Happy 70th birthday to my Mom! Otherwise known as Grammy! A woman who gives more of herself to others than anybody else I know. It’s hard to come up with exactly the right words to express my love and appreciation for her so I turned to my equally Grammy-devoted kids for help. 

Mazzy says she loves her soft tickles (that’s when Grammy tickles her back), her “niceness” (because Grammy is super nice) and that Grammy always gets them pizza (very true.)

Harlow says that if she had to describe Grammy in one word, it would be “Grammy.” Pretty succinct.

This past weekend, we had a small family brunch to celebrate. We would have had a big party but the ruling came down from above that absolutely in no way did Grammy want a party and if we threw her a surprise party, she would be very mad.

Okay, Grammy. No surprises.

In the past, my sister and I have struggled with what to get the most amazing woman in our lives because a scarf or a spa gift certificate doesn’t come to close to acknowledging how much she means to us. But Grammy always says that all she wants is pictures of her grandkids and for us to call her more often.

In honor of the picture request, my sister and I decided to make Grammy a scrapbook. It seemed a little more special than printing out a photo book or a calendar on an app. Even though, I’m sure she would have loved those as well.

At first, it started with just photos of the kids. We both scrounged around for every photo of the kids with Grammy that we could find. This one is from the day we went shopping for lemonade ingredients for Mazzy and Harlow’s first ever lemonade stand. That was Grammy’s idea.

My sister and I got scrapbook supplies at a local paper store and got to work. We had each of the kids create their own page, with baby photos, recent photos and personal notes. Since our kids are seven, four, three and one, the pages weren’t quite as perfect as they would have been if we put them together ourselves.

Photo corners were crooked, spacing wasn’t aligned and Neve just scribbled in place of a note (understandable.) It really was an exercise in setting aside your need for order and symmetry and just trusting that Grammy would like it better this way.

I admit, I liked it better that way too.

My sister and I both wrote notes as well and then asked our husbands if they wanted to do the same. I gave Mike a small card to write his sentiments and he surprised me by handing back a full sheet of paper, his words tiny and barely legible, but beyond heartfelt. Mike does not show his sensitive side often and I was a little taken aback. “I like to surprise people,” he told me, when I gave him the side eye.

Then I had to reconfigure a bunch of pages to make room. I won’t share his letter (wouldn’t want his friends to know he can be a mush) but I’ll share mine.

Then we asked my stepfather, my uncle, and my stepbrothers to contribute pictures and letters too. In the end, we had something really special that represented the whole family.

We couldn’t figure out what picture to use for the cover until Mazzy had the idea to draw a picture of Grammy.

My mom loved it. Obviously. And Mazzy and Harlow were so excited to present it to her.

“I did that page!” Mazzy pointed out. “I did that page!” Harlow pointed to another.

“You guys did good,” my stepfather told my sister and I later that day.

I know, I thought, but it still didn’t feel like enough. And then I realized what we really have to do…