They Didn't Have To Raise Me, But They Chose To Anyways

They May Not Be My Biological Parents, But I Call My Grandparents 'Mom' & 'Dad'

They may not have given birth to me, but they were the people who raised me and I'm eternally grateful.


Dear Grandma and Grandpa,

From the moment I was born, you knew that you two would raise me. Not because my mother and father weren't capable, but because they weren't ready. I was not yours, but you intended to raise me like I was.

As a child, I remember driving up the street every day to go play at your house after school. From playing make-believe games with me, Grandpa sneaking me pieces of fudge before dinner, to Grandma buying me multitudes of Cabbage Patch Kids because I was obsessed.


You both were there to pull my first tooth and you both bought me all my uniforms for school. You praised me when I got straight A's and calmed me down when I was stressed about Chemistry... or Geometry.

You sent me off to prom (all three years I attended), taught me how to drive, were front row to my graduation, and sent me off to a college that was 1,400 miles away.

Now, I am almost done with my freshman year of college, waiting to see where the future takes me. Because of this, you may feel like I am becoming more distant. And, I know, we don't talk every day... or sometimes every week but know that I can feel your love and prayers across the country.

I know that if I am having a bad day, I can talk to you about anything and you'll give me advice even though you aren't physically here to be my shoulder to cry on. I know that if I can't figure out how to cook something in the microwave, I can call Grandma and she'll give me exact instructions. I know that if need some extra cash, I can call Grandma (or maybe Grandpa, if I'm lucky) and she'll slip a little extra into my bank account. If my tire goes flat or my debit card declines, I know that I can call Grandpa and he'll get it all figured out. And, I even know that if I'm missing you, you're just a phone call away.

So, as I grow older and the realization that your baby girl is growing up and becoming more independent, know that even if I don't say it as much as I should, thank you. Thank you for being my parents. Not my stand-ins. Or my replacements. My parents. No one could have done a better job than the both of you (I mean, I think I turned out pretty good... right?).


Sure, my mother and father brought me into this world. However, you two created me to be how I am today. You both will be there to walk me down the aisle, to watch me give birth to my future children, and to hold my hand until you can't anymore. You have always been Mom and Dad to me.

Some may say that I'm spoiled for having everything that you gave me. From the private education and a car at sixteen, but I just say, "No, I'm just loved a lot."

Thank you for all that you do for me,

Love, your daughter

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When You Give A Girl A Papa

She'll learn enough lessons to last a lifetime.

When you give a girl a Papa she'll have the best adventures.

She'll run around atop his shoulders and learn to fly. Her imagination will never run dry and she'll always be down for a laugh. He'll tell her stories and wipe away her tears. When you give a girl a Papa she'll have memories to last her years.

Papa is German for Dad but in America, it has become a slang term for grandpa. And while it is just a word, for some, it has a deeper meaning. Papa isn't just a grandfather, he's a best friend, the instigator of mischief, a protector, a storyteller, a rock, the strongest man you know and, most importantly, a hero.

Papa can turn ordinary, everyday activities into an adventure. From a young age, I was running behind him as quickly as my little legs could carry me ready for that day's adventure. I was always down for anything Papa was doing, following him in his daily chores and mimicking his every move. Cuddling up and watching sports in his lazy chair was my favorite time of the day because he always told the best stories. Sitting there hanging onto every word he said because it was the most important thing I ever heard.

Papa is full of experience and wisdom. His wise words provide comfort every time I am sad. He can always make me laugh to fight the tears away. I'm not sure how, but he always knows what to say to make me feel better. Papa is a fearless force that never bows and is never broken. He can weather all of the storms while smiling and laughing. I can only hope to have that resilience when facing life's problems. And when Papa was struggling with his own battles, I will stand right next to him, ready to fight and do all I can for him.

Papa can do a happy dance via the phone so he is the person to call when something good happens. He is always there to celebrate life and all its joy. And, even though he tried to hide them, he cried happy tears the day of my high school graduation. I pretended not to notice.

Leaving Nana and Papa's house is always the worst part of the trip. Driving away waving my hand in the air with tears welling in my eyes because I can't wait for the next adventure. Disappointing Papa was the scariest thing you I could think of, but I knew that he would never stay that way for long. There was always a lesson to learn from mistakes.

He is the man I model all men after. If they don't treat me the way Papa demonstrated, they are not worthy of my time. If they don't make me laugh or have that twinkle of passion in their eyes and fire in their soul like my Papa, then they aren't the man for me.

Papa is my hero. I would give anything to be like him, to stand strong and hold the world together when it just wants to fall apart. To be able to make anyone laugh and feel right at home. To fight for what I believe in and work hard to achieve my goals. To have charisma and charm. To deal with people who wrong me with class and kindness. To follow my faith with questions because that is the only way to make your beliefs stronger. To be the person everyone speaks of with a fond memory in their eye.

At the end of it all, he is my Papa and no one can take his place. I can and will drop anything to be by his side. He has shaped me into the person that I am working to be. I will always call him for advice and kind words.

Best friends come in many forms, but my favorite will always be my Papa.

Cover Image Credit: Jessica Goddard

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The Lines Beside My Grandma's Eyes

Wrinkles are our body's diary of the adventures we have had.


The photo book opens. Happy memories gush out, overflowing onto the table, they catch my eye and touch my heart. I know very well, the woman that smiles back at me from page five. I knew her when she stood five feet 6 inches tall beside me, not four by five inches as she is now, preserved in this album of captured love. Yes, I knew her when her curves were 3D, when her sound, her scent, her smile were a reality before me.

A beauty through and through, from ages zero till 92. She blessed the earth she walked on -blades of grass bowed down before she even took a step on them. The wind blew to embrace her. To describe her as beautiful would not be enough. I'm convinced her heart was so full of loveliness that it overflowed onto her surface. Even within these pages, she still catches many eyes.

Mine are drawn to her lines. My grandma's face spelled love in the lines that she etched there. Between her eyebrows, she held her worries, above them sat her sass. Around her mouth, she forged ridges from a lifetime of laughter and millions of kisses. But the lines that I'm most interested in are those beside her eyes. There, her soul took up the pencil.

These lines are tender, like the gaze with which her honey eyes held the world. They are riverbeds for tears of joy. They are the tails of shooting stars, evidence of her eyes' twinkle, her omnipresent obstinance to dream. They trace the strong cheekbones where my sleepy head used to plant a goodnight kiss and whisper, "I love you more." They zig-zag like her heartbeat, electrified whenever she caught a wink from her Don. They are the illustration of 92 years of wisdom.

I see my whole childhood, my hopes for who I'll someday be, and my strong family ties in those lines beside her eyes.

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