As we grow up, memories of our childhoods fade, and we take it for granted that some will be lost forever in the mists of time. But for one girl in Keller, Texas, a special someone in her life made sure at least some of those precious memories would live on, and this was his gift to her when she came of age to appreciate them.
On her sixteenth birthday, Lauren “Ren” Blank could never have guessed what her grandfather had prepared for her birthday present. It was a gift of unbelievable poignancy, and her “Papa” had waited fourteen years to hand it to her.
When she was 2 years old, her grandfather, Ron Petrillo, had begun writing about the time they spent together. For three years, he chronicled all of little Ren’s adventures in neat, little lines that filled the pages of three notebooks.
After finishing his project, he considered giving the diaries to his daughter to read out to Ren, but it occurred to him that the stories might have a lot more impact on his granddaughter when she had outgrown her childhood.
So, for the next 11 years, he kept the notebooks carefully stored away, until Ren turned 16. Then, he handed the diaries to the young woman, and told her to open them.
When she turned the first page of “Lauren Book 1,” Ren was stunned, as were all the members of her family. “Nobody knew that he had been writing them all these years,” Ren tells The Huffington Post and adds, “he kept it a secret even from my mom.”
The tale that preceded all the others was called “Papa’s Story.” As Ren went through the notebooks, she found countless small anecdotes and descriptions of her escapades that she could barely remember.
Many stories that should have been lost to time had been preserved perfectly in stories that were painstakingly detailed and affectionate in their narration. Ren knew that with this gift, her “Papa” had given her a rare glimpse back into her own childhood, but he’d also proved the boundless love he had for her.
Soon after, Ren posted pictures of the notebooks on Twitter, adding that she was speechless at such a gift. Her tweet began to gain traction within the day, and when Ren next checked for notifications, she was blown away by the number of retweets and comments she’d gotten.
Many commenters said that they had been brought to tears by the gesture, while others said that they wish they could hug their own grandparents right then.
What started as a small project to preserve the memories of Lauren’s childhood became a reminder to hundreds of thousands to cherish their grandparents, because there is no one else who loves us quite like them.