On this day 80 years ago, a very special woman was born. My grandmother entered the world on 12/12/1932 at 12:12 a.m. She was the twelfth of seventeen children (yes, seventeen). So, today, on 12/12/12, we celebrate her 80 years of life.
In case those numbers alone don’t convince you what a special woman my Grandma is, let me tell you a little bit about her.
She is a hard worker. As one of seventeen children, she learned to work hard and be content with little. She met and married my grandpa at a young age and built her new family with her love for God and strong work ethic. She works hard for God; she works hard for her family. That’s my Grandma.
She is a mother at heart. She raised four of her own children (my mom and her siblings) and has always had an open heart and open arms for any child who might need a warm meal, a kind smile, or a loving hug. My dad was one of those kids. As the only child of a single, working mom, he found a safe place to land (and some great food) at my grandma’s house where he would conveniently hang out until his mom came home from work. (He eventually noticed my mom there, too, which worked out well for me!) Many children owe her much. That’s my Grandma.
She is a servant. It was not uncommon for birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other event at my grandma’s house to include people I had never seen before. Some lived with her and my grandpa for time if they needed extended care. Many just came for a good meal and “family” time. Her door was always open, and her oven was always on (still is) for anyone who might need a warm meal and some love. That’s my Grandma.
She is strong. When my Grandpa died ten years ago, he and Grandma had been married to for over 60 years. We couldn’t help but wonder what she would do without him. She did was she has always done. She stood strong in her faith, rolled up her sleeves, and got right back to work serving others. I know it’s been difficult, and I know there are still moments when the pain seems fresh, but she doesn’t let that keep her down. That’s my Grandma.
She’s the Grandmother of all Grandmas. As a child, I would sit at the window, impatiently willing her car to appear on our street as I waited for her all-too-infrequent visits. When she would finally arrive, I would be swept up in her warm hugs and nestled with her sweet laughter.
She had a way of making me feel uniquely special. I was convinced that I was her world and that she had counted down the days from her last visit just as anxiously as I had. Of course, she had other grandchildren, but I knew I was her favorite. (I’m sure my sisters and cousins would say they felt the same.) Now that I am grown and have a family of my own, I love to watch as she makes my children feel the same way. That’s my Grandma.
She is my hero in the faith. She has worn out many a carpet, I’m sure, from the hours spent on her knees. Not long ago my aunt said she had called my Grandma who sounded like she’d been crying. When asked if something was wrong, my Grandma simply answered, “I’ve just been praying for all my kids.” That’s my Grandma.
We were blessed to celebrate her over Thanksgiving with a very special party in honor of her birthday. I heard so many friends and family members say how much my Grandma has meant to them over the years. She means so much to me, too. It makes me so proud to say, That’s my Grandma.
Happy Birthday, Grandma! We love you!
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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.