This is for my former boss, Bill. Remember Bill?
I sent him a Christmas card last week that said “Merry Christmas Grandpa” because, well he’s old. And with the card, I enclosed this letter and photo to him. I want the world to know how awesome he is…
My Dearest Grampa Bill,
Do you like the card? I picked it out myself. You’ll also be happy to know that you are literally the only person I’m sending a Christmas card to mainly because I wanted to tell you a story…
The other day I went to Target. I wandered the aisles in search of stocking stuffers. I found some.
I also found a large bottle of Pinot Grigio, 2 sets of under cabinet lights, 2 throw pillows, 6 pairs of socks, snow boots, one of those lightbulb grabber pole thingies for high ceilings, a blanket, 2 ornaments, curtains for Summer’s bedroom, a sweater, a tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and the most glorious pair of pink fuzzy slippers money could buy.
And as I walked to my car after dropping $200 on a whole bunch of shit I never knew I needed, I had a thought that made me realize I needed to write to you.
Five years ago, I handmade all of the Christmas presents I gave to my family, not because I was feeling extra crafty that year. I was married to a man who kept his money to himself while I was broke with every penny I made at my job going toward daycare and my half of the mortgage. Needless to say, a spool of yarn and teaching myself how to knit 5 scarves was much cheaper than anything I could have found at a store. But the other day as I loaded up my trunk full of presents for me and my family, I was not anxious. I was not scared of what else that money should have gone towards like I would have been five years ago. I was actually in awe of the fact that $200 didn’t hurt me, I was able to use my debit card instead of charging everything, and I knew that I still had enough money in the bank to pay for groceries and another large bottle of wine after I polished off the new one that night for dinner.
I mean with dinner.
No, I don’t.
I think back to the last five years – married, house-poor, new baby, new job title, divorce, calling a cozy little apartment home for four years, and now a pretty new house for me and Summer that I bought on my own with no child support, no co-signers, just me. I did that. But you know what?
You did that.
With one phone call you made to me on that fateful morning, one small leap of faith you took on me to join your team, you changed my entire life in ways you may not even realize. You were with me the day I rode the train home by myself from the city after a judge freed me from a bad marriage. You were with me the day I signed my apartment lease to start my new life, knowing I could afford the rent on my own. You were with me every time I was able to write a check for daycare and kindergarten. You were with me the day I realized I’d be just fine without a child support check every month. You were with me helping me save every penny I could for four years to make a new life for me and my baby now. You were with me last spring as I walked through houses for sale hoping to find one I could be proud of, and you were with me the day I found my beautiful house in a safe neighborhood with a school district that would help Summer grow and excel. You were with me when I unexpectedly had to buy four new tires a few months ago. You were with me and my doggy when I paid the vet $400 at what was supposed to be just a checkup. You were with me the day I painted every inch of the walls in my house just because I could, because they were mine. And you were with me at Target the other day, whispering in my ear that it would be ok if I added those pink fuzzy slippers to my cart, to go ahead and spoil myself a little because it had been way too long.
You were with me because you made it all possible.
I don’t think about what life would be like right now had you not called me that day asking if you could tuck me under your wing and add me to your team, because life right now is too good to think dark thoughts of what could have been. Instead, I hold my head high knowing I am strong, I am independent, I am a good mama. I have a happy, healthy little girl who sleeps soundly at night and tells me I’m her most favoritest person in the whole wide world while patting my cheek. And I close my eyes every night knowing I am safe, I am ok, maybe a little drunk, and I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. And it is wonderful.
You did that.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Love Your Amazingly Fierce, Young, Humbled and Grateful Granddaughter,