Dear Eli

October 10, 2017

“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!” ~ Dr Seuss | One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Eli – September 2017   (with your pink ice cream + sprinkles)

Dear Eli

It's such an odd mix of ease and difficulty as I write to you.

One one hand it's simple. A piece of cake really.  There's just so much to say.  You're a fountain of exuberance, like a helium balloon that floats through life with energy, zest, and joy.  (ps:  Your mom loved them too at your age .. purple and shiny were always her request)

The good cheer you've brought to our lives is more than worthy of documenting.  But on the other hand, I don't feel a need to document it quite as much now because two things have happened.  Sadly I don't get to be with you in your everydays anymore, and your free and easy spirit keeps getting clearer and clearer.  I never have to search for it.  Whenever I'm with you ..

there's good all around

True confessions?  When you were a little guy, it was harder for me.  I'm a far better mother/grandmother with kids that are a bit older, and sometimes I had to squint my eyes so tightly that it was hard to see anything in front of myself at all.  (Does the famous “It's not you, it's me” apply here?  Yes.  Perfectly)  

As I felt off-kilter, sometimes I needed to steady myself on the beauty.  Needed to fix my eyes on the good.  So I wrote.  And I wrote and I wrote, and it felt like I was writing for you Sweetie, but really?

I was writing for me

Eli – September 2017  (Grandma, will you go on the Ferris wheel with me?)

But now it's different.  I don't feel like I need to write for myself.  At least not in the same way.  When we're together, I don't need the daily (almost minutely) reminders to enjoy the small moments, because there are so many of them.  Writing them all down would feel a bit redundant.

When we're together I really just want to sit down and build another Lego tower together.  You know?  I want to settle into the minutes we do have.  Getting to know your little brother Ezra, meeting your friends at school, chatting with your mom, afternoon adventures to the ice cream parlor

Could it be a trap, Eli?  Is this what it means to take for granted these moments together?  The idea that they're enough?  That they supersede all need for documentation?  Am I kidding myself that I won't need to write it down to remember the beauty of these days?

Maybe.  Maybe not

Do you know that when we were way up high on the Ferris wheel, you helped me in the best of ways?

“Grandma?  How ‘ya ‘doin?”

“I'm not sure Sweetie.  I mean, I'm ok, but I'm a little afraid of heights”


“I'm not entirely sure; I'll practice my yoga breathing and be ok.  Can you tell me a story to distract me?”


“So I can think about something else”


“Because I have to do that sometimes.  It can be a bad habit, or also a really big blessing”

“I think it's a really big bressing Some days I want to forget things too”

“Yeah?  Me too”

And I think you cracked the code, sweet Eli.  On my long drive home, I couldn't help but think that maybe it's in the forgetting that we learn and grow and improvise.  And sometimes it's in the forgetting that we can also remember

xoxo .. Grandma

Ezzie – September 2017 – 8 months old

Something you might not know about me, Eli?

I write a few things in my gratitude journal every night and sometimes share parts of it here.  My visit to see your family was part of a two-week long vacation of sorts.  One day when you're old enough to read this, I'd love to share some of the other pretty cool parts with you too

strawberry ice cream with sprinkles .. always with sprinkles

sidewalk chalk on the soles of your shoes

vienna sausage fingers on babies

two pm margaritas with a side of mac and cheese

passing the hours with some really great audio books

that your first instinct is almost always correct

the first kiss of fall

the anticipation of hugging your daughter in one more day

Abby – September 2017 – Overlooking Billings, Montana

‘Hound Dog' by Elvis

lazy daydreaming under big Montana skies

being kind to yourself and letting your soul exhale in relief

making the effort

figuring out the hotel shower

a jillion kids' shoes by the front door

someone to remind us that we're not alone

coloring books and beginner crayon sets

the beauty of driving through Wyoming

calling your husband to tell him he was right, it truly is other-worldly

Photo Credit:

