Beginning thirty five years ago when my niece was born, my Mom started a tradition that would become a treasured family legacy for years to come. One that instilled excitement in each of her grandchildren on an ongoing basis, and helped to develop an incredibly deep bond between her and her grandchildren. For what she did was to take an oversized chest of drawers and turn it into a magical treasure trove for her grandchildren.
Beginning with the first grandbaby, Mom chose one drawer to be the “special” drawer for each of her grandkids. Every time they came over to her house, they would fly up the stairs to see what new item was in their drawer. At times we even had to coach the boys to promise to greet their grandparents before they tore off to see what fun lay in store for them in their own beloved drawer.
As the children grew, the items in the drawer morphed along with them. As toddlers, they might have extra- large crayons and a coloring book, or their very own box of fruit snacks. As they grew older, the drawer might hold their favorite candy or gum, or some much needed school supplies. Occasionally there was a t-shirt with their favorite super hero on it, a cuddly stuffed animal or a few Hot Wheels cars. Grandma interviewed each of them on an ongoing basis to learn their preferences, and even kept a notebook of the things that she bought them.
When the children were old enough to be in high school and even college, the drawers continued to hold their favorite things. Stuffed animals were replaced with fast food gift cards, and little cars were substituted with gasoline cards for the real thing. Sometimes there was a sweet note awaiting them along with the cards, or a funny greeting card to bring a smile. As the children went away to college, their items still lie in wait at the bottom of their drawer. If it had been a long time between visits to Grandma and Pop’s house, there were often multiple new items in the drawer for them.
When the first of the grandchildren got married, she received a little note from the Drawer Fairy. Today I called my Momma and asked her what she wrote in that note. She shared with me that she told her that it had been such a joy to fill the drawer for her as she grew up into a young lady. She added that now that she was getting married she was transitioning to a new season of her life. She would likely be starting her own family and maybe someday she, too, would continue the tradition of providing drawers for her own grandchildren.
As each of the grandchildren has gotten married, they have received a similar sentiment from the Drawer Fairy. More than a few tears have been shed each time as the boys realized that a very special time of their lives had past. In fact, my oldest son had heard from his cousins about the ending of the tradition when you got married and simply refused to open his card on his wedding day. For weeks it sat unopened until his wife finally convinced him to read the letter from his Grandma.
We have one son left who has yet to get married. Now that he lives hundreds of miles away, the Drawer Fairy mails him something special on a consistent basis. Instead of an item lying in wait in his drawer, she tenderly seals it in an envelope and sends it on its way. Sometimes it buys him a few cups of coffee, or a tank of gas; but I’m certain that it doesn’t really matter what is inside the envelope any more. What matters is that his Grandma is thinking of him and still taking the time to make him feel special and loved.