I found this letter in my files today as I was looking through them to prepare a talk. The author is unknown but by the sound of the language and some of the “wishes” contained within, it appears to have been written a few years ago. Still…it speaks to me as a grandmother. I hope the same for you.
To my beautiful grandchildren…
Our world is changing so fast and there are many things I wish for you…
I’d really like for you to know about hand-me-down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would.
I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.
I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car.
And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.
I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.
I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother or sister.
And it’s all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when they want to crawl under the covers with you because they’re scared, I hope you let them.
When you want to see a movie and your little brother or sister wants to tag along, I hope you’ll let them.
I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.
On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don’t ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won’t be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.
If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.
I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.
When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.
I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what Ivory soap tastes like.
May you skin your knee climbing a mountain.
If a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.
I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your grandparents and go fishing with your uncle.
These are just some of the things that I wish for you — tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it’s the only way to appreciate life.
I’d love to hear from you. As a grandparent reflecting on life and your own grandchildren, what do you wish for them? Please add your own lines to the letter in the comments below.