Photo credit:

hoping cucumber water will balance out one too many McDonald's sundaes (yes, please, with nuts, super light on the hot fudge .. this can not become a habit)  

kids that tell you “I didn't realize it then. But, you know Mom, you did good”

long hugs

breakfast omelets at a small town diner

mountains in the distance

the feeling that you're in a totally different world

someone who's known you through all of your (many) lives .. and loves you anyway

old photos of you and your brother that she keeps in a frame. truly, were we ever that young?

a new (to you) Whole Foods to explore

the first kiss of fall

Ezra – September 2017

Eli and Ezzie – September 2017

two little boys who still think being with their parents is the best thing in life

chalky little fingers all the colors of the rainbow

pumpkins heaped at a roadside stand

smile lines

calling your mother to thank her for all the years she let you have the long John Silver crumblies

someone who tells you you're beautiful

g lone gas station when your car is on E

getting lost + then found on Montana’s backcountry highways

confessing your latest mishap over a stiff drink (and maybe a few tears)

the words “I love you”

comin’ home


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  • Reply Saint Facetious October 10, 2017 at 2:35 am

    Such a beautiful and heartfelt write, I can feel the nostalgia in it, and though you’re writing this in the present, I feel as though reading it, I’m Eli reading it in 20 years. Beautiful pics and children.

  • Reply Robin October 10, 2017 at 4:19 am

    What a sweet little boy. They always say that being a grandparent is better than being a parent and someday I will find that out for myself 🙂

  • Reply Paula Bendfeldt Diaz October 10, 2017 at 5:18 am

    Such a beautiful post! Your grandsons are adorable. This made me think about how I need to really stop and enjoy my kids and cherish those little things that I am thankful for and don’t want to forget. 🙂

  • Reply Alli Smith October 10, 2017 at 6:16 am

    Beautiful words! My grandkids mean the world to me and they only live 10 minutes away. I love hanging out with them and seeing the world through their eyes. Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself not to take these precious moments for granted. They will be grown in a blink of an eye.

  • Reply Marysa October 10, 2017 at 7:07 am

    What a great collection of thoughts. Family is such an important thing, so sweet that you have a close relationship with your grandson. Sounds like you really appreciate your time together. I lost both my parents and I have a small family, and it makes me sad not to have those close family members.

  • Reply Amber Myers October 10, 2017 at 7:20 am

    This is such a sweet post. As always, I enjoy looking at your gratitude list. And yes, Wyoming is gorgeous to drive through! I lived there for about 5 years.

  • Reply Tomi C October 10, 2017 at 7:54 am

    What a beautiful letter to your grandson. I started keeping a journal long before my kids were born hoping one day my children will read or better yet, their children will read it and appreciate the fact that I’ve ALWAYS loved them.

  • Reply Candy October 10, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Keeping a gratitude journal is a wonderful idea. Writing this to your grandson is a wonderful gesture and I hope his mom keeps the letter.

  • Reply Sapphire October 10, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Eli is so adorable. I also keep a gratitude journal, as I love journaling! You have inspired me to write letters to my kids 🙂

  • Reply Jeanette October 10, 2017 at 9:24 am

    He is so adorable! I love that you’re doing this. It is a gift that he will be able to hold onto his entire life. Don’t ever stop doing these.

  • Reply Ashley October 10, 2017 at 9:33 am

    This just might be the SWEETEST thing I’ve ever read. your love for your grandkids is quite simply the most beautiful thing. one of the greatest gifts is to be a grandparent 🙂

  • Reply Val October 10, 2017 at 9:55 am

    My boys are the oldest two of my Mom’s grandchildren. They are close in relationship as well as proximity. She has other grandchildren she doesn’t get to see and it’s hard for her.

  • Reply Claire October 10, 2017 at 11:23 am

    what a lovely way to convey how you feel. Just so touching and heartfelt. We are all so busy that we forget to tell our loved ones how we truly feel.

