For Thanksgiving this year, my family and I decided to make a book for my grandparents about why we are all thankful for them. I had the opportunity of putting it together and I noticed some themes within each individual’s note of appreciation that I believe we all should pay attention to. This book was compiled by children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren. Check out what we all have valued during our time with them.
- Hospitality: My grandparents are fantastic at this without even knowing it. They treat anyone who walks into their door as if they were a part of our family forever. Even great granddaughters mentioned “You always ask if we want snacks.” That’s something so simple but I love that they have the art of making you feel welcome and treating you like a guest at the same time down pat. If they had one apple to their name, my grandma would slice it up and give it to you in a heartbeat. (After she washed it THOROUGHLY 😉 )
- Fishing: Oh how I love going fishing. My husband and I spent a lot of time doing this when we started dating. We’d pick up some breadsticks and pizza from Monicals and take them to fish all night. It’s so peaceful and exciting at the same time. My grandparents had 5 children and ventured out with all of them on fishing and camping trips. To this day, if we are taking our family fishing they gladly join us to make memories.
- Games: If you were at any family function you would undoubtedly see a group gathered around the table playing cards. But this wasn’t the memory mentioned the most. It was all the time we grandkids spent playing Aggravation, Scrabble and anything else they had. They put a lot of themselves into helping raise us and wouldn’t hesitate to watch their great grandbabies either if it was a necessity. What I value most about this is that my grandparents didn’t let us play, they played with us. I remember them babysitting me many times and looking words up in the dictionary to make sure they were correct on the Scrabble board. Then without realizing what we were doing, we would work on our math skills when adding up the scores.
- Road trips: I have heard many stories about all my aunts and uncles loading into the station wagon for a road trip. When you hear them talk about it you can tell these are cherished times that gave them self-worth and tied together their family unit. However, I distinctly remember my grandpa seeing our DVD player in the van and telling me, “Jami those are the best invention ever.” Ha! So I believe that even though he loved driving his children around, it may have raised his blood pressure a tad! This tradition continued with their grandchildren, I traveled with them to Pittsburg and Tucson, Arizona. As much fun as it was to reach the destination, the trip was always the best, I still feel that way today.
- Work ethic: Several of the notes alluded to a sense of not giving up and working hard for what you want. I would say that all of my aunts and uncles have been successful but they have all had hiccups on the way (as does everyone). Their willingness to endure is something they all appreciate my grandparents instilling in them.
I love this list because none of these top 5 memories are expensive. None of them require you have a doctoral degree to give to your children. This is what a loving, happy family should make sure you have the time to do. We hear all the time that it’s the little things that matter but we’re often too busy to actually do them. We might be so busy preparing for Christmas that we don’t stop to read our children the Christmas story, play a game with them, or watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” (my fave) while snuggling on the couch with hot chocolate and popcorn. Try your best this holiday season to be mindful of your time and reflect on what really matters. What legacy do you want to leave behind that your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will be thankful for?