Happy Birthday

20 reasons to celebrate my Grammy on her birthday (today):

  1. She’s always thinking of the kids – which includes stashing Oreos in a very accessible lazy Susan.
  2. She holds on to things – she’s kept many of the same toys that her grandchildren and even her children played with as kids.  Seeing third generations marvel over the same trucks and plastic golf clubs is something special.
  3. She prays – not just for herself and her family, but pretty much for everyone.  There’s a very good chance that Grammy has, at some point or another, said a prayer for you.
  4. She’s not afraid to say what she thinks – even if she’s pretty sure you won’t like what she has to say.  She says it because she believes she is helping.
  5. She’s not afraid to be quiet – when she’s unsure of how she feels, or unsure of how it will be received, she waits.  She is quiet because she believes she is helping.
  6. Her cakes – she is an expert cake decorator and for decades treated her grandchildren to her “family famous” clown cakes – an 8” round cake with three clowns hanging off the sides made entirely out of frosting.  Birthday kids always got treated to an entire clown. 🙂
  7. Her sweaters, snocks, hats, mittens, blankets, and baby clothes – she’s also an expert knitter, and her creations are so beautifully and thoughtfully crafted that they are truly collectibles (and like anything worth collecting they last forever).
  8. Her Easter Eggs – in addition to the cake decorating and knitting, Grammy can also paint.  More than 25 years ago she painted dozens of smooth wooden eggs to hide for Easter.  They’ve never lost their luster.
  9. Her salad – she always makes three times the amount she knows we’ll need, because everyone always wants seconds, and we all want some to take home (she claims that celery salt and champagne vinegar are the secret ingredients, but really it’s just her).
  10. Her hair and nails – she takes care of them – always – which has always been a reminder to me that even when times are tough there are great rewards in self-care.
  11. Her photos – whether of her and her beau (our Papa) sunning at Hampton, standing proud with their children, or holding any of their many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, her treasured pictures tell a priceless family history.
  12. Her acceptance – truth is, Grammy didn’t know me when I was born – her son brought my mother, my sister Lindsey, and me into her life many years later, and yet I never hesitate to call her my grandmother – and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
  13. Her music – it took me a LONG time to develop a true and deep appreciation of Celtic music, but she played it for me LONG before I could really hear it…and now I listen to it often, always thinking fondly of her maiden tribe, the Conlons.
  14. Her generosity – I can’t remember a time when she tolerated any of us to really experience what it’s like to go without.  Even when there’s not much, she’s demonstrated how there’s still enough to go around.
  15. Her humility – when her children convinced her and their father to leave the home they raised them in and move to New Hampshire (to be closer to my parents) she resisted – but later she admitted that she was grateful for the nudge.  I think of that when I’m not always so pumped about what I “have to” do.  She reminds me that those  “have tos” could very well turn out to be true “get tos.”
  16. Her stories – they’re all almost always about someone else in the family.  It’s important to her that those directly connected to her know just how many others we’re all connected to…cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, godchildren, in-laws, and longtime friends – she truly enjoys connecting all of us to each other.
  17. Her house – whether the house she raised her kids in or the house her great-grandchildren now come to visit, there’s something about her place that seems to say: you are safe here.
  18. Her presence – whether a graduation, dance recital, big (or not so big) game, a momentous life-event, or just a meaningful moment, I can’t remember ever asking her to share in a special event and her not finding a way to do so.
  19. Her willingness to teach – she was the first adult to ever let me cook entirely on my own – it was a grilled cheese sandwich.
  20. Her Moxie – okay, technically the Moxie belonged to the love her life – our Papa (he loved the stuff) – but through the years, Grammy’s developed her very own brand of Moxie, and I’m pretty grateful she shares it with us.


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