Today would have been my Grandma’s 88th birthday. Growing up in the midst of the great depression, Grandma learned to be frugal in her daily living and spending. Grandma learned that faith would guide her and comfort her through life’s ups and downs. She also learned a much bigger lesson to give more and love more. Money wasn’t easily available, but she knew that she had time and love to give to her family and friends.
These lessons Grandma learned at the feet of her parents were carried through entire life. She lovingly shared her faith with her entire family. It was not only during trying times as a family, but also those moments that sometimes we take for granted. A beautiful spring morning, healthy crops, a cup of coffee with a friend, or time spent with family were all moments Grandma would pause and say, “Thank you Lord for my blessings today.”
Grandma always had time to give through volunteering in her community making sure others knew about the “good ol’ days”. She visited others who might not have company. Grandma invited friends into her home for coffee that always included a plate full of her famous doughnuts. Her time was her gift to you. She would inquire about your family, your kids, vacations, and catch up on the day-to-day routine of your life. Grandma was warm, inviting, inquisitive host. Many times around her table you’d hear, “Well, I had better get going.” And another hour would pass by before that would actually happen.
I always knew growing up, that not everyone lived on the same farm as their grandparents. Not everyone spent time with their grandparents every single day. You see, Grandma, arranged her schedule to meet my sisters and me when we got off the bus. She would greet us hugs, snacks, and questions of what was going on in school today. Then the fun began when Grandma would get out the deck of cards to start a game of rummy or king’s corner. Never did we ever feel like we imposed on Grandma’s time. To her, we were the most important part of her day.
The best gift I got was having my boys spend as much time as possible with their great-Grandma. They were the ones who nicknamed her Grandma Lou. My boys were met the exact same way my sisters and I were so many years ago. Lots of hugs, snacks, and questions about what was going on in school. Then they’d be off on an adventure. My boys knew nothing but fun and games while they were with Grandma Lou. The boys never knew Grandma Lou to get tired or needing a rest. She would always say, “I can sleep when they have to go home.” Off they’d go again hunting frogs, throwing frisbees, or listening to stories from when Grandma Lou was a kid.
Last year, when Grandma’s health began to fade it was that one lesson that stuck with me. For so many years, my sisters and I were the most important part of Grandma’s day. I tried to do the same for her. I greeted her with hugs. I talked to her telling her about the goings on of my day, I read to her and got her snacks. When she was feeling up to it, I would wheel Grandma outside to sit under the shade trees. There we would just be not having to talk a lot, but yet saying so much. She was the most important part of my day.
Every year on her birthday Grandma’s famous words would be, “You kids spoil me!” We would tell her “You deserve it, Grandma!” That she did.
All my best to you,