According to motivational speaker John Di Lemme, “Your family legacy is determined by the actions that you take today.” If this is true, then yesterday we had quite a lesson in legacy, because when you add 2 kids + 1 great grandma you’re bound to equal one heck of a good time. As a child I remember streams of great parties filled with oldies music, endless days spent outside and clear focus on family. There isn’t a memory I have or hold dear without at least one member of my family in it. My sister, my cousins, my parents, aunts and uncles – they were all always there. But one member in particular frames the edges of the photographs in my memory, and that is my grandmother. At every party, every event, every milestone … her four-foot-eleven stature and too-loud laugh can be traced back as far as my memories go. From singing me classic 1940’s lullabies to sitting me on her lap when I was nearly taller than she was and rocking me back so high that our legs paralleled the ceiling, I adore her. It is no wonder my own mother has turned into such a delightful “Mae Mae,” as I know she had the best example.
Maybe it is because she had such a strong presence in my life that I continue to try and foster the impact she can have on my own children now. Yes … ninety-three years old and still going strong, our “great grandmother” plays an active a part in my six and eight-year-old’s memories as my own. Living two hours apart, we get up to visit about twice a month, but when we do … we really make every moment count. Here are just a few of the: hilarious, stressful, laughable, lovable moments we shared.
Top 10 Memories of Taking out Two Kids and a Great Grandma:
- Sharing tortilla chips at dinner and having my eight-year-old (in new braces) with tons of chip crumbs in his teeth, tell his great grandmother she has “stuff” in hers
- Leaving the restaurant and having Gram ask me if we are going to “leave all of our things behind,” which consisted of a bowl of butter, placemats and a cup of crayons
- Having my son spill his freshly handed-over slurpie so that blue-foam dotted his face, shirt and arms, and my grandmother get a Junior Mint stuck on her cross necklace like a sticky-brown charm
- Watching fifteen previews so that none of us could even remember what movie we were about to see, and having both the kids and Gram shout loudly “THAT LOOKS LIKE A GOOD ONE! TWO THUMBS UP!” as I lamely looked around at the annoyed people around me and pointed at my ears in a lame attempt to make it seem my whole family is hard-of-hearing
- Watching digitally-wonderous previews of cinematic progress, only to have Gram “OOOOH!” when the tiny silver shimmer twinkled in the “SONY” advertisement, most likely the LEAST impressive effect of the entire display
- Going to the bathroom seven (SEVEN!!!!!) times so that I have no freaking clue what the movie was actually about or how it resolved (no sarcasm intended at all)
- Having my daughter and son take turns taking pictures of Gram and them, making her feel like the true celebrity she is to our family
- Calling my mother to wish her a happy birthday on FaceTime and having my grandmother finish singing to then ask if it was her birthday
- Having my grandmother realize that it was, in fact, her own daughter’s birthday, and watch her talk to the image of my mother through FaceTime, crying and telling her “little girl” now mid-fifties how young she looked and how precious she was, and how she will always be her baby (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMY! YOU’RE MY FAVORITE PERSON IN THE WORLD YOU KNOW!)
- Having the kids tell me that spending the day with their ninety-three year old great grandmother was the “Best Day Ever” and having Gram (whose memory flickers like a beautiful, inconstant firefly) tell me she will “Never forget today”
I pray that whether or not you had an influence like her, you find joy in the beauty and insight of the elderly. They have so much joy, wisdom and laughter to imprint on your spirit. They are living testimonies that life is doable, livable, and worth loving.
Go love someone,