Dear Sam

May 18, 2017

Dear Sam

Sam – 18 months old – May 2017 ✌

A story

In college, I studied math and computer science.  Your dad was born during finals week, December 1992.  I was 21.  When spring came, and the weather warmed up, he and I spent most afternoons on in a small cubby on the SW corner on the second floor of the university's library.  I worked on calculus problems while he napped in his stroller

Sometimes a neighbor would keep and him for a few hours, and on those days I'd walk instead to the M-Shop to write.  This was back in the day Sweetie when computers were just coming on the scene, so everything was written long-hand in my spiral notebook.  (Isn't it hard to imagine a world without Google?)

I was convinced I'd pen an ever-so-slightly-embellished memoir about spending my college years in the thick of marriage and motherhood.  I didn't finish a book, but I did write at my favorite table as often as I could.  Convinced this would be the day a bit of coolness from all of the people around me would settle into my soul and sprout a brilliant ..

work of literature

Happy Mother's Day Sweetie, you're such a good one! ?

If I walked the long way through the park, there was one hill in particular that seemed worse than others.

It certainly wasn't for the faint of calves. It felt high and long and grueling, with just enough incline and not nearly enough ways to talk myself out of the route.  Going around meant adding extra time to my walking commute, and the only thing I hated worse (at the time) than exercise was

exercise that took a long time

So every day I'd put one foot in front of the other, cheeks flushed, head down, fists clenched.  My hair would get sweaty, and I'd get down on myself for gaining nearly a hundred pounds(!) while I was pregnant, or my tummy for craving so much cheese the night before

The reality was the journey wasn't that far, nor the hill that high, and before I knew it, I'd arrived.

And Sam, it would hit me every time.  The beauty of campus in the spring, the swans on Lake Laverne, beautiful flowering trees,  geese parents stopping traffic while their goslings crossed the road.  It didn't take long before I'd rescinded my woe-is-me thoughts and instead shifted my focus toward


Lake Laverne - Iowa State University

Lake Laverne – Iowa State University – May 2017

It takes a change of perspective to notice this about ourselves.

Our bad habits of blaming life, and cheese, and writing spot locations.  It takes the company of something larger than us, beauty so big that we find our very eyes and bodies and spirits caught up in that which lies before us.  And sometimes it takes a grueling hill to see that our valleys are little more than inconveniences nestled between truly

great and beautiful moments

One day sweet one, one day your parents too will tell you stories that you probably won't believe

When I visited this Mother's Day weekend, we spent the afternoon cooking together.  (Your dad is a whale of a cook)  While you napped, we shared steaming hot bowls of miso soup, and they filled me in on a few I'd never heard.

They too told of seasons when they were quick to blame circumstances:  they'd lost <everything>, couldn't get a job, couldn't catch a break, couldn't find a place to live, didn't feel supported or understood.  Walking and walking with cheeks flushed, head down, fists clenched

Your parents – How I love them so

Sam, did you know that they've been together since the sixth grade(?!)

During all of these years, they've been through many valleys and have always reached the top of the hills together.  And when they do, they shake their heads at themselves for ever doubting their strength

One day you'll understand, this stage is a hard one.  Finding your sea legs in life is no small thing, especially with the demands of school and work and a little guy underfoot.  But it's never long before their focus shifts to how grateful they are, mostly for you

They're choosing to be grateful for your high energy, that I'm sure will come in handy one day when they'll need their driveway shoveled.  Gratitude for the strong will you'll call upon when peer pressure arrives, and things start to look hard

Gratitude for your endurance, especially at 2 am.  It will come in handy one day as you walk up your own hills.  When you overcome your own fears and blame inconveniences, to witness something beautiful.  Something beyond your wildest imaginations; a life that awaits you

And Sam, you might need a little guidance getting there, and that's where we come in

Consider this letter the official blueprint.  Construction TBD

xoxo .. Grandma

I love you. Thank you for the gift of getting to being a part of your life.   xoxo .. Mom

You Might Also Like


  • Reply robin rue May 18, 2017 at 4:22 am

    Wow, sixth grade? You just reminded me that I asked my 7th grader about a girlfriend the other day and he said “NO WAY” – he’s not into girls yet. GOOD!

