In my life, I have been fortunate enough to have an very tight-knit family. My extended family members (for the most part) have always been fairly close by and I see most of them at least twice a year. Family get togethers happen often, and when they do I can be sure I will be greeted with love, kisses, and at least three people telling me that I’ve “grown up so much!”

I have been even more fortunate to be extremely close to my grandparents. Because both of my parents have basically always worked full-time, my grandparents played a huge role in my upbringing. For basically my whole life, they were the ones responsible for babysitting, picking me up from school, driving me to my activities, and generally watching over me while my parents were away. When I became old enough to do those things for myself, they were never any less a part of my life. We would see each other at least once a week and they still held themselves responsible to making sure I was happy, healthy, and (of course) well-fed. Even now, in college, I know that I can always expect a phone call from them, asking me how I’m doing.

I should mention that I have had both amazing parents and amazing grandfathers, and am in no way less appreciative of or close to them, but if I have learned one thing in my life, it’s that nobody can replace that person we call “grandma”.

Grandma(s), I love you.

I love you for everything that you have taught me. I have learned so much from you: whether it’s how to play the piano, or how to sew, or how to bake a cake or just how to generally be a wonderful person, you have always been a wonderful teacher for me.

I love you for the support that you give me. When nobody else in the world seems to be on my side, I know that you always are. And even when you don’t agree with me, I know that you’ll try and understand my point of view. Moreover, you always know just what to say. Whenever I have a problem, I know I can count on you to make me feel better.

I love you for all the qualities that I got from you. Whether it’s the physical ones, like my hair color, or my eyes, or my nose, or internal ones like humor, or leadership, or even my uncontrollable worrying, I’m grateful that I share something in common with someone as wonderful as you.

I love you for putting everything aside for me: I know how much time you’ve given up to do things for me. I’m so lucky to have someone who will drop everything to talk to me, spend time with me, or even just make me matzo ball soup at a moment’s request.

I love you for always being there: I know that you’ll be front row at every concert, cheering the loudest at every show, and there for the important moments in my life. If for some reason you can’t be there, I know you’ll wish you could be, and that you will want to see every event picture and video three times over.

I love you for loving me as much as you do. Which, from what I understand, is a whole lot. Even when I’m wrong, or down, or a complete mess, it doesn’t matter; you love me unconditionally.

There really is nobody like you, grandma(s). I am so grateful for everything you do for me, and for all the time that we have spent together over the years. You are so special to me; there is nobody in this world who could ever replace you. I know that, even as I grow up, I could never outgrow the relationship that we have together.

You will always hold a very, very special place in my heart.