  • Reply Stephanie Sherlock October 10, 2017 at 11:38 am

    I love being a grandmother. Its the best thing that ever happened to me. I can see you feel the same. I want to savor every single second.

  • Reply Mike October 10, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I hope to have kids one day and eventually grandchildren. But I hope yours will read your letters to them when they are older and it will remind them that they come from a great family.

  • Reply Angie October 10, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    What a very real and heartfelt letter. I’m expecting my first child in December, and I’m equal parts excited and terrified… Reading this gives me a different angle on how it feels to be a parent/grandparent-both of which I have yet to experience. Thanks for sharing your realness with us!

  • Reply Sarah Bailey October 10, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Oh wow what a lovely, heartfelt letter from you. I bet it will bring many smiles to Eli when he is older and can read it for himself.

  • Reply Star Harford October 10, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    This is such a lovely post! You can tell you have so much love for your Grandson. I write a diary for my daughter, I started a few years ago and hope to give it to her when she is 18, just thoughts and memories, advice that pops into my head that she may never listen to!

  • Reply Cheryl October 10, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    I feel like this with my son. It’s hard as a single mom watching him grow into a teen and knowing that he’s going to leave me in a couple of years. I cherish each moment with him and smile to myself when he comes to me on the couch for a little cuddle still.

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus October 10, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Eli is very lucky to have such a wonderful and kind grandmother and I know that he will cherish this letter for years to come. Children will appreciate you the older they get and when they realize how much you have done for them, their hearts will glow with pride. Beautiful photos and its nice to see some photos of you as well. You are stunning! x

  • Reply Mandy October 10, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    So cute, you can see how much his face has changed and how much it hasn’t it’s fascinating. Gorgeous post, you’re both very lucky.

  • Reply Pam October 10, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    I love being a grandparent. It can be hard at times, but it’s such a beautiful blessing. My granddaughter is only 18 months.

  • Reply Ivy October 10, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    That is such a sweet post. Your sentiments are so touching. People always talk about the bond between grandkids and grandparents. Excited to experience that myself one day.

  • Reply Censie Sawyer October 10, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    What a special letter to Eli. So sweet and authentic. Thank you for sharing a little about Eli. Such a handsome boy. I am not a grandparent yet but I love the bond I see my parents have with my kids. Grandparents are so special.

  • Reply Charlene October 10, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Beautiful letters. I’m not a grandmother, but I have friends who are and I’m going to suggest they do the same. Lovely ?

  • Reply Melanie October 10, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    Little boys can be so sweet and helpful. I have three, and they really look after their mom! Their grandmother loves spending time with him.

  • Reply Aziel Morte October 10, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Oh wow, I really love this letter for your Grandson and I enjoy reading this so much and I love that you’re doing this kind of letter please don’t stop 🙂

  • Reply Claudia Krusch October 10, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    I have been working on having more family time together. Kids grow up so fast. I am excited to be a Grandma one day.

  • Reply Gemille Sleweon October 11, 2017 at 2:06 am

    This is such a beautiful post! My grandmother lives in a different state, so I don’t get to see her as often as I would like. Grandma’s are to be cherished!

  • Reply Elizabeth O October 11, 2017 at 4:12 am

    I’m not a grandma yet, but I can image the joys and wonderful memories we can create with them. Eli sounds like a delightful little boy and someday he’ll get to read all of this.

  • Reply Lindsey October 11, 2017 at 9:47 am

    How darling is little Eli. It is such a wonderful thing children, they literally bring out the best in us.

  • Reply Sreekar October 11, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Beautifully written as usual and par for the course now for you I guess. Great touchy story on a simple topic. Love the joys of the relationship between the Grandma and the kids. Loved it.

  • Reply Rebekah October 11, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    what a beautiful post! this is such a great idea!

