Today is my grandmother's birthday. I believe she is 92 or 93 (I know it is terrible that I don't remember exactly how old she is but after 90 the years sort of run together). So even though she has NEVER even seen a computer other than at someone elses house, this post is in her honor.

My grandmother, Frances, was by far the most influential woman in my life. Not that my mom didn't have a big impact on me but the reverence that I had for my grandmother could not be matched. My dad was the youngest child by over 10 years and thus my next closest cousin in age is 12 years older than me and lived in Texas most of his life. So when my sister and I were born it was almost like being the only grandkids and we were spoiled rotten. My cousins and I have always referred to our grandparents by GM & GP.

I say that GM was the most influential woman in my life because to me she was the example. She has always been a quiet and reserved woman. She was a devoted wife, mother, Catholic, daughter, sister, and friend. She ALWAYS believed the best of everyone. She was married to my grandfather for 60 years before he passed. Their marriage was one of love, compassion, and a deep mutual respect. GM doted on GP but GP respected her and even when I was a small child I saw and understood that.

As a mother she was loving but firm. She raised her children to be respectful and to find their place in the world. As a Catholic she never missed church and feel asleep every night holding her rosary which she prayed faithfully. She taught me to let God, which I think is one of the hardest lessons I have ever had to learn. Although I never met her mother I have heard stories about how she brought her FIL in to live with them so they could take care of him and of how she visited her mother several times a week. Her relationship with her siblings have been rocky over the years but she was the one who throughout the disagreements worked to find peace and bring them closer together again. As a friend she was one of the best. Taking care of them when they were sick or down, always inviting in the outcast. There was a woman in town that smelled so bad and was so dirty that all of us had to swallow down bile to be near her. She was known for lifting her dress and squatting right there in GM's yard. Yet GM never let her know that she knew and never thought twice about offering her a cup of tea and to sit in her kitchen to visit (even though it would take the rest of the day to air out). She did always refuse the coffee or cookies that the woman offered us (she wasn't that nice and knew that the woman had over 20 cats living with her).

GM was a fabulous cook and used food to soothe the soul. She has more patience than anyone I know. She always took the time to get me an apron and let me help with everything she did. The weeks I would spend at her house in the summers were some of the happiest in my life. They lived on a tiny farm in a tiny town in Kansas. While there we would make cookies, she taught me to cross stitch and crochet, we pumped water from the well to water the flowers, weeded the garden, fed and gather eggs from the chickens, hung the laundry on the line to dry, and walked to church and back every Sunday. Their home was safe and warm place where everyone was welcome.

When our family would all gather for the holidays a favorite quote always came to mind.."Because two people fell in love". To me that was the story line. GM & GP fell in love and together they created this family with many generations to come. Not only did she create this family but she nurtured it too. I remember when my cousin at the tender age of 20 moved to Alaska with her husband and 4 month old baby my grandmother dried her tears and wrote to her weekly to soothe homesickness that followed. On my wedding day she told my husband that he was a good man and that GP would be proud to call him his grandson. When I shocking found out I was pregnant she was the first person I told (after Bret) and she cried tears of joy and eased some of my deepest fears of motherhood.

GM was not famous. In fact very few people outside her family and the small town that she lived in her whole life had ever heard of her. She was also not outspoken or one to lecture. Instead she set the example with her own actions and made me want to make her proud. I hope that I lead a life as honorable as hers. I strive to be the things that she was and will always be.


Angel said...

That is very sweet, I hope she gets to read what you just wrote about her.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful post, Adriana. Like Angel, I hope your grandma gets to read it.