A trio of three vintage suitcases of different sizes and colors sits on a wooden floor to the right of an open red door.

A Letter to My Nieces and Nephews

A trio of three vintage suitcases of different sizes and colors sits on a wooden floor to the right of an open red door.

Dec. 26, 2022

Dearest ones,

Hi, sweethearts. I know this letter will come as a great surprise to you, since we’ve only talked by Facetime and phone perhaps 25 times or so in your young lives. (How did you get to be teenagers while I wasn’t paying attention?)

Living so many miles away from my precious nieces and nephews, while also working full-time, makes it difficult to even know how to begin to be a part of your life. 

My Grandma Jean – your Great Grandma– was amazing at this “bridging the distance” stuff.

While your dads and I were growing up mostly on the east coast, she lived all the way across the country in Santa Ana, California. But every year, Grandma Jean would hop on a Delta 747 and show up at the door of wherever we were living.

She always came with at least five giant suitcases. She was staying for a while, usually at least a month or two, and sometimes three.

It always seemed like Grandma Judie was upset about this. My Mom smiled, welcomed and hugged Grandma Jean, and was of course the very picture of graciousness. But I could feel the tension in the air. And it lasted for as long as Grandma Jean was there.

I think your Grandma Judie felt like she was always being judged by her mother-in-law. (A lot of women feel that way about their mothers-in-law for some reason.)

Anyway, as you can see in this very brief snapshot of my childhood, Grandma Jean did not let distance keep her from being a very important part of our lives. Family, to her, was the most important thing in the world. She put family above everything and fought to have time with us.

True, when I was growing up Grandma Jean didn’t have the responsibility of a full-time job and limited funds to keep her close to home. But I have the wonders of modern technology in my hands — and know how to use it. Grandma Jean would’ve been Facetiming me every day if she had lived to see it!

And so, I have no excuse for allowing distance to separate me from you as you’ve been growing up.

I am sorry.

I have allowed so much time to pass, I fear it’s too late to make up lost time with you.  But I want to try. And so I am writing this letter to you to knock on the door.

I didn’t bring five suitcases, but I brought my heart.

With Love,
Your Contrite Aunt Michelle

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