  • Reply Nadalie Bardowell October 11, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Your photographs are so clear and lovely. This was a humbling blog post, it was really sweet. I haven’t had the blessing of having children my own yet. I really like your idea of a gratitude journal and might just start doing that now.

  • Reply Mayuri October 11, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    This is such a heart-touching post. You made me nostalgic and remind me of my grandparents who loved me unconditionally. In my opinion, those kids are lucky who get to spent their childhood with grandparents. I have to share this with my grandma now. Truly loved it!

  • Reply Jhilmil October 11, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Wow, that was such a heart touching post, definitely my son’s grandparents would have also loved him equally and miss to build a lego tower with him. We are soon going to meet them and they’re all so excite with gifts. Great

  • Reply Ellie October 11, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    This is such a lovely post Ali! This really pulled at the heartstrings! I have been keeping a gratitude journal too, each day writing down 3 things I’m grateful for and it really makes a difference to my happiness and contentment.

  • Reply Blair October 11, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing your sweet post. Your grandson is so adorable and sweet. He will grow up a fine young man with a good heart.

  • Reply Kallia October 11, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Alison, your sweet letter put me in tears! You put together a very cute post and an even cuter and adorable Eli and you gave us a heartwarming letter… Thank you for sharing and I know when he gets older and reads it he will be very happy!

  • Reply Aileen Adalid October 12, 2017 at 4:16 am

    Awww, this is such a sweet letter — and insightful too. I can see how much a child can change things especially for a family. I wish all the best for Eli. This certainly feels like some sort of time capsule thing 😀

  • Reply Lena Burkut October 12, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Such a beautiful post – I absolutely love it. The funny thing about the picture with a hoodie and a drool – I have one like that too! Except the hoodie is pink and it is with my daughter

  • Reply Jajwalya October 12, 2017 at 11:16 am

    This post gave me the chills I could never expect to experience for a random post by a stranger on the internet! I cannot begin to describe why my eyes teared up just a little bit at the confessional part about gratitude. Man, family stuff just get me.
    Thanks for sharing us your life stories, I am sure your grandson Eli loves you very very much.

  • Reply Charlotte October 13, 2017 at 1:11 am

    This is so sweet! Kids really can teach us as much as we teach the! I love those ages too, when they are their own little people and still love hanging out with us!

  • Reply David Elliott October 13, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    What a beautiful letter and post. I love that you are communicating something to him that will be lasting and he can read later. And I love that you share the things that you are grateful for in your life with him. Because he will definitely see that and emulate that. I love this.

  • Reply Sajad Ahmad Mir October 13, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Eli sounds a good name, besides that one can understand the joy they can have with grandsons. Pics are also so clear ?

  • Reply Heather October 14, 2017 at 8:13 am

    What a cutie pie. Everyone says how you will miss your kids being little. It is hard to appreciate them when they’re driving you mad!

  • Reply Mike Shugrhed October 16, 2017 at 10:24 am

    This is a lovely letter to your Grandson 🙂 I think it is great that so many people are logging their lives these days. With all the blogs and vlogs we do, it is like keeping a permanent record of their growing up. It’s funny – even last year’s Halloween video they look SO much younger!!

  • Reply Brit November 2, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Wow, I love the way you write. This is such a sweet post. I have just become a mother back of January of 2016. My little girl came into the world and I wouldn’t know what to do without her. And someday maybe I will get to know what it means to be a grandparent.

  • Reply Laura November 13, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Oh I love this, what a beautifully written and heart felt post. Eli sounds like an absolute joy and I felt every word you wrote about him. What a lucky boy he is to be so loved.

  • Reply Sarah-Mae May 7, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    This is such a lovely post! Such a lovely writing style and it sounds like you have an amazing family!

  • Reply Iya - Louisa May 19, 2018 at 8:28 am

    I love this! Such a beautiful and loving post. I am a massive fan of dr Seuss so I just loved this quote along with the other pieces

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