A 16th birthday marks a milestone for many girls. A 16th birthday usually involves dressing up in fancy dresses and putting on makeup. It is the chance for a girl to make her debut into the world as a young woman. The idea of having a sweet 16 has become engrained into our culture and many teenage girls work hard to make sure they have an entertaining and special 16th birthday. We have all heard of shows like My Super Sweet 16 where often bratty teenagers make huge demands for their 16th birthday parties. The parties are usually extravagant and extremely expensive. They often feature celebrity performers and a car with a giant bow on top and the end of the night.
For some, a 16th birthday is a coming of age moment in their lives and it needs to be marked by lavish celebrations. Others commemorate the day in a quieter way and prefer to spend it with friends and family and receiving meaningful gifts and enjoy the company of the people they love. While big parties and flashy cars are all fun things to have, they do not contain the sentimental value that a special and meaningful gift does. This was the case for a girl from Texas on her 16th birthday.
One girl received an extremely special gift on her 16th birthday. She decided not to spend her birthday at a club with friends or in an extravagant way. She spent her day with her family and after she got a particular gift, she understood what matters most in life. She was touched and emotional when she received a gift from her grandfather who had worked on his gift for three years.
Lauren turns 16
Lauren Blank is a 16 year-old who resides in Keller, Texas. Blank was looking forward to her 16th birthday in March of 2017. Blank will likely remember her 16th birthday forever but it will not be because she threw a big party or got a new car. Lauren will hold that day close to her heart because of the present she received from her beloved grandfather.
A special gift
Blank’s story was so touching that she gained a lot of internet attention from the gift that her grandfather gave her. Online users could not get over the gift that Lauren’s grandfather had chosen to give her and neither could Lauren. While Lauren could never have imagined that she would have received such a present, her grandfather knew that he would give her the gift for many years. But what was so special about the gift?
Worth more than diamonds
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting a beautiful necklace or some money for your birthday. Sometimes it is nice to get a sentimental gift that will leave tears in your eyes. The gift that Lauren’s grandfather gave to her was priceless and the worth of jewelry or cars could never amount to the worth of Lauren’s reaction when she got the gift.
Lauren’s closest companion
Lauren’s grandfather is 72 year-old Ron Petrillo. He and Lauren have shared a special bond since she was born. Before Lauren started school when she was 5 years-old, Blank spent most days hanging out with her grandfather. It is no wonder that these two have remained so close throughout Lauren’s life. Lauren’s grandfather has been there for her since she was a little girl and their closeness was proved by the birthday gift he gave her.
The time they spent together throughout Lauren’s childhood meant that they shared many wonderful memories together. However, we all know that many memories from our childhood become fuzzier as the years go on. Petrillo wanted Lauren to remember the great times the had and he decided to do something very unique. Petrillo grabbed a pen and notebook and began to turn his idea into a reality.
Keeping the memories
While Lauren was growing up quickly, her grandfather never forgot the memories they had. He did not want Lauren to forget either and did something to ensure that she wouldn’t. He came up with a plan that he thought would be sufficient to help keep his memories alive. He put a lot of hard work into his project and the results proved to be amazing.
Keeping the gift hidden
Petrillo decided to keep his idea to himself and neither Lauren or her family knew that Petrillo was hiding it for a long time and he only planned to reveal it when Lauren turned sixteen. But what was could he have possibly kept to himself for so long without anyone finding out and why did he choose to reveal it on Lauren’s sixteenth birthday?
Lauren’s grandfather revealed that he had thought of three separate occasions when he planned to reveal his gift the Lauren. In an interview with TODAY he said, “I had three dates in mind – I had 16, 21 and then when I was gone.” He continued, “I thought if she was straightened out and being a good person and being nice to people that was important. So I decided to give it to her on her 16th birthday.”
The first book
As Lauren’s 16th birthday approached she was planning how she would celebrate while her grandfather was putting the final touches on his gift. He had been working on the present since Lauren was a little girl and now it was finally time for him to reveal his surprise. Petrillo gave his granddaughter three notebooks for her birthday which were numbered. The first book had the words “Lauren Book number 1” on the cover.
