Grandpa gives diaries of handwritten childhood memories to granddaughter for Sweet 16 gifts
Some girls receive a car for their Sweet 16, but this Texas teen was given a present far more precious when her grandfather gave her notebooks full of their memories together when she was just a toddler.
Lauren Blank, 16, of Keller said her grandfather has usually gifted her clothes, shoes or a shopping trip on previous birthdays.
When she hit the milestone birthday on March 22, she never expected to receive three diaries her grandpa had kept when she was between the ages of 2 and 5, filled with memories of their time together.
"I was in shock. It took a while for it to sink in," Blank told InsideEdition.com. "I went to my room and then I just started bawling."
Ron Petrillo, 72, who spent most of his time looking after Blank before she started school, wrote down all his favorite memories with the tot, from riding in the car, to visiting a pumpkin patch.
"It was whatever I felt like writing at the time and what we did that day," he told InsideEdition.com. "Some of them were half a page and some of them were four or five pages."
Petrillo explained that he started the project because he wanted her to remember details from when she was little that they were not able to capture in pictures.
"I was going to give it to her at 16, maybe 21, and maybe when I was gone," he said. "Turns out, she was very squared-away at 16. You know every parent or grandparent thinks their kid is the smartest and prettiest person in the world? Well, I still think that about Lauren."
He recalled some of his favorite memories – which he wrote down in the journals – included taking her to the rescue zoo in Sacramento when she was 2 years old or walking around the block as she napped in the stroller: "If you took her home, she'd just lay there wide-eyed."
For Blank, her favorite passage recalled a playdate.
It read: "Tuesday I was lucky enough to be with my perfect angel for 10 hours today. We went to Gymboree and had a great time. You do everything easily that other kids would have a hard time with. You'd rather do most things on your own. You can join in on the things you really like."
And, even though Blank was young when he wrote the journals, she said she remembers many of the memories in the journals.
"I remember him making me laugh, and some of the things he did to make me laugh," she fondly recalled.