or save news articles or quotes for them? I would love to hear what you are up to.
C’est la vie.