On October 6,2011, my Grandma turned 90. I have been working this week on collecting photos for my mom who is doing a slideshow for Grandma’s 90th birthday party. As I have been going through Piles and piles of Photos ( in case you are new here, Photos are kinda my “thing”) , it has taken me on a wonderful journey down memory lane. A journey full of laughter and tears.
I grew up a mile up the road from my grandparents, and what a blessing that was. They were a HUGE part of my life. Granted, there was a time, when I did not see it this way, when I was in full blown rebellious teenager mode, and the fact that My mom would confide in grandma when I was being extremely difficult meant I would get TWO lectures, one from mom, and then one from Grandma ( looking back I think Grandma’s were harder to face). As I look back on those years now, I am thankful that Grandma was there for my mom, because I KNOW I was AWFUL! The other thing that stands out for me about that time in my life was that Grandma and Grandpa, and mom and Dad NEVER gave up on me, Never stopped praying, never stopped loving me. I could not see it at the time, but I see it now, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that their non stop prayers are what brought me back to where I am today, what helped make me the woman I am.
As I looked through photos going back to before I was born, to when My Dad was a kid….and then to my own childhood, and then the ones of my own kids with my grandma, the one theme that stood out bigger than any other was the Love , Love for family, Love of Laughter, Pure, Unconditional Love.
My Grandparents lived on a dairy farm, as did my parent. There was where I learned the value of hard work. Grandma had a HUGE Garden, and a swimming pool. Us grand-kids LOVED to get in the pool, but we had to help Grandma in the garden first. I can remember helping pick vegetables, Pails FULL of them, and then Grandma laughing when we got back up to the house because she KNEW there had been more in the bucket when we left the garden that there was by the time we got to the house, especially the peas…there was usually a trail up the driveway from the garden to the house of empty pea pods.
When we were not helping Grandma in the garden, we were in the swimming pool, or she was giving one of us a piano lesson. Grandma LOVED Music, she was a retired music teacher, and her house was FULL of music boxes. I used to help her clean her house, and she would laugh because as I went through dusting shelves, I would wind up EVERY Music box and have them all going at once, something I still do to this day ( though my collection is substantially smaller than hers was). Probably my biggest regret, something Grandma was right about, was that at 13, I stopped taking Piano lessons. I remember her telling me that someday I was going to wish I had kept playing, but I was 13, and I thought I knew everything…boy was I wrong!
One of my favorite memories is the annual Christmas Eve service we used to go to at the Lutheran Church. I grew up in a small rural community ( my high school class was only 39!) so EVERYONE knew everyone…but what Stands out the most for me was, Grandma playing the organ, the kids doing the Christmas Pageant, and then at the end of the service, silent night, candlelight, me playing my flute and Grandma accompanying on the organ….it is one of those “peaceful moments” I cherish and pull out on the rough days.
Another thing that stands out in my mind is the value of family. Grandma seemed happiest when she had a house FULL. We Got together Often….Birthdays, Holidays, and sometimes, just because. The grown-ups would talk, Grandpa would be watching Football, or Basketball, or Baseball…depending on the time of year, and us kids would play. If the weather was nice, we would be outside, but on the days we were stuck indoors, Grandma’s House was PERFECT for Hide and seek, and the sounds of kids laughing and Grandma reminding us “Don’t run in the HOUSE!” ring in my memory.
This value of Family rang true time and again. When my cousin Alex, who is the youngest of all my cousins, was diagnosed with Autism, my family rallied around them, and the support and love rang true. I was in full blown rebellious teen mode by this point, but I still noticed it. This was my first experience with Autism, and little did I know, it was to be something I would need in the future, a Very important look into how to stand by someone who is hurting, to love without question, and that sometimes just being there is more important than all the advice in the world. I saw this again when my own son was diagnosed with Autism, and my Family surrounded us with Love , Prayer, and support that continues to this day, even though we live 20+ hours away.
As I think about my grandma, I can’t write this without stating again the power of her prayers. There is a quote floating around that says, “Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning, the devil says, “Aw crap, She’s up!” “…That’s my Grandma. There have been moments in my life that have been dark, when my faith has been less than evident, when I was running from God, and in those dark hours, there has been a presence that I can’t explain, but I KNOW that it was and is because of the prayers of my Grandma and my mom. ( and Grandpa and Daddy too…but this is about the women who inspire me most).
Grandma taught me a lot about love in other ways too. I remember thinking as I watched her and Grandpa….I want a love like that someday, a Love to stand the test of time, a love of a lifetime. Grandpa passed away 5 years ago, and OH I miss Him so, but that legacy of love lives on….
“I’ll be lovin’ you, always
With a love that’s true, always
When the things you’ve planned need a helpin’ hand
I will understand always, always
Days may not be fair, always
That’s when I’ll be there, always
Not for just an hour, not for just a day
Not for just a year but always
Days may not be fair, always
That’s when I’ll be there, always
Not for just an hour, not just a day
Not for just one year but always”
Grandma’s Love, Prayers, laughter, lessons on life …..she has given me so much more than anything money could EVER buy. I am SO Thankful and blessed. I wish I could be at her 90th Birthday party, but There is just no way to make that happen, so I am celebrating her legacy in my own corner of the world. I love you Grandma. Happy Birthday…..
We, your children, Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren, are your legacy.
You have taught us so much about Faith, Hope, Love, Prayer and Life.
We Love you.
1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak in the tongues[ of men or of angels, but do not have love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,
but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease;
where there are tongues, they will be stilled;
where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
At Grandma’s house, there was always laughter ringing, someone smiling, someone dreaming, words of kindness spoken, children singing…..Grandma played this song for my wedding, and it rings so true, for my childhood home, for Grandma’s house, and I am doing the best to ensure it rings true for my own home…