Dear Grandpa,

Today you’re celebrating 80 years, and it is worth celebrating. Birthdays are a big deal. They represent the number of years you’ve been on this planet, the accomplishments you’ve made, and so much more. Each and every birthday is worth a celebration, but an 80th birthday is worth a public announcement through social media. As you celebrate your birthday with family and friends, I would like to take some time to reminisce on so many of the memories I’ve had with you the past 80 years. I take that back, the past 22 years, since that’s how old I am.

Memory #1: Wheelbarrow racing in your backyard. Being 22 years old, I’ve made a lot of memories in my lifetime, but the memory I have of wheelbarrow racing in your backyard will forever be one of my favorites. I remember it vividly. You would push me in the green wheelbarrow while I was crouched down determined to beat my sister and Grandma, who were in the red wheelbarrow. I’m sure you remember, but we always won. In fact, if I remember correctly, it was never really a competition.

Memory #2: Jumping haystacks at the farm. My dad is a farmer, so you wouldn’t think that I would find joy in jumping haystacks. However, it was one of my favorite childhood pastimes while I was at your house. Jumping from haystack to haystack with my sister and your dog gave me the thrill of a lifetime. I’m sure, however, that it made Grandma wish the hay hadn’t traveled back to the house in our clothes.

Memory #3: Eating dumplings, your bread, and pickles. My sister and my arrival at your house meant one thing: dumplings, homemade bread, and pickles for supper. No one on Earth can make dumplings like Grandma can. However, what made the dumplings so much more delicious was “Papa’s bread” to go along with them, not to mention the side of dill pickles my sister and I dipped in the dumplings. I could really go for a slice of “Papa’s bread” and a helping of Grandma’s dumplings right now.

Memory #4: Playing ping-pong. Not very many grandchildren are fortunate enough to say that their grandparents own a ping-pong table and that their grandpa is undefeatable. Ping-pong tournaments at your house will always be my favorite holiday memory. Although my mom thinks she’s the best, she definitely isn’t because you are. She may have gotten all her skills from you, but I don’t think she got her yelling, screaming, and competitiveness from you.

Memory #5: Living so close to you. A girl can’t get any luckier than living close to grandparents on both sides of the family. Due to the location of your house to mine, my sister and I were able to spend a lot of time with you while we were growing up. We were so blessed to have number one supporters at all of our events throughout high school. A lot of memories rank high in my heart, but the memory of living close to you will forever be the one I hold dearest.

So, with that being said, thank you for all the wonderful memories you’ve provided me with over the years, Grandpa. Enjoy your 80th birthday with family; friends; and, of course, me. You deserve nothing but the best. Here’s cheers to 80 years!