Wednesday, February 02, 2011
A Letter to my Grandma on the
Occasion of her 90th Birthday
For Thanksgiving this year, I made a beautiful lemon meringue pie – my first. I worked for hours to roll the crust, cook the custard and whip the egg whites. After hours of work, my pie was complete. And it was beautiful! I felt so proud of myself, and knew I would be the hit of Thanksgiving dinner. A few hours later, I proudly cut into my masterpiece… only to find that the custard had turned to soup. And although the pie tasted great, it just did not measure up to the ideal in my mind.
Now step back in time just a few years to the scene of my darling Grandmother arriving for Thanksgiving dinner. You are dressed to the nines with a homemade cheese ball, soda for the grandkids, and peanut butter kiss cookies packaged neatly in a Nordstrom box. In addition, you have come prepared with almost a dozen homemade pies of great variety: chocolate cream, banana cream, and pecan. And yes, even a perfect lemon meringue pie or two!
It is no wonder that I had a difficult time measuring up on Thanksgiving, with my meringue pie in hand, to the ideal. It is because that ideal is you. You are the ideal woman, and the ideal grandma. Not only are your pies amazing, your life’s work is a masterpiece.
I have been raised knowing that I was named after you. I will live my whole life trying to become the kind of woman that you are.
Grandma, you are my hero. Through your teenage years and beyond, you continuously cared for and served your mother, who suffered from a series of strokes that left her paralyzed and unable to speak. Later, you cared for your father who was also of ill health. You were a star student, an officer at Utah State Univeristy and a beauty queen. You married Grandpa and found great joy raising your children. But all too soon
your husband died. Yet, instead of wallowing grief (even though I am sure you could have “cried a bathtub full”), you went to work: focusing on raising your small children while also supporting your family by teaching school for 43 years.
Your life of service and your strength – even in times of struggle – are lessons I internalized when I faced the death of our stillborn daughter Eliza. And your example guided me when I cared for Steve throughout his recovery from a stroke.
Thank you Grandma, for teaching me by example how to cherish the inherent joy in life, and how to push through difficult times.
You have so many talents, gifts and abilities, which you freely share. You have always made me feel so important and so loved. You have lived a beautiful life – one worthy of emulation.
I love you dearly. Happy birthday, sweet Grandma. May you find great joy in all the remaining days of your well-lived life.