She did not understand
Initially, Lauren did not understand what he grandfather had given her. She was still confused until she opened the first book and began reading its contents. It was then that Lauren realized her grandfather had given her a very special gift that she will cherish her whole life. The first book began, “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.”
An emotional moment
The date at the top was February 16th of 2003. As Lauren continued to read she and all of her family members began to get emotional and tears were streaming down their cheeks. Petrillo had truly created something special and put so many years and so much effort in this sentimental gift. Every notebook was filled to the brim and Lauren had a lot to read.
Before she went to school
Lauren’s grandfather had filled each notebook with memories of the times he spent with her throughout her life. Before Lauren went to school, she spent every day with Petrillo between the ages of 2 and 5. It sounds like the two shared many fun experiences during that time. Lauren explained to TODAY that she and her grandfather used to play a funny game together.
In one of the notebooks Petrillo documented a game he used to play with his granddaughter called the “See Ya” game. The game revolved around some laughable antics where Petrillo would repeatedly run into a wall in order to try and make Lauren laugh. She told TODAY, “He would run into the wall over and over and over and I would die.”
Documenting every memory
There were tons of other funny and sweet memories in every notebook. It seems that Lauren’s grandfather had taken special care to document every important memory he experienced with his granddaughter. Petrillo mentioned a store that Lauren and him used to go to often. There was an elevator in the store that Lauren loved going in and Petrillo noted that she used to call it an alligator.
Nearly 200 pages
Petrillo told TODAY that he would record all of the memories he shared everyday with Lauren while she was napping so she never knew what he was doing. Through all the years of writing down their time together, Lauren’s grandfather had amassed over 185 pages of meaningful memories that Lauren could now recall as a teenager, read and share with her other family members.
Going to the zoo
There were so many great memories in the notebooks and it reminded Lauren of how happy her childhood was. Lauren and her grandfather would go to the zoo almost every day excluding Mondays because they were closed. They spent their time enjoying the day by looking at and petting the animals and Petrillo would often buy her toys at the gift shop. Petrillo clearly loves his granddaughter very much.
Almost too late
Petrillo stopped recording his stories after three years when Lauren turned 5 and entered school. Lauren’s days were now filled with school and other activities so she had much less time to spend with her grandfather. He documented so many memories, we wonder how many notebooks he would have gone through had he kept writing. Thankfully, Petrillo gave Lauren the notebooks at a good time although it was almost too late.
Last minute decision
Petrillo was not exactly sure when the correct time would be to give Lauren the books and he even thought about giving them the Lauren’s mom so that she could give her the books after he passed away. Thankfully, Petrillo had a last minute change of heart and felt that he wanted to be with Lauren while she was looking back on their times together so they could laugh together.
No greater gift
Lauren thought that her grandfather’s gift was perfect and she was thrilled to receive it. Lauren told Fox News, “I truly don’t think that I will ever have a gift that is greater than this.” Lauren, who refers to her grandfather as Papa said that he is “one of the most influential people” in her life. Papa’s gift made Lauren’s birthday even more special that she could have imagined. She even shared the gift on social media.
Social media post
Lauren realized how special the gift she received was and she decided to share it with her friends on social media. The teen shared some photos of the notebooks over Twitter and which gained her a lot of attention. Her tweet was retweeted a respectable 160,000 times. However, the fact that Lauren posted the picture may have caused people to accuse her of trying to get famous. What did Lauren have to say about that?
Did she start a controversy?
Some people claimed that Lauren was just trying to use her birthday gift to gain attention after she posted pictures on the notebooks on Twitter. However, Lauren was quick to denounce any rumors in an interview with the Daily Mail. She said, “It wasn’t me being famous, it was about my grandpa’s love for me becoming famous.” Lauren was only interesting in sharing her sentimental moment with her friends and family.
An inspiring story
Lauren Blanks and Ron Petrillo’s story was inspiring to many people and gained a lot of media attention. Petrillp shared his hopes about what he wants the public to take from the story. He said, “I just want the grandparents that are in their 40s and 50s to know that they can do the same thing. If that’s the only thing that comes out of this, then that’s just fine.”