8 years ago, we celebrated my maternal grandma’s 95th birthday. Not too long after that, she passed away. She was in the nursing home and had dementia. She would know my mom some days, and other days she would tell wild stories that didn’t make much sense. My mom would visit her often, some days she wouldn’t stay for long, depending on how grandma was feeling. Whenever we came to visit, we would stop by also to see her and let the boys visit her. Even though she was sometimes a little quiet, our youngest son could always make her smile. He was a baby when my grandpa passed away. We were sure she would be soon to follow, but she surprised us by hanging on for several years.
My boys didn’t know their great grandma like I knew her. They didn’t remember her laugh or twinkle in her eye. They didn’t remember the big family meals (grandma & grandpa had 10 kids). They didn’t remember the card games and laughing until late into the night. Their memories weren’t the same as mine. I recall the old farm house only in brief spurts of memory. I remember some Christmases there. I remember being in my Crayon sleeping bag on the floor. I remember the kitchen and the drawer of treats. I remember the basement, which seemed scary as a young kid because of its dirt floor and hunting traps.
8 years ago, I hadn’t thought about the possibility of cancer. 8 years ago, my brother in law hadn’t yet had his farm accident. 8 years ago, we lived in a different town and I hadn’t thought of moving. 8 years ago, our big family dynamic changed with the passing of my grandma. As the “kids” had families of their own, our get-togethers became fewer and fewer. Some of the group would show up for a wedding, graduation or funeral. Some would show up for a reunion. A lot can change in 8 years.
We just finished “graduation season” and went to California for a wedding, hence my delay in posting. Life is short. For some, it’s far shorter than what we hope or plan for. In three short years we will have another graduate. In 8 years, who knows what will happen. One thing is certain – change. Change can be a good thing because it leads us to a new phase in life.
I try not to take birthdays for granted because it’s a gift not everyone is given … another year. So this year, we celebrated a wedding of one niece, flew to Disneyland and celebrated the 21st birthday of another niece and our youngest son’s 16th birthday. Our feet are sore from walking but our memory banks are full. What a wonderful and memorable birthday for both of them. I’m thankful to have been a part of it.
Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Wherever life takes you the next 8 years, make it a memorable trip!