Happy birthday, Grandma!

Today would have been my Grandma Ruby’s 95th birthday.

My brother and I were born on October 1, and my grandma’s birthday was on October 2, something my grandma always thought was special. I thought it was neat and always enjoyed celebrating with her, but since she’s passed away, I find myself missing that special time we shared all the more. I thought last year’s birthday, the first without her, would have been hardest—but instead, it’s this year.

I miss my grandmother. I miss her smile and the way she always called me “Mandy Jane,” even though it wasn’t my name and no one else called me that. I miss the way she patted you on the hand. I miss her laughter, her twinkling blue eyes, the joy she found in loving others. I miss the safety of her house, a place where there was a refrigerator in the garage always stocked with candy bars and soda and always there for the taking. I miss her the way she used to be, before dementia robbed us of her personality and her joy.

Growing up, I would have told you that I wasn’t much like my grandma. I probably would have said we didn’t have much in common—but now as an adult living without her, I think I was wrong. I’m more like her than I thought. She loved to cook for others, and so do I. She loved to create, whether it was sewing, painting, or helping beautiful flowers to grow in her garden. There’s a need to create in me, too. It’s why I write and why I’m trying to learn to sew. It’s why I like Pinterest and making gifts for friends. (The growing plants thing, not so much. Except I do have some beautiful African violets.) My grandma loved her family fiercely and so do I. She was stronger than she thought, and I’m learning I am too, when I lean on God.

So, today I remember my grandma with joy. I’m thanking God for her long, good life and the many good memories I have of her. But most of all, I’m just thankful that she was my grandmother and that I know what it’s like to simply rest in someone’s love.

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