  • Reply Akamatra May 18, 2017 at 6:04 am

    this is such a nice story and so touching too! I wish my grandmas were younger when I was at the age you describe!

  • Reply Candy May 18, 2017 at 6:59 am

    I remember being poor college students with a little one running around. Times were tough and great all at the sometime. Wonderful letter you shared. Being a grandparent is the best we do love our grandchildren.

  • Reply Amber Myers May 18, 2017 at 7:22 am

    This is such a sweet letter! I love it. And your photos are lovely–I love the one of the university. So many colors!

  • Reply Jeanette May 18, 2017 at 8:28 am

    What a sweet letter! This is something that Sam is going to cherish the rest of his life. You have such elegant writing and the pictures are beautiful.

  • Reply Sarah Bailey May 18, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Oh what a lovely letter and a wonderful thing to look back on in years to come for all of you.

  • Reply Milly Youngman May 18, 2017 at 9:20 am

    This is so beautifully written – definitely wonderful to read back in the future too!

  • Reply Deborah Nicholas May 18, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Aww how lovely and such a beautiful thing for you both to look back on too. Keep writing these letters as i use to all the time for hubby then we stopped, really must start again as its a lovely way to make them know how much they mean!

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus May 18, 2017 at 10:08 am

    He is beautiful just like his grandma and I think he will cherish this letter for as long as he lives. It is nice to know that he can look back on this and remember how things were back then x

  • Reply Lisa May 18, 2017 at 10:58 am

    I love this letter. I think this is something we all need to have in our lives. We all need to remember the roads we’ve traveled and where our parents and grandparents have been.

  • Reply Pam Wattenbarger May 18, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    This is such a sweet letter. It’s so important to write things like this so your family will know where you’ve been and what you’ve gone through, and your perspective on what they’ve been through too.

  • Reply Daisy May 18, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    That is such a sweet heartfelt letter. It is amazing what we would do for our little ones. I wrote similar letters to my kids over the years. It’s a great way to document life.

  • Reply Danik May 18, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Beautiful written letter. Very heartfelt and a great insight into your feelings towards children 🙂

  • Reply Melanie May 18, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    What a beautifully written letter. It will be something to look back on in years to come and reminisce.

  • Reply Betty May 18, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    What a sweet and heartfelt letter! Wow together since 6th grade, how awesome! That must a record!

  • Reply Jade May 18, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    This is so sweet and hearfelt. I always enjoy these posts as they’re lovely to look back on.

  • Reply Karissa May 18, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    This is a nice letter to future Sam! I would love to have these now from my family. I think you appreciate this kind of thing the older you get. Thanks for sharing the story of your parents meeting/finals week birth!

  • Reply Melanie May 18, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    What a sweet letter from grandma. Grandparents are such a special part of a child’s life. How wonderful that you are able to be a part of his! I am thankful for the grandparents that take a part in my children’s lives.

  • Reply Renee May 18, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    Oh my gosh what a letter! I love reading these letters to future or past people it gives you insight into a person. I love the time I spent with my grandparents and have always treasured memories with them.

  • Reply Lisa Favre May 18, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    What a touching and loving letter. Writing letters to my children is actually a tradition that I would like to start. Yours is so beautifully written and greatly detailed – how wonderful!

  • Reply Christy Maurer May 18, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    That is so sweet! I am looking forward to being a grandma…not for a few more years though lol. I know it will be the best! My cousin and his wife have been together since 4th grade! They are in their early 60s now!

  • Reply Censie Sawyer May 18, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Aw. What an amazing letter to Sam. Grandmas are so important in grandkids lives. He is going to hold this letter tight for years to come. It is so hard to believe how fast it goes.

  • Reply Vera May 18, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    This was beautiful. Such a touching letter to Sam. I cant wait for him to read it once he’s older. This put a big smile on my face!

