Have you ever done something brilliant (I mean absolutely amazing!) but you just didn’t realize it until years later?
I recently had one of those moments last month but it didn’t start as happy as it ended.
My grandmother passed away before the holidays, and it was very unexpected.
I was luckier than most — I was able to talk with her a few days before she died so I could tell her that I loved her. I know she already knew this but I was so happy to be able to tell her again.
As when most family members pass away, relatives inherit things. My parents told me they were bringing a few items to me when they visited for the holidays.
Flashback 15 years…
When my son was born, I purchased a copy of A Grandparent’s Book for my mother and both of my grandmothers. The catch phrase on the book says it’s for “thoughts, memories and hopes for a grandchild”.
It’s really more of a journal that lists a whole host of thought-provoking and information-gathering questions so a grandchild can learn more about their grandparents.
Guess what my parents brought me?
A completed book of hand-written memories from my grandmother!
So I started reading.
And I started learning more about my grandma.
Things I would have never thought to ask.
I learned that when she was 4 years old, she fell and cut her leg so badly that her mother had to pull her around in a wagon for weeks.
I found out her favorite radio programs were “The Shadow Knows” and “Amos & Andy” — they didn’t have television when she was younger so the family listened to the radio together.
She had a dog named ‘Happy’ when she was young (I never knew she had a pet!)
Her favorite subject in school was spelling and she won an academic award for the subject!
I have pages and pages of beautifully penned family memories!
There’s information about her grandparents and her parents – names, dates, occupations, family celebrations. And I have newspaper clippings of family events too.
In the process of completing the book, my grandmother researched passport details and birth certificates to find the correct dates for the book. I’m amazed and so thankful for the detail she put into the journal.
And there’s also photos — she was born in 1921 and I actually have a photo of her when she was 2 years old.
Grandma (at 2 years old) wearing a cherished locket
Why am I sharing this with you?
Because in this age of technology, hand-written memories make a huge impact!
I must have received thousands of emails from my husband over the past 20-some years, but it’s the hand-written letters that I still have tucked away from when we were first dating.
And if you look in my wallet, there are two special pieces of paper – notes from each of my kids that were written a number of years ago in a way that only children can tell you that they love you.
Why is it that we’re more attracted to a hand-written note?
Because when you type ‘I Love You’ – it looks the same no matter who is doing the typing.
But when it’s written…
mine looks like this.
My daughter’s looks like this.
It’s personal. You can feel the love in the words.
Hand-written notes share something that you remember about that person.
So, even though we send all those wonderful text messages that reach the recipient almost immediately, remember to hand-write a few notes to your kids and family.
- Leave on note on the breakfast table.
- Pen some warm thoughts into a birthday card.
- Compose a supportive letter on the day of a big test or performance.
And tuck away some of the beautiful memories your kids leave for you.
Giving a Family Memory Journal
So many of our grandparents and great-grandparents still enjoy writing. I’m sure yours would love to record some family memories for the grandkids!
Here’s a few ideas for journals that make nice gifts:
To Our Children’s Children: Preserving Family Histories for Generations to Come
Memories for My Grandchild: A Keepsake to Remember