2006 was a rough year for my family. My grandfather on my dad’s side has passed away from a very long and drawn-out illness leaving my grandmother alone for the first time in well over 50 years.
I wanted to do something special for my grandma that year, so I decided to give her a very unique gift. I thought of about 100 questions that I always wanted to know about her…stuff like, “What is a perfect day for you?” or “Tell me how you picked out your first home.” and, “Talk to me about one of your most favorite memories so far with your sister Nancy.” I also bought her a whole bunch of little gifts that I thought would make her smile. I wrapped them and gave them all numbers. I then cut out each question and pieces of paper for the numbered gifts and I put them in a decorated jar. I also gave her a journal to write all of her answers in.
Her instructions were simple: Take one piece of paper out of the jar each day and follow the instructions on it. Sometimes she had to write and sometimes she got to open a gift. I thought it was the perfect gift to give her as it was the gift that kept on giving! Ha.
She loved it and at first, she would call me a lot to talk about the questions and to let me know that she was “following her instructions.”
Then it kind of dropped off and she didn’t talk about it anymore. I thought that maybe she just stopped doing it and I decided not to bring it up. Years passed and my gift became a distant memory. Honestly, I completely forgot about it.
Gram is now 91 and guess what she gave me when I was in Buffalo this past month? You guessed it, the journal! Turns out that she had completed it all of those years ago….she had just misplaced it when she moved into her home a few years ago and she finally found it. She could not wait to give it to me!
I have started to read through the questions she answered many years ago. She taped them to the journal and then wrote her answers on the page. Most have made me laugh, but I have also cried. She really wrote with all of her heart. She was honest and transparent and she wrote the most beautiful things about some people that were in her life. A great deal them are no longer with us.
What a treasure this book is. I now know more about my grandma than I ever have. How she thinks. How she felt about things. The way things were “back then.” The depression. How she grew up. Her favorite things.
All of it so very beautiful. It was a gift alright….but it ended up being a gift from her to me instead.
If you are reading this, I would encourage you to do this for someone in your life. You will NOT regret it.
Thank you so much for reading today. I hope that I made you smile and think a little bit. Be sure to check out my Podcast on iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher —- Jen’s 10 G’s