Today is my Grandma’s 95th birthday.
She’s always been one of my favorite people from the time I was a kid, because she would always draw with me (she’s quite artistic!), play the piano with me (she can play the piano like nobody’s business!) and even let us play with a box of makeup and perfume much to the chagrin of our parents, and I always loved going to her house.
She’s always been fun, and always been one of the happiest people I know. Her house was always warm and happy and welcoming and cheerful. I’ve never heard her yell… never heard her say unkind words… never heard her gossip. I’ve never seen her without her makeup on; she’s always put together.
But it wasn’t until I grew up that she became one of my heroes. I went to grad school two nights a week in her town, about 60 miles from my own, and so after class, I’d stop by her house and visit with her and sometimes spend the night, and we talked like grown-ups and she told me lots of stories I didn’t know about my grandfather (the super-handsome Gregory Peck lookalike in the photo above, who died in 1947), and about raising her three children as a widow back in the 1940s.
When her husband, my grandfather, died back in 1947, she had a six-year-old little girl and twin three-year-old boys. I’ve been a single mom, and I can’t imagine the strength required to be a single mom to three tiny children while grieving the loss of their dad… with three tiny children who are grieving for their dad also.
But everyone who knows my Grandma knows that her strength has always come from the Lord.
On our post-grad-school visits, she’d tell me how she made sure she kept her kids in church every time the doors were open, and made sure her boys had Godly men at the church for role models. She had to work a lot and leave her kids often, but she did the best she could do. And sixty-plus years later, we’ve all turned out ok.
All three of her kids… all nine of her grandchildren… all (I’ve lost count of) her great-grandchildren. Her first great-great-grandchild was born a few months ago. Her legacy continues through the generations.
Grandma still volunteers at the hospital two days a week, and only recently stopped going to aerobics class… though she misses the exercise, she told me yesterday. She said taking care of her husband keeps her young, because he’s “an old man,” she says, at the ripe old age of YOUNGER THAN SHE IS.
I hope she has a fabulous birthday today, and many more happy birthdays to come. And I want to be just like her when I grow up.