  • Reply Mae May 18, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Wow, such a sweet and personal letter! I love posts like these that are personal and inspiring. I agree that it’s important to be reminded of precious moments so we can always reminisce the joys and recall life’s past lessons too

  • Reply Gwendolyn May 18, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    What a beautiful and touching letter. This is such a heartwarming post and I love the photos.

  • Reply Laura May 19, 2017 at 12:49 am

    Aw what a beautiful story, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy! xxx

  • Reply Eileen May 19, 2017 at 12:54 am

    This is the sweetest. I didn’t at first realize who was writing the story! Which made the want to keep going. Lovely perspective.

  • Reply David Elliott May 19, 2017 at 1:13 am

    Such beautiful pictures here. And there is a cute story behind it all. Love it!

  • Reply Payton May 19, 2017 at 2:07 am

    Thank you for sharing your letter. I married young too, still in college working for my degree. I can so relate to this, attending classes, pregnant and all. But guess what, it was all worth it. And I would not exchange it for anything in the world!

  • Reply Annemarie LeBlanc May 19, 2017 at 2:13 am

    What a heartwarming letter. I hope you do get to write that book. I am also dreaming of putting together a memoir, for my grandchildren and great grandchildren to know more about me.

  • Reply Rhian Westbury May 19, 2017 at 3:14 am

    What a lovely story and well done you for dealing with parenthood and sticking out university x

  • Reply Kathryn Maher May 19, 2017 at 4:07 am

    What a lovely and poignant piece of writing and dedicated to this wonderful little man in your lives …..Sam! He is a gorgeous child and I’m not surprised that you are doting grandparents to him. What a lovely story that his parents know each other for so long . They look so happy together and so content. Also what a great and resilient mum you have been… Well done!

  • Reply Alli Smith May 19, 2017 at 4:31 am

    What a sweet letter! I can imagine Sam all grown up and reading this letter from you and learning more about you. He’s blessed to have a grandma like you.

  • Reply Terri Beavers May 19, 2017 at 6:10 am

    This is absolutely precious. Sam is as well. I have to mention that Lake Laverne is absolutely stunning. I’d love to go sit there and just relax.

  • Reply Yaya May 19, 2017 at 6:35 am

    What a sweet and lovely letter to Sam. It’s beautiful to be able to capture these memories (on a computer 😉 and be able to save them for years to come.

  • Reply Candy May 19, 2017 at 6:44 am

    I commented on this yesterday about how wonderful your photos were and making memories. They grow up to fast so enjoy every moment even the bad ones, the good ones will always be more.

  • Reply HeidiDee May 19, 2017 at 6:56 am

    What a sweet letter! My husband and I are at that point in our life- college with a toddler and I’m totally feeling this!

  • Reply Tina Butler May 19, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Beautifully written. The photo of the campus with all the purple flowers is gorgeous, Actually all the photos are beautiful and those blue eyes!!! Sam is a lucky guy to have you as a mother.

  • Reply Jemma May 19, 2017 at 8:39 am

    What a wonderful letter to Sam, so touching. Beautiful photos too 🙂

  • Reply Emily Leary May 19, 2017 at 8:46 am

    So lovely, I couldn’t help but picture what Sam’s reaction will be when he’s old enough to read it. Made me smile 🙂

  • Reply Melanie May 19, 2017 at 9:08 am

    This is such a lovely letter and the photos are beautiful too 🙂 x

  • Reply Anosa May 19, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Such a beautiful letter grandma I am sure son and your grandchild definitely will appreciate this. I am also impressed 6th graders in love to this day wow

  • Reply Monica May 19, 2017 at 11:53 am

    You made me cry. This is so beautiful and I am sure the kids would appreciate it. I have always loved the concept of time capsules and letters like this would be a great addition to add to a package. My friend started an email address for her kid and every month she emails her an accomplishments of the month. once her daughter is old enough she will give her access to the email so the daughter can read all of them. Doing this for sure soon.

  • Reply Ayushi May 19, 2017 at 11:55 am

    What a heart warming letter. Grand Mas Have always been great, this is so sweetly described. Sixth grade is sure to bring some great memories.

