Happy Birthday – ❤️
We miss you both so very much ! Here are just a few random memories for you to hold and keep close to your heart – the love letter for this your birthday – follows a series of photos from through the years …. Times you will not remember and some you may – but they are all memories and images that we remember vividly –
Yes these are JUST A FEW OF SO SO MANY MEMORIES –
Random photos from years ago – I have so many to choose from …. Thankfully !
THANKFUL THAT WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE THE LETTERS WRITTEN TO MOM- written IN AN EFFORT TO HAVE HER SHARE IN EVERY STEP OF THE JOURNEY DURING YIUR STAY IN THE MITTEN – please keep them and read them all, and see the smallest of nuances to your early years through to the age of nine for you, and six for your brother. One day you’ll be an adult – one day these letters will offer you keys and insight to your past and will meld the actual memories you have with the reality of a joyful time in your life – one day into the future they can be preserved for your own family to see.
Dear Guillianna and Elijah-
It has been nearly four years (just after Christmas ) since you left the Mitten state. On each of the days that has passed we find ourselves wishing that you and all the family are healthy and happy. We hope school is going great and your enjoying every moment.
Your birthday was always so magical. From the moment you were born we could not wait to see you ! Nana and Poppy flew on two planes the instant we heard you had come to the world in a hurry – and we simply could not wait to see you in person and help your mom.
The fact is you were the very first grandchild we had and it was you who began calling us Nana and Poppy. The names you gave us – have carried on through all of the grandchildren ever since. We flew in to the base you were born at to meet you and we helped mommy as she brought you home. Poppy loaded up the car seat and we drove to your very first home with you – literally just a few days later mom brought you to ‘The Mitten’. All your Mitten family got to meet you and you were only days old. You met your Great Grandma Sharyn and Papa Alan all of the Aunts and at that time there was only One uncle – Uncle Nick – as your aunts had not yet married and no other uncles or cousins were here they cam much later in your years in the mitten. You were a princess surrounded by love. Your mom was so very happy to have such a wonderful daughter. She wanted then -as she does now – for you to have every chance to have the very best life has to offer. The responsibility or commitment she made to the US Army meant that she would have to join her unit in the land of sand quickly after your birth and she asked Nana and Poppy to help make sure your were safe and healthy in the times of her deployment then and for all the other deployments and schooling she had to complete for the first nine years of your life. Hence the gallery of photos we have and this historically illustrated and documented website. We installed cameras so she could see you as you slept at night . And we sent her love letters on this site and other social media platforms every day to make sure that when she could connect and see them – she was able to share in every aspect of your life. We showed you a video every day of you mom and dad so you would know thier faces and when they visited you knew them as your mom and your dad!
This photo was taken the first time they returned to the Mitten for some Rest and Relaxation. You had not seen them in person for about ten months and were about ready to turn one year old! The videos were so helpful because when they returned you had not forgotten them. On your second trip back to the mitten you were just about a month old. Your first ever Valentine’s Day was in the mitten. And each and every detail of the months your parents were away protecting this country was documented .
The moments of each day of your life between your arrival in the Mitten the first year of your life can be found in the pages of this website. After the first year and when Elijah was born and mom was not able to always get this site where she was stationed FaceTime came along – and the site was used a little less yet still so many photos and images of the happiness you two experienced will reman forever in those images and in the hearts and minds of all those who had the pleasure of sharing in your lives The photo above is your first birthday party It was planned for your mom so she could celebrate you when she returned for a visit. It was so hard for her to leave again after coming back and being with you . I think that pain of having to leave – to finish her work in the land of sand was so very hard on her. The hardest thing for a mom to see is when the person they love their daughter is torn in half and she was. It was catastrophic for her to have her heart torn in half – so we did our best to create for you so many wonderful moments for you and for us together to make sure you always were surrounded by love. You will not remember visiting huge portions of your infant life people who supported your mom in all she did and made sure her daughter was coated in love – Aunt Ida and Aunt Nancy, cousin Marisa and so many others were your biggest fans, you will not remember the many dinners with Great Grandma Sharyn or Great Papa. Trips to Chicago, Pittsburgh or Washington. You went up to Northern Michigan and so many others ! You won’t remember laughter and so much fun playing with your aunts or swimming lessons with your uncle – but they will always treasure those times. All we did with you we also did with your brother. Every pediatrician appointment every single moment of every single day we loved you both – and still do !
There are thousands of images I could post in this love letter, and millions upon millions of memories. Each and every one is a treasure to every person you and your brother have touched during your time in the Mitten. As the years progressed and you grew, you made some amazing memories and had the best of friends at school from kindergarten to third grade. You and Elijah are still missed by all and not ever have been forgotten.
As this day brings you to a milestone – and you enter the next chapter I hope you can keep tucked away in your heart the love we all share for you and your brother.
Dancing with your Poppy to ‘extravaganza glorious’ brings back to his heart a happiness that can’t be measured. If not this dance at the holidays it was dancing to choreography you designed to Moana. All of your mitten state cousins have grown so much. Sebastian is going to be 5, is still super adorable and you always made him laugh … oh how you loved babies and likely still do ! You have not yet met little Robbie and they have a new brother on the way named Noah ! Cole is so big, Elena and Gray are too. They now have chickens and a duck added to their family as well as a new home – Elena has loved cheerleading just like you – and Gray plays football. Soon Cole will be big enough but for now he enjoys all the older kids activities. Anthony and Janai miss you too and are doing great in school. Covid has made their extra curricular lives difficult. Mia always asks about you – and while the family is in many states and everyone has different circumstances that prevent us from seeing each other, one thing is certain …. There is not a single day that passes where your Poppy and I don’t miss you and Elijah to the moon and back !
May your birthday bring you lots of love – lots of laughter smiles that fill your heart – and We hope these photos remind you of all the many amazing memories you have inside those amazing brains of yours. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I will always be cheering for you and your brother to have happiness. Hoping that one day you’ll be given the chance to reconcile the actual memories, the images in these photos within your soul and be allowed to keep the memories of your years in the mitten as they truly were – as warm, loving and good memories. Rather than the images that have been likely altered to something less than amazing and good. It’s likely much of these formative years will fade. We – the family you so loved – may very well all diminish as was intended by the demanded lack of contact – but the reality is no matter where life takes you and your brother – you can rest assured in a promise! Know the absolute factual truth that your lives- beyond measure beyond words were happy – joyful and you felt so safe . You were happy beyond belief during all your years here in the Mitten and you were loved and are loved, Not only by your parents but by all of us.
The memories are endless and we will always hold on to them dearly. We are lucky to have some amazing grandchildren and hope that one day you can know all of them.
Simply put- we wish for you to know that no matter what – the love a grandparent has for a grandchild (and the love they still have for their own children and their adult children too) is forever! The wishes for you to have a happy birthday- to be healthy, to be happy and feel in your heart how amazing you are are authentic . Our wishes for Elijah are the same as for you ! May the two of you enter into this holiday season full of joy.
We love you both to the moon and back , forever and always ,
❤️Nana and 🍪Poppy❤️