“I Don’t Have Much, But I Have You:” A Letter From A Broke Grandma

Do you ever log onto Facebook and marvel over friends’ and acquaintances’ photos where they are taking an exotic vacation, zipping around in their Lexus, or baking cookies with their grandkids in the Food Network-worthy kitchen? Social media is a weird thing, as this highlight reel may seem like their usual, but you often aren’t getting the complete picture that shows their family life and relationships. Money (or, most often, debt) does not equal happiness, which is why we found this letter from a self-proclaimed “broke grandma” to be so powerful and endearing.

To my beloved grandchild:
My heart, my soul, my everything.

We live in a material world with nice and expensive things, 
And are told that bigger is always better and that the more you have, the better off you are.
You need the most prominent house with the highest HOA fees and a brand-new, just-off-the-assembly-line car to park in its garage. 
This will make you happy, along with designer clothes, fancy meals, and all-inclusive vacations.

I cannot give you these things, and for that, I am sorry.

I’m sorry I can’t give you the name-brand snacks they advertise during commercial breaks or the trip to Disney that they try to sell after that.
I’m sorry I couldn’t get you that toy you wanted for Christmas and that I don’t have a smartphone for you to play with when you visit.
I’m sorry my car isn’t the newest or the prettiest and that it makes weird noises when I hit the brakes.
I’m sorry that I don’t dress as nicely as your friends’ grandmas and that we don’t get to go on as many outings as they do.

There are days when I beat myself down for this, and there are more nights, I am afraid to admit, that I fall asleep feeling sorry for myself and all of these so-called shortcomings. If only I could give you the world, especially when you, my sweet one, are MY world. 

Though I can’t give you the material things – the trips, the toys, the expensive snacks, or the fancy screens – there is one thing that you already have and will continue to have: My undying love.

You are my entire world, my heart walking outside of my body. I adore you and thank God daily for giving you to our family – to me. It’s hard to remember a time before you because the day you were born feels like the day I was born, too. I wish I could give you everything and take you to all the places (though my years of experience tell me this isn’t necessarily the best thing anyway), but since I can’t, I hope that you will accept my love, time, and affection. 

While I can’t take you to Disney, I can take you to the library for countless read-alouds, a picnic lunch with my famous PB&Js, and my unwavering attention and admiration.

It’s not the coolest new toy, but let’s get bundled up and be the first to get seats at the parade (you love a parade!). Let’s bring candy and chalk to bide our time while we wait. (Truth be told, when other kids have had it with that new toy after 15 minutes or so, you and I will still be reminiscing about all the fun we had on that particular day!)

My car may not be the best, but it can sure get us around safely and keep us comfortable whenever we drive around to look at Christmas lights or park on a hill to watch the 4th of July fireworks. 

I hope that you see that it isn’t the things that I can (or cannot) buy you that show my love but rather my time, attention, and dedication. I don’t have much, but I have you and will forever be your biggest fan and supporter.

I love you. 

Little girl feeding the ducks with Grandma
Flickr/Sue Thompson

Does anyone else have goosebumps? This really put things into perspective and gives me a lot to think about, as spoiling doesn’t necessarily mean “things,” but time and attention. I hope you found this letter just as touching as I did. 

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