To my Dearest Grandbaby,
Happy Birthday, Darling! Sixteen years of birthdays and there are going to be many more to come. I’m sure you’re wondering to yourself why your Grandmother is sending you a letter in the mail. Mailing someone a letter is such a primitive means of communication that, when I was younger than you, most people had given it up. Letters move sluggishly and you can only have a one sided conversation, but there is just something special about opening your mailbox and seeing your name on the bottom right hand side of that envelope. Your face lights up and you wonder who could have sent it.
I’m writing this letter to you from the past. I am only eighteen years old at the moment, just two years older than you. I do not know what your name is or whether you are my son’s or daughter’s child. I do not know if I will even be alive when you receive this. All I know is that as I sit here writing this my heart floods with the tender and warm feelings that represent love thinking about a child whom I will help prepare a future for. You might be amazed that your Grandmother is thinking about you at such an early age, wondering what you will look like and hoping I raised your Mother or Father well and they are raising you the same. Writing you this letter might be such a simple thing but it makes me so elated. It’s the tiny joys in life that make it worth living.
In my eighteen years, I have led a life with few hardships. My family is a rambunctious lot, but we have always been known for our tight-knit loyalty and unbreakable love for one another. Everyone says that you can hear the Romanos coming from a mile away. My father’s booming voice alone could knock down walls. When we fight, we wail out high pitched and incredibly swift words of liquid hot rage, but our fighting will end as abruptly as a flash flood once a witty joke has been told.
I have grown up surrounded by a cacophony of sounds. They wrap around me like a warm and comforting blanket, which tells me I’m safe. When I hear yelling in the distance while in my room, I cannot do anything but smile at such familiar scene. I know many who do not appreciate their families. I have friends who never ask their parents how their day was, never tell their mom they love her, never speak with their family outside of the dinner table. You must enjoy all the time you have with your family. Play hide and seek with your siblings, talk to your father about your problems, dance with your mother while you clean the house. When you look back at your life you want to be able to remember all the times you made your mother laugh so hard she wet herself or how you made the the most amazing fort with your brother that you both slept in it for a week.
You may think you are too old to play with your siblings anymore. The ripe age of sixteen, you are told, is a time to start taking up responsibility and begin planning for the future. But responsibility does not mean you are no longer allowed to swing your sister around so fast that she lifts off the ground. I still play dinosaur with my seven year old brother. He crouches down, arms pulled into his body and uses his fingers as claws, crying out with deafening roar as he leaps onto my back. I cherish every bruise I receive.
You are also never too old to watch cartoons. I have been mocked and laughed at for my affinity for two dimensional television. Never the less there is something so profoundly pleasing in watching a show where anything can happen. Some of my fondest memories are of my siblings, mother, and me sitting at dinner watching popular shows from that time: Rugrats and Dragonball Z. My second youngest brother would laugh hysterically and say the lines three seconds before the characters would. Cartoons are what keep you afloat in life’s sea of ever storming complication. When ever you have free time you should sit back and watch the shows of your childhood, this will keep you in good spirits for the rest of the day.
At the age of sixteen you may feel like you never get the things you want. Right now you are in the rocky years when you want to do nothing more then prove yourself to those around you. It is fine to want to be recognized but do not let it get to the point that you are miserable when your shoes become outdated. When you succumb to materialism you are depending on an object to make your life worth living. Material possessions are a siren call luring people in with its sweet song, but in the end your boat will crash on the rocks. The closer you are to your possessions the less joy you will have in your life. You will never be satisfied with what you already have. The little things in life that bring you joy cannot be bought and some will not be around forever.
Memories bring joy. I can vividly recall the last time my own Grandmother was truly herself before she became so sick that she no longer remembered what day it was. I was standing in my kitchen swaying back and forth making a bagel, my back to the rest of the kitchen and the sweet smell of cream cheese and fresh bread filling the air. My grandmother came behind me smiling, placing her hands on my waist and began to sway with me. I turned around, and laughing, the two of us danced to an silent rhythm in our heads. Remembering this brings tears to my eyes, but I’m smiling as I wipe away the salty droplets. Memories of baking muffins together or summers spent at my Grandparents’ house in Florida block out the sadness. I hope that you and I will have plenty of happy memories that you will remember once I can no longer do so.
The things that make you laugh or smile are what make life satisfying. These things can be as simple as a smile from your Grandmother or making a fort out of blankets and pillows. All that matters is that you are happy with yourself at the end of the day. Go through life with this philosophy and you will never go wrong.
Forever loving you, Past, Present, or Future,
Gianna Romano is a very silly person whose frank and ridiculous observations have brought many unsuspecting people to their knees (as they should seeing as she is convinced she is the reincarnation of Alexander the Great). Her first published work oddly enough has none of these qualities but instead is a heartfelt message from the past to the future.