I never expected to see the beautiful words my granddaughter Kelly wrote to me at the end of last year. Her letter brought back so many precious memories. It’s been 20 years since I babysat six of my grandchildren, with the help of my own daughters. I never realized what an impact a babysitter has on a child until I read Kelly’s letter, excerpted here.
It was nice seeing you at Christmas. You looked so happy!
After losing two grandparents within the past year, I have taken some time to reflect on what is most important … . I wanted to let you know what a positive influence you have been on me. I am the person I am because of you.
I remember being at your farm a lot when I was younger. I remember the projects you had planned for us. We made Indian teepees out of feed sacks. We made grass skirts out of baling twine and elastic waistbands. We painted rocks to represent our family members. We made doll clothes out of colorful socks.
We made numerous “playhouses” in the grove, complete with hammocks. We learned that if you left a bucket of soybeans in the rain, you would soon have a bucket of growing beans. We learned that if you put paper streamers in water, you would get what looked like Kool-Aid, but you couldn’t drink it. We learned that if it was rainy or cold outside, you could always make a fort inside using chairs and blankets.
We learned that if we helped pick the raspberries in the morning, we’d have them in a red sauce on our ice cream in the afternoon. We learned that irises come in lots of different colors. We learned that some plants have funny names, like the elephant ear plant and hen and chicks. We figured out that milkweed pods look like fish, and we’d go “fishing” in the ditch along the driveway. …
We learned that Grandma would say she liked anything you made, even if you were testing her. We made the ugliest braided bracelets with random colors of yarn, and Grandma said she liked each and every one.
We learned that you could make do with what you had. We learned that making things out of paper and cardboard was more fun than what came inside the packaging. We learned it was OK to get dirty, but Grandma would wash us up before Mom came.
You once made models of everyone’s houses, which made me want to be an architect. Another time, you made quilts for all of the grandkids. I still use mine every night. The edging has worn out, but I have been taught the skills to fix it.
I chose you to be my confirmation sponsor because I loved and respected you. You were always patient, with a quiet determination.
Grandma, thank you for all of the memories and skills you have taught me. I hope that I am able to pass on a similar legacy to my children and grandchildren.
Love always, Kelly