When you become a grandmother, you search for ways to help each grandchild feel unique and loved. Presents at birthdays and Christmas are nice, but I found myself wanting to do something more. I longed to give each grandchild something that would last. Toys and games are soon broken and forgotten. I asked myself over and over, "How can I be certain that each grandchild knows how precious they are and how much I love them?"

When you are a grandma, you know the time you have left to be alive is limited and precious. So that is what I decided to give each grandchild on their birthday. . . the gift of my time  . . . thinking and pondering about them.

What are her interests? What is his greatest fear? What are her individual gifts? What would delight him? Then I carry this grandchild around in my heart for weeks trying to decide what story or poem is just right for them.

The gift at the end of that process is a story or poem that I write for them and then read to them along with a copy I leave with them so they can take it out and read it for the rest of their lives. As each grandchild listens to a story where they are the star or main character, you should see their eyes light up. That magical moment is the gift I give myself.

As I grow older, I have rediscovered the pleasure of reading or reciting simple stories written for children. Fairy tales, fanciful poems and super hero creeds infuse my air like star dust, tiny pieces of light in the darkness.

So to my children and grandchildren I say . . . though there are many of you, there is only one you. Each of you has a place in my heart that no one else can take. Your mother and grandmother loves you deeply because you are you. No one can take your place. You are my diamonds and rubies, my foreign travel, my mansion on the hill, my place by the sea. You mean everything to me.

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