A girl’s 16th birthday is a very special occasion. When a girl turns 16, she has a big party where she wears a gorgeous dress, and she gets fantastic gifts. Many girls get their first car during their sweet 16 parties. Lauren Blank had an amazing sweet 16.
Lauren, aka Ren, was born and raised in Keller, Texas. It was a small town of about 45,000 people. The city advertises itself by saying that it successfully balances big-city comforts with small-town charm. Lauren was getting ready to celebrate her sweet 16, but she didn’t want an over-the-top party like many girls her age did. She wanted a quiet celebration with her family and her closest friends.
A Special Bond
Ren and her grandfather, Ron Petrillo, had an extraordinary bond. When Ren was little, her parents didn’t want to send her to daycare. They wanted her to be cared for by family. When Ren was 2-years-old until she was 5-years-old, Ren spent her days with her grandfather while her parents were at work. This gave him a chance to forge a bond that they otherwise wouldn’t have if he didn’t spend all that time with Ren. It was also during this time that he had a great idea for a gift for Ren. It was a gift that would take almost a decade to complete.
Ron wanted his granddaughter to remember the special times that they had together when he was watching her. Unfortunately, she was so young when he watched her during the day that there was a good chance that she wouldn’t remember a lot of it. Ron didn’t want the memories to fade for either one of them. He loved his granddaughter more than anything in the world, and he wanted to do something to show her that when she got older.
Finding the Perfect Moment
Ron’s gift was almost complete, but the problem was, he wasn’t sure when to give it to her. He wasn’t sure if he should give it to her on her 16th birthday, her 18th birthday, her 21st birthday, or after he passed away. Since he worked on the gift for years, he didn’t want to wait until he passed away. He wanted to be able to see the look on her face when he gave her the gift. Finally, he decided to give it to her on her 16th birthday.
Ron worked very hard on the gift for years. Every night, after Ron would spend the day with his granddaughter, he would write down what the two did every day. At first, it was a journal for him. Over time, the gift really started to take shape. Writing down what they did each day seemed simple at first, but he knew that when he had years and year of memories compiled, it would be something amazing. When he started the gift, he knew that he would be 76-years-old when Ren turned 16. He knew that by then, he would have something amazing to give her daughter.
Ren Starts School
Ron watched Ren until she was 5-years-old when she started school. When she started school, she still saw her grandfather regularly. It wasn’t every day, but he still saw her at least once a week, and he used these moments to add to her gift as well.
Ren’s 16th Birthday
Finally, the day came. Ren turned 16 in March 2017, and that was when Ron was finally going to give her the gift. He wrapped it up and gave it to her. She opened the present, and it contained three notebooks. The first one read, “Lauren’s Book #1”, with a heart drawn. The other two read, “Book 2”, and “Book 3”. Ren looked at the books with a puzzled look on her face. She had no idea what the books contained.
The First Entry
The first entry read, “Hi Lauren, I’m just starting this so someday you might read it for fun. It’s going to be a day-to-day record of you and me.” Each of the books was filled with entries just like this one. The first entry was dated February 13, 2003, and from then on, each entry was about what they did together and how much he loved his granddaughter.
Her Grandpa Worked Over A Decade On Her Sweet 16 Gift. Her Reaction Was Heartbreaking. While Ren was reading her books, tears started running down her cheeks. She remembered many of the things that her grandfather wrote about. The fact that he took the time to write all of these things down was unbelievable to her. She says that of all the gifts she got for her 16th birthday, her grandfather’s was her favorite.