Monday, September 29, 2014

Celebrating 100

I spent this weekend in Kalamazoo with my family celebrating my great grandmother's 100th birthday. Her birthday was on Wednesday, but we had a party for her on Saturday. It's not every day someone you know turns 100. It's kind of amazing to think about all she's been through and experienced within her life. I feel so blessed to still have her around. My great grandma is one of the strongest, most generous, inspiring women I know. I only hope to be half the woman she is.

She's been in a rehab facility for most of the summer (after having a fall), but she made it home on Thursday. My mom said she even noticed major improvements just over the couple of days that she's been back home. It's amazing how much our recovery depends on our comfort levels and surroundings.

An older(ish) photo of my mom and grandma. This was either Easter or someone's birthday.

My mom took the week off and drove down with my grandpa on Wednesday, then my dad, brother, and I drove down Saturday morning. Getting up at 5:30am wasn't exactly my idea of a good time, but there was no way I'd miss celebrating with my grandma. After being able to spend more time with her while I was in college, I miss having her near by. I used to love going over to my aunt's house and sitting down next to my grandma to drink coffee and chat about life. After 100 years she has plenty of stories to tell and opinions to share (and she was never afraid to share them).

Many people mentioned what a great cook my grandma has always been. She always took the time to make home made meals for people passing through and she never let you go without something to eat. Even when I'd come over to take care of her while my aunt was away, she'd never let me go too long without eating something. She always puts other people before herself.

A few Christmases ago I started helping my grandma make all the cookies for the holiday. For most of my life she's been a making lemon star cookies, date cookies, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, toffee bars, peanut brittle every Christmas. Of course she never goes by an actual recipe, so helping her bake was a bit of a challenge, but we managed. My cookies never turned out quite like hers, but I hope someday I'll get the hang of it.

Looking at pictures over the years brought up so many fond memories of going to visit my grandma's old house on the lake. My grandma moved in with my aunt (who had been living with her at the lake for some time) to a new house closer to town back in 2003. I was so sad when they sold that house because it used to be one of my favorite places to visit. The house was right next to this little corner store and my grandma would always give my brother and I money to go over and get candy whenever we came to visit.

This was probably taken right before they left the lake house.

The house had this amazing bathroom with a slanted ceiling and this crazy green long shag carpet. I used to love going in there to sit after people would take their showers and it would be all warm and cozy. There was also a three (four?) seasons room where we'd always sit and play Trouble or cards. In the summer we'd go swimming or take the paddle boat out. Plenty of fun was had all around.

Just two out of the many, many dance concert pictures taken together over the years.

My great grandma has this whole history all her own and I feel so lucky to be a part of it. She's been to all my dance concerts, showing her love and support over the years. We've celebrated birthdays and Christmases and graduations together. I've been lucky enough to create memories with her in multiple states around the country. There's no one else in the world quite like my great grandma. I have always looked up to her and appreciated her words of wisdom. I hope that we have many more days to spend together.

It was also really great to see extended family that I haven't seen in a long time. Including my long lost cousin who I haven't properly spent time with in over 3 year (if not more). We need to figure out some time to get together.


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