99 bottles of beer on the wall?
Nope. My grandma would have been 99 on Easter. She was an April Fool’s baby. Her birthday was always easy for me to remember. This picture was taken 5 years ago. (It’s a little blurry but you get the idea) My son was 6 at the time. He could make her smile like nobody else could. He would visit with her and wasn’t scared of older people like some kids are. She passed away at 95. I can’t even imagine all of the change she saw in her lifetime. She lived through the depression. She raised 10 kids. She didn’t lead an easy life, but it was full. One thing I will always remember is how much my grandparents loved each other. They would hold hands, giggle/laugh and have fun. They loved to dance when they were able, before arthritis made it difficult for grandma to walk. They played cards together and with friends. It wasn’t that they never fought, but they must have forgiven… found a way to come together despite their differences. It’s the kind of relationship I’ve wanted to emulate. Maybe it’s part of the reason I married my husband- I’d always be sure to laugh.
I don’t know all of the details of their bad times. I don’t know about the depression of the 30’s and 40’s, shortages of food or money, or what it’s like to lose a child. I feel like both of my grandparents would say, “Learn from the bad times, but remember the good times.” They weren’t negative people. They didn’t dwell on the crummy stuff in the past. They learned from those experiences, but I feel like they remembered the good instead of the struggles.
Same goes for the memories of them. I feel like they would want the good times to come to mind first… the big family gatherings, the laughter, the food shared, the games and the fun. Sometimes I find myself dwelling in the past. I feel guilty for yelling at my 3 yr old (12 years ago!), or regret words said or things I did in high school (even longer ago!!) I need to honor those things as a part of what shaped my story, but it’s not my current story. Forgive yourself, learn from it and move forward.
We recently went on a “spring break” trip to learn about making maple syrup and then to Nashville, Memphis & Bowling Green. Will my kids remember every detail from the trip? No. I hope they have a general memory that it was a fun trip, including the Grand Ole Opry, the Bass Pyramid & the Corvette Museum. They (hopefully) won’t remember the argument about Algebra before hand or any of the other small things along the way. Hopefully, they will learn from the Algebra struggles but remember the trip.
We are all too hard on ourselves. We carry around the baggage of the past, unwilling to set it down and hand it over because we’ve gotten comfortable with it. It’s ok to set it down. It’s ok to write a new chapter to your story. This is your journey- make the most of it. When you lay down the baggage of the past, you make more room for great new experiences.
Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you always learn from the bad, but remember the good!!