Happy 90th Birthday to my Grandma Linden....
Today is my Grandma's 90th birthday!
I remember when one of my uncles turned 50 and I said to her, "Does it seem like just yesterday that he was born?" She flatly replied, "No." Then started laughing.
Ninety is a long time and a lot of life to celebrate! I know she's over it most of the time though. I remember when I was pregnant with Emma, the plan was for her middle name(s) to be "Laura Jeanne" after my Grandma. Well, on my way to meet her for lunch, I heard someone talking about a Chinese proverb that said you should never name a baby after a living relative because it sucks the life out of them and they would die quicker (GAH!). Well, being the emotional pregnant woman, I told my Grandma there was no way I could name the baby after her now and told her why. She responded with, "Oh honey, for goodness sakes do it! I'm tired!" But I couldn't. So her middle name(s) is now Sarah Jeanne instead.
I often feel bad that I live so far away now and don't get to spend much time with her. Growing up I saw her several times every week, if not every day. And even though she has nineteen grandchildren (I think that's right?) and a ton of great-grandchildren, all I have to say over the phone is, "Hi Grandma!" and she recognizes my voice right away. I love her and I miss her and it makes me happy to hear her voice when I call. At some point in the conversation, the same words always get spoken...
V: "Anything new?"
V: "Well, I guess no news is good news."
Gma: "I like to think so."
She still watches game shows all day long, still reads books constantly, still does her puzzle books. I love to hear her tell me stories about when she was younger or when she and my Grandpa were dating. My heart is afraid that the novel I've been working on for a few years now won't be done before she's gone because so much of it was written with her in mind. I don't think she really has any idea how much love there is for her in this world. She just thinks she's lived life and that's that. But it's so much more.
Here is the letter I wrote her for her birthday....
I hardly have a childhood memory without you in it. Going to "Grandma's house" was an almost daily part of my life. You were there for birthdays, holidays and school concerts. I got to spend the night with you up in your room and talk to you in the dark before we went to sleep. I can remember more than once you either bundling me in blankets or putting a cool rag on my forehead to try and break a fever. The sight of snow blanketing the big back yard of your house, the smell of lilacs floating through your window, catching lightening bugs, seeing plastic easter eggs hanging from your trees. Hearing you laugh at something funny, combing your hair and putting curlers in it, playing with your puzzle books or even seeing you cry because you were frustrated or overwhelmed. All of these things are threads that have been woven into my makeup as a person and as a woman.
You may look back and think that you were merely living life, but it was so much more than that. You were investing in the lives of people who were learning from you and you helped create a line of women who are intelligent, loyal, strong, creative and who know how to persevere.
I love you so much and in case you don't already know, I am so grateful that you are my Grandma, and I'm proud to share your name "Jeanne" (and I'm glad you changed the spelling!).
I hope you have a beautiful and blessed birthday and I hope you feel just how much love there is for you and what a large legacy you have left in this world. I wish I could be there to share it with you.