Ann Dorer Essay Series: Keeping in Touch, a Grandmother’s Thoughtful Solution

Watercolor illustration of a wrapped gift

About a year ago, my son and his wife moved from here in Alabama to Arizona, taking my precious granddaughter Brooke with them. She was 4 at the time, and I vowed to find ways to let her know there was an Anna and Granddaddy who kept right on loving her even though she now lived far away.

My first way was to leap into the modern world and buy an iPad so I can talk with Brooke and see her sweet face on FaceTime.

But I also use not-so-modern means of staying connected. I send her greeting cards with cute pictures—in these, I often enclose an entire dollar, which is big money to her young self.

Sometimes I write her simple letters, drawing little pictures to help her read the words.

And every week or so, I mail her a care package containing delights like toys, clothes, dress-up jewelry, art supplies … The contents are often cheaper than the postage, a fact I push out of my mind by picturing the expression on Brooke’s face when her gifts arrives.

Recently, I sent her a box of fabric crayons, along with two white T-shirts and a pair of white shorts in her size for her to decorate with her drawings. As an afterthought, I included one of my husband’s old, but freshly washed, white undershirts—I thought it would be good for her to use for practice.

Oh, how thrilled she sounded when she called to thank us. “Oh, Anna, I just love my package. It smells just like you and Granddaddy! I love you so much.”

I have made a new vow. I will never change the brand of laundry detergent that I use because to my grandgirl Brooke, this is what love smells like.

Watercolor painting of roses

Text by Ann Dorer
Illustrations by Judy Jamieson

Former editor and consummate Southern lady Ann Dorer shares her reflections on life in our beloved region. For more of her thoughts, see her essay on Becoming a Southern Lady and previous post on her granddaughter Maggie’s pre-k graduation. Browse exclusive place cards that feature Judy Jamieson’s beautiful artwork in our online shop.

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