Today would have been my grandma Ruthies 87th birthday. Some of you may remember me writing a post just shy of a year ago about my grandmothers passing. Most people would probably commemorate someone on the first anniversary of their passing, but I didn’t want to do that.
I decided pretty early on that I would never think of my grandmother on the day of her passing because her death is not essential. Her life is what mattered and her life began on April 10th, 1932.
She was the daughter of two parents who desperately wanted a child after losing their son at the age of three. Her parents loved her but were extremely protective of her. She was a bit of a rebel in my opinion as she found ways to sneak around them to do all the fun stuff kids and young adults do.
Just like me, she unexpectedly got pregnant with her first child at the age of twenty. Her and my grandpa eloped shortly after finding out, and they started a family. They had five kids all together. She worked most of her adult life at Golden Books before they moved overseas and even retired there after many years.
Her family was the most important thing to her. She had ten grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren and counting. Every Christmas she wanted all of us to squeeze into her tiny house. We’d be sitting on top of each other around the Christmas tree passing out gifts, and every year she’d sit in a little chair in the doorway so no one could leave and so she could see everything.
With five kids and ten grandkids, we’d do birthdays almost every month. I was lumped in with the October birthdays so my cake would always say “Happy Birthday Julie and Sarah”; I share my birthday month with my aunt. Some years we’d lump in someone’s boyfriend because if you were dating one of us, you were family.
These are the memories I have of my grandmother. I also remember not calling her on her birthday and not sending a card or a gift on Mother’s day. I regret not being more involved in the last ten years of her life. I mourn her not meeting my daughter Dessa which I knew she wanted. I would always say “Great-grandma lived until she was 97, I have 11 more years with her at least.” I was stupid and selfish. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her or miss her or wish that I could drive down to see her.
Today I want to celebrate her life and the woman I knew and still love. I never want to forget her or anything she taught me. One day I hope I can be as strong, loving and dedicated as she was.