  • Reply Marlynn May 19, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Awww what a sweet, sweet letter. Thank you for sharing their story -and yours- with us. This is beautiful!

  • Reply Christina May 19, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    This is such a nice thing to do – to share this letter! What a sweet letter. Thank you for sharing, it’s so endearing.

  • Reply Lori Bosworth May 19, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    What a lovely letter to your grandson. He is so cute! It sounds like your son and daughter-in-law have an amazing relationship. Wow, that’s surprising that they’ve been together since the sixth grade.

  • Reply Jenna May 19, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Loved reading this. You can just hear how it all comes from the heart. Those are my favorite things to read!

  • Reply Ayse May 19, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Such a lovely letter. i think it’s amazing to write letters to little ones and express feelings and memories as they happen. x

  • Reply Jenny May 19, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Just had to Google what age is 6th grade! Wow, lucky them to have found each other so young. Hope they have many more years of happiness together.

  • Reply TIm B May 19, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    I visited Iowa State back in the 90’s for a debate competition in college. It is a very nice campus.

  • Reply Dana May 19, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Such a sweet letter to Sam! I love the perspective with which it was written. It sounds like Sam has been brought into a loving and caring family!

  • Reply Jess Howliston May 19, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    wow what a beautifully written letter so touching and personal it was so lovely to read! Its so lovely they have each other and thank you for sharing this for us to read! x

  • Reply Mal May 19, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Such a beautiful message! He will one day read it and it will bring great happiness to his life! It’s a wonderful gesture.

  • Reply Sarah May 19, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Aww this is so sweet, and what a lovely way to tell a story. So beautifully written xx

  • Reply Jenn May 19, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    I love this post. What a sweet letter, and such a nice way to tell a story. I bet looking back at this later will be so nice.

  • Reply Emerson May 19, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    How sweet. I can imagine it as a written letter. Even more adorable!

    XOXO //

  • Reply Teresa May 20, 2017 at 12:27 am

    What a sweet tribute to write for your child and grandchild . . so lovely to read. I hope you have kept your dream of wriritg abook someday, you write very well. and poetically.

  • Reply Kita Bryant May 20, 2017 at 1:41 am

    This made me choke up. What a beautiful story to leave your grandson.

  • Reply Maggie May 20, 2017 at 1:57 am

    This would be a nice letter to put in a time capsule and sealed. I have been contemplating on that idea too. To write a letter to my children and future grandchildren with the instructions that it shall only be opened and read like 20 or 30 years from now.

  • Reply Elizabeth May 20, 2017 at 1:58 am

    How adorable! They grow up so quickly, don’t they. My eldest is 17 now!

  • Reply Abbi May 20, 2017 at 4:42 am

    What a heartfelt letter and a beautiful thing to do for your grandchild. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Jaime Nicole May 20, 2017 at 6:14 am

    What a sweet letter. Our kids grow up so fast. I can’t believe my oldest is a sophomore in high school already.

  • Reply shelley May 20, 2017 at 6:24 am

    what a beautiful written post and I love all the photographs too – don’t they just grow up too fast, aha?!

  • Reply Daniela Miovska May 20, 2017 at 8:11 am

    Beautifully written! It is such an emotional story, and I love the pictures. It is a wonderful place the lake Laverne! Loved it!

  • Reply David Elliott May 20, 2017 at 9:59 am

    This is such a cute little story about how life changes. I love how it tries to teach lessons to your little ones. I know I have heard about people writing letters to their older self. Or they write a letter about their hopes and dreams of what they will become when they are older. A piece of grandmotherly advice would probably be quite welcome and a whole other perspective.

  • Reply Elena May 20, 2017 at 10:29 am

    This is so touching and inspiring. The post is very beautifully written and so full of emotions. I also love the pictures.

  • Reply Michelle Cantu May 20, 2017 at 11:04 am

    This is amazingly sweet. It also reminds me that I am incredibly lucky to still get to hear my grandmothers voice every week, but if she had words written just for me… that would be so special. I don’t write to my children often enough.

