A Special Gift for Grandma

I was raised by my Grandma as a kid.

My Avó.

(P.S. that’s Portuguese for grandma.)

And my Avó carries, without a doubt, the most precious place in my heart.

She can buy me the most hideous thing in the world, and not only will I not ever consider returning it…but I’ll actually use it.

Because Avó got it for me.

And just looking at whatever crazy doily/glittery/silk flowered thing it is…makes me sigh with happiness.

Because Avó got it for me.

I can’t even *think* about what life will be like when she dies.

I’m fully tearing up right now just thinking about it.


I need to stop thinking about it.

Okay.  Breathe.

Because even at 30 years old, I can crawl up into her bed and we can giggle and talk…just like we did when I was 5.

And it’s not weird at all that I’m a grown woman.

One of the sweetest feelings ever is me in my spot on her bed…with my three kids…her three great-grandchildren…also on the bed.

All five of us hanging out and laughing.

Chatting about being a mom.  Laughing at Lucy.  Cooing at Jill.  Answering questions for Henry.

Full circle.

I can’t describe how happy it makes me that my kids can have a piece of Avó too.

I just love her.  If you can’t tell.

Last March my grandpa died.

Avó’s one and only.

They had dated since she was THIRTEEN!

Dating defined as “he would come over and stand on the other side of the fence and we would talk.  And sometimes his hand would touch mine, and it was like electricity in my body.”

Dying with the cuteness, right?

Electrical touches, 4 kids, 5 grandkids, and 3 great-grandchildren (and counting) later.

49 years of marriage.

When he died, I know he took with him a piece of her  heart.

A heart so big, it must hardly fit inside her chest.

And while she has certainly taken it all in stride, I know she still aches inside.

Because if there is anything I inherited from Avó, it is feeling things…feeling so deeply it hurts.

And I cannot imagine her pain.

So this Christmas I wanted to do something special.  Because anything found at Walmart didn’t seem right.

I enlisted the help of my mom…telling Avó that they were collecting men’s shirts for Veteran’s Day to give to homeless vets, and maybe she could donate some of grandpa’s old shirts?

Except the shirts came to my house instead.

Dusted off my machine.  Literally.

And I cut them up.

And sewed them back together.

Cutting a piece of fabric has never been so terrifying.

Because if I cut wrong, I couldn’t exactly run back out to Joann’s for more.

I have never been so careful in my cutting, measuring and sewing.

I pinned like I had never pinned before.

I took seams out and re-did them.  Until it was just right.

I arranged patterns, re-arranged and lined up.

And when I was done, I cried.

Because I forgot how much I missed him too.

I purposely cut sections that had stains on them.  Because those stains meant a full life.  A life that wasn’t perfect or filled with riches.  But a life lived.

And something tells me that Avó probably knows exactly how each of those stains got there.

I included the strip of buttons…buttons that had been threaded into their little matching hole countless times.

Because a side note about my grandpa is that he was famously…frugal.  Those shirts were older than me.

In fact, when my sister put together a slideshow for his funeral, we all burst into teary laughter because there he was in his purple shirt holding one of HIS kids as babies…

…and in that same purple shirt holding one of MY kids…40+ years later.

Some of the shirts were worn so thin my thread pulled right through. And I had to re-sew it about five times, further and further back until it held.

But it was worth every minute.  Every rise in blood pressure.  Every drop of nervous sweat.

And I hope it blesses her.

I hope she knows how much I love her.

I seriously don’t tell her often enough.  I need to get on that.

Do you have anyone in your life who holds such a sweet spot in your soul?

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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

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  1. 1

    And now I am bawling…at work. This is just priceless! She is going to LOVE it! Wonderful job!

  2. 2

    Yeah…I already have my makeup on for work and now I have to go fix it! Beautiful post, Jeannett! The pillows turned out so perfectly! She will LOVE the pillows…but most of all, she LOVES you & your kids so much! The mere thought of what you have done for her to keep your Grandpa’s memories alive…is awesome! What a wonderful gift she will cherish forever!

