June 12, 2016

Grandma's 95th Birthday Party

Today is my mother's mother's 95th birthday, wowzers! I can only hope I inherited some of her good genes. Yesterday, we held a surprise birthday party for her at her church - and when I say surprise, I mean people flew/drove in from--not just out-of-town, but--out of state. Her sister and brother and eldest son and his family, from California to Indiana. A niece and nephew from Iowa to take the place of their mother who had come down with shingles. Nieces and nephews from my grandpa's side filled a table with faces I didn't even recognize - the last time I had seen them was at my grandpa's funeral fifteen years ago.

With everyone else inside, catching up and introducing their young, my mother and her siblings (and their spouses) took a nicely dressed Marjorie to her church to take a family photo outside. This was before she realized her eldest son was present. Without her noticing, he and his wife (Linda) slipped into the picture and they showed my grandmother the digital screen to make sure everyone made it into the photo... it took her a few minutes to realize what was going on. She told my mother's twin sister, "Ann, you sure look a lot like Linda!" before finally turning to see them.

When she entered the backroom in the building she nearly cried - her hands covering her mouth as she stared gaping around at all of those who had come to celebrate. Eventually she made rounds, but not before going straight to her sister and asking, "who are you!?"
Her sister Helen on the left and brother Eddie on the right.

My mother's mother is the last grandparent I have left - she's also the one I've spent the most time with over the years, so it makes me very happy to see her active at the ripe age of 95! Can you believe she still works out in her own garden? I don't even want to weed my walkway...

She's a great example of a strong, independent woman - being more or less the sole breadwinner of her five-child family. And her work as a nurse was so meaningful. And her life was so hard...her most memorable years of childhood taking place during the Great Depression. Plus, even though she never divorced (being Catholic & all), her marriage wasn't fantastic (he only worked a few years out of their decades together) and they lived separately from (at least) the 80s onward. 

I'm not sure if I've ever seen her so happy!

I just know she's loving her surprise guests this week (and probably thankful for her daughters coming to help her clean up in advance for Mother's Day). I only wish I had a week of vacation time I could take off to catch up with them, too! I was happy enough to make the day trip, however. Here's to making the most of the special years she has left! I hope we can beat the smiles seen here on a hundredth birthday!

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