  • Reply Jenny May 20, 2017 at 11:33 am

    This oiss such a great yet sweet story. Sam is adorable and i am sure he will appreciate this letter one day.

  • Reply shannon ritchie May 20, 2017 at 11:43 am

    What a beautifully written story, so heartfelt and inspiring x

  • Reply Nayna Kanabar May 20, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    What a beautiful letter , it will make a perfect keepsake.

  • Reply Reese May 20, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Such a sweet letter.. loving it actually

  • Reply Tina May 20, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    What a lovely post! Did you take those photos yourself? They are fantastic! I am a grandma also to a little one just a year old. It’s such a wonderful stage to be in, looking back with eyes that can appreciate the journey. I’m sure he will appreciate this post when he is older <3

  • Reply Tami May 20, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    I have been telling my recently graduated daughter stories about my young adult experiences. I wish I would’ve drafted a letter for each of my children when they were younger. I may have remembered more to tell them.

  • Reply Debra J Hawkins May 21, 2017 at 12:08 am

    I absolutely love this! I want to write letters like this to keep wonderful memories alive! It was so wonderful reading this part of your life!

  • Reply Lily May 21, 2017 at 9:52 am

    This is so sweet! It was so touching. I will write a letter too for my kids so that someday they will know how my life has been changed when i became a mother.

  • Reply Lynne Harper May 21, 2017 at 10:10 am

    What a beautifully written letter this will be amazing to look back on, adore the featured pictures 🙂 x

  • Reply Jess May 21, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    This is a sweet little letter. This will be so sweet to look back on.

  • Reply Rose May 21, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    How sweet this is, brought tears to my face. I feel like I was reading a letter I would wrote my son.

  • Reply Leah Lander-Shafik May 21, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    How lovely! I loved how it was written and that it’s something to look back on. x

  • Reply Tanya Brannan May 21, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    What a beautiful and poignant letter. I read this with a big smile on my face and the knowledge that so much love has been, and will continue to be shared, Thank you for letting us into your world and thoughts xx

  • Reply Aaron May 21, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    This is so beautiful and sweet! Thank you for showing your personal side! This just made my day!

  • Reply Lucy May 22, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Aww this is really beautiful. I hope you have this printed too! xx

  • Reply Bella May 22, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    This is such a beautiful letter! Thank you so much for giving us a peek inside your beautiful family!

  • Reply Saidat May 23, 2017 at 2:07 am

    The letter is too cute, good and amazing. Sam, your grandma and everyone else loves you so much.

  • Reply Louise May 23, 2017 at 6:29 am

    Aww, this is such a lovely letter. I’ve welled up reading it! And I can’t believe Sam’s parents have been together since sixth grade! That’s amazing 🙂

    Louise x

  • Reply Carol Cassara May 23, 2017 at 6:40 am

    I think this is such a heartfelt and lovely letter. Your grandson is very lucky to have you and vice versa and so is your son. I’m sure you’ll spend many years teaching each other lessons about life and love.

  • Reply Gennifer Rose May 23, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Such a sweet letter. I love hearing about people’s love stories 🙂

    Gennifer Rose

  • Reply Khushboo May 24, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    Such a heartfelt letter that I am sure your boy would enjoy. I am still with my school sweetheart too and I hope to have a little Sam of our own some day 🙂

  • Reply Soumya May 25, 2017 at 8:50 am

    This is so beautifully written. I wish my grandparents would have done something similar for my sister and I when we were growing up. They had such amazing stories and perspective that I couldn’t appreciate when I was young. I’d give anything to talk with them now x

  • Reply Megha Sarin May 28, 2017 at 4:11 am

    That is so beautiful and sweet. The baby also looks adorable.

  • Reply Brit August 9, 2017 at 4:19 am

    Every time I read something like this it always makes me tear up. I love heartwarming stories and your pictures add to this story. What a wonderfully happy family. I swear ever since I had my daughter, I get emotional way easier than I used to. But thank you for sharing such a touching story. It was truly wonderful. And it reminds me to enjoy all the little moments and big moments because they are all important.

  • Leave a Reply