  3. 3

    Oh that is so kind and sweet of you. She will cherish them. Merry Christmas.
    stephanie´s last blog post ..Family Game Night

  4. 4

    So perfect, I am crying.

  5. 5

    OH this is super sweet and an excellent idea! Super creative!!
    Janelle´s last blog post ..How Does Santa Fit in

  6. 6

    They are beautiful and brilliant! I mean it. Brilliant. This is one of my favorite posts of yours. Ever. Merry Christmas Jeanette. I’m praying for your sweet angel and her seizures by the way. My kids and I are praying.

  7. 7

    Jeanette… I happened upon your blog just by chance. And I’m so glad I did! You’ve been a blessing to me. Thank you!
    Those pillows are beautiful and your Grandma will love them! What a special present!

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas from snowy England (thats right… now you have to backtrack and read the whole comment again in an English accent!)
    In Christ

    Becki x

  8. 8

    Must you make me cry everyday? I loved the pillows you made and I know your Grandma will cherish them. This post resonated with me because my Abuela Lupe was my special person too. She went to be with Jesus 10 years ago this coming February and while I was pregnant with my daughter. Bella is the spitting image of her and while I miss her terribly, I am thankful for the little glimpses I get of her through Bella.
    Jenni Carlisle´s last blog post ..YOU did it!

  9. 9

    Oh my word ohmywordohmyword. Those are gorgeous! And about the sweetest gift I have ever heard of. Jeannett, Jeannett, Jeannett!

  10. 10

    Simply beautiful Jeannett…I am sure you are just as deeply loved by her as well…

  11. 11

    JEANNETT!!!! You got me crying…and I’m at work! (shhh, don’t tell). This is the sweetest and most wonderful thing I’ve ever heard. What a great memory you made. I have scraps of t-shirt logos and things that I keep wanting to make into a quilt or something. I love the pillow idea. Maybe when we get all our stuff out of our storage unit, I can start doing fun stuff like that. My adoptive mom and dad are people I miss all the time, especiall when milestones come about. Both girls weddings (Danielle next year) are things my parents missed. I just miss them and have some memorabilia, but most of it is with my stepmom (can’t think of any other title for her…I was already out of the house when she married my dad). But I loved this blog so much. And your grandparents look so adorable. Thanks for sharing. hugs
    Robbin´s last blog post ..Christmas 2010

  12. 12

    those are lovely! what a great, creative way to remember him

  13. 13

    Oh the tears…I feel the same way about my Gramms. What an incredible, thoughtful and creative gift. I pray it blesses her greatly! :)
    Jaime´s last blog post ..Silly Emotional Gift Wrap

  14. 14

    Not sure if she’ll be with you when you receives the pillows, but if so, please post some pics!! I can only imagine the kind of response she’ll have. :))

  15. 15

    Oooops! That was supposed to say “when SHE receives the pillows…”

  16. 16

    Wow. That is one of the most special gifts ever! I wish I could be there to watch her reaction when she opens it – please update us on her reaction. What a wonderful way to have your grandfather “around” for another Christmas.
    Shirley L´s last blog post ..DIY Teacher Gift

  17. 17

    What a beautiful idea! I love how they turned out. I’ve thought of how to save certain clothes but never thought about a pillow. The buttons are so precious too. :) I may do this sometime. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  18. 18

    Oh and my dad is the same way with his clothes. He has such old, threadbare shirts!!

  19. 19

    i cried through this whole post!!! avo raised me, still is at age of 24 and i feel just the same as you do!! i cant help but wonder how were going to feel when shes gone , but what i do know is she made a difference in our lives in a special way…. i dont tell her i love her as often as i should but she knows!!!! i mis grandpa too but the worse thing is seeing how its changed avo and seeing that part of her gone…… the pillows are amazing… hope u had some extra fabric i want one too….

  20. 20

    she is going to love it. you are so thoughtful and pretty dang crafty!! the pillows look amazing. how blessed you are to have an avo like that. my grandma, too was an amazing woman who was a blessing in incredible ways. xxoo


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