In my life I have been incredibly blessed to be surrounded by women of character and of influence. These women are responsible for a wonderful and magical childhood, but are also largely responsible for the woman I am today.
At their knees I learned the most important of life lessons.
I learned how to love, how to serve, and how to care for my family.
I learned the importance of creating memories and carving out time for fun.
I learned that laughter is one of the greatest antidotes to hard days and that hard work pays dividends.
I learned that life is a grand adventure, and when it comes to the twists and turns on the road of life, we can either fruitlessly resist or lean into the bends and enjoy the ride.
I learned that there is something to be learned from every experience and every person we encounter in our travels.
I learned that family is everything, and as long as you have that you will always feel wealthy.
One of the greatest influences in my life has been my father’s mother, whom I refer to often in the blog as G.G.
G.G. just recently moved closer when in October she sold her home in Florida to move closer to my parents in Wooster, Ohio. Although the craziness of life has kept us from visiting as often as we’d like, we are so grateful to have her close by and a regular fixture at all our family gatherings at the Homestead.
This month was a big one for G.G. as she celebrated her 90th trip around the sun. As vibrant and fun as ever, I can only hope to live my life as well as she has.
In honor of her big day, plans were in the works months prior to plan a celebration worthy of the birthday girl. My parents, along with my Dad’s three siblings and their spouses, made plans to celebrate this milestone birthday in style.
The plan was for everyone (Andy/Jane, Denise/Jack, Jill/Paul, Marty/Fran, and my sister Kelly) to come into town for a week of reunion fun with the planned activities coming to a peak on Thursday night with a celebratory birthday dinner at the Olde Jaol Restaurant.
Prior to the birthday party I was recruited to take on the task of creating a scrapbook for the birthday girl. Months prior to the event I began the project by sending out letters to friends and family requesting birthday letters for grandma. The letters came rolling in and I had a blast reading the memories recorded by all those who love her and whose lives have been touched by hers.
My own sweet memories of her loving traditions that helped mold for me a magical childhood were echoed in the letters from others. I found as I compiled the scrapbook, my love, admiration, and appreciation for my grandmother grew even more, and it was a joyful project to undertake.
Last Thursday was the big day.
Following a shortened day at work, Toby arrived home with enough time to change before we made the 2.5 hour drive to Wooster, Ohio. There we joined family for G.G.’s 90th birthday dinner at Olde Jaol Resturant.
This historic gem, located in downtown Wooster, was a perfect place to have such a special birthday celebration. The restaurant, converted from the old city jail, offered a charming atmosphere to compliment a delicious meal…probably the best food I have ever eaten!
There we were joined by my parents, out-of-town family,
And of course the birthday girl, who thanks to gifts from Jane and Andy’s puppies, was decked out for the occasion in “90th birthday” bling.
That evening we enjoyed an amazing meal and even more amazing company as we gathered together to celebrate the life of a woman whose life has touched so many for the better.
Gifts were given with loving consideration and each gift was an expression of love.
Then we presented G.G. with the gift from the entire family…the compilation of love letters from friends and family near and far. As she read through the memories that had been penned, it was a confirmation of the impact one soul can have on the world.
So often we move through this life doing the best we can, wondering if our feeble attempts are making any difference at all. It is easy to become focused on our failures or the struggles that dot our existance, and we lose sight of the big picture and the trail of blessings we leave in our wake…
Blessings that make this world a brighter and better place because we are in it