Dearest grandbaby Eviana –
New Year’s Eve Day has forever gained a new meaning, leaving things like resolutions in the dust of a much more important focus: your birthday.
This year, you will be one whole year old on December 31, and you’ve already changed the world. Well – ours, at least. Your joy, your love, your needs, your snarky sense of fun and play…what an amazing person you already are!
And of course all other parents and grandparents feel the same about their babies. And so it goes, quite beautifully. But watching you grow in this past year has opened the window even wider to some nostalgia for a simpler time – and I hope, as your Grammy, to be a part of making sure these joys are part of your life.
A few truths you have reminded me of:
- People need to play. It’s what you do all day, and something we all need to fit into our lives.
- People love to learn. It’s not a “chore”, it’s a privilege. I see your face light up whenever you learn something new.
- It’s fun to laugh. And your laughter has sparked so many laughs in me. I’ve missed that!
- People want to connect. Differences disappear on the playground. As long as someone else (child or caregiver) is considerate, kind, and caring, there is no color or clothing that can be judged. We need each other. Love does indeed trump divisiveness.
My darling, you’ve been born into a world much more distracting than the one I grew up in – and, for that matter, the one your Mom and Dad grew up in. Change is inevitable, of course, and often a great thing – who wants to go back to pay phones, trips to the bank for cash, or trip-tiks (look it up)?
However, some “conveniences” rob us of the joy of discovery, the movement of our bodies, and the virtues of patience.
I hope you never lack for these things. And so, here are some simple joys I wish for you – and will do my part to help show to you:
- Patty-Cake and Peek-a-boo.
- Nursery Rhymes
- Building a sandcastle
- Playing catch/frisbee
- Outdoor games like tag, hide and go seek, red rover
- Bouncing ball games like “A, My Name is Alice”
- Jumping Rope
- Baking cookies. Yes, from scratch if possible.
- Crayons and Blank Paper. Creating something where nothing was there before beats drawing inside the lines – though the other has its pluses too. (Limitations can spark creativity too.)
- Building Blocks. Build something, knock it down, build again.
- Family travel games in the car. Alphabet, license plates, GHOST.
- Board Games. Yes even though CandyLand is sometimes torture for parents. Board games promote interaction
- Flying a Kite
- Theatre – live and in person. see it now, maybe do it later. Can substitute sports here if preferred – again, for fun and not for fame!
Jumping in a pile of leaves
- Walking in nature. TV images are not the same as touching it.
- Making Music.
- Dancing for the fun of it. We naturally move to music. Judgment can suck the joy right out.
- Toys without batteries. Too many toys do the work for you – and get boring, fast. I saved a few toys from you Mommy’s childhood – and now I see why. The ones that don’t need batteries are your favorite, too.
- Books. A book can calm your brain right down. Even for you, it’s a crazy world sometimes. TV on, toys scattered around, so many new rooms to crawl into….so many possibilities. But when you climb into my lap to “read” with me, I can almost feel your brain quiet down. Sure, you’ll climb back down again to go back to exploring, but that singletasking break recharges you – and us. Books are interaction – with the person reading it with you, and later with the book itself.
Now that I think of it, these 20 things are good for adults too.
We love you, baby girl. Happy birthday and New Year!