On March 15th 2020 I started my personal stay at home practice ahead of the state orders. Just the week before I was scheduled to fly to Texas to visit my grandchildren. It was Christmas when I last saw them as they live in another state. I made the hard decision that it was too risky to fly and decided to stay at home.
I pondered how could I keep a relationship growing with my grandchildren if I couldn’t see them? Oh, sure there was Facetime but certainly there was not much of that I could count on for sure with one set of grandchildren. My daughter and I talk on Facetime daily.
With the potential that I could contract and/or spread Covid-19 and with my underlying lung issues I could potentially get really sick. I realized I also needed to stay in touch and leave a legacy for my grandchildren of my love during this pandemic.
After much deliberation, I decided I would write to them. I had stationary in a storage box back from when I wrote letters regularly. I dug it out, brushed it off and started writing. The first day I wrote each one of my four grandchildren a letter.
I let them know I loved them and that I missed them and off the letters went. I put a photo and M&M’s in a little baggie in each letter.
When they excitedly called about receiving their first letters my grandson held up his first letter and I observed the back of the stationary was empty. Then the idea came to me to start drawing on the backside of their letters.
Years earlier my daughter had sent markers, colored pencils and crayons ahead of a visit from the family. I dug all the art supplies out and sat down to draw. My oldest grandson and I used to draw together from a YouTube channel called Art Hub for Kids. I logged on and started my elementary artwork.
I had also been ordering photo prints off my phone for years. I thought receiving photos of life, normal life, would remind them of what life was like before and what it could be like again in the future.
I get out all my art supplies, turn on classical music, gather photos, stationary, and of course candy and take a seat at my counter each day now. I have drawn everything from Disney’s Belle, Ariel and Elsa to football players, PBS’s Wild Kratts, trees, birds and everything in between.
Each correspondence includes photos of them (with me if possible), candy (Skittles, M&M’s and Jellybeans work best), a drawing and of course a letter.
I have received one letter back from my granddaughter with a necklace and a ring but mainly I just talk to them in their letters. I recall memories or talk of the future when we will be together again. I tell them how much I miss them and love them.
I write one grandchild each day. The main thing the kids love are the pictures which are drawn from lessons designed for young artists. I am told I am a great artist, who knew.
I have always told myself I was no artist, but as it turns out I am getting pretty good. It takes me about an hour a day but it is well worth it.
While I certainly don’t want to get Covid-19 or certainly not die from it, I am hopeful that they will remember receiving letters from their Mimi during the pandemic of 2020. I am indeed hoping to leave a legacy of love.
I highly suggest a letter writing campaign to your grandchildren. Let them know you are thinking of them during this terrible pandemic that we are collectively, as a world, suffering through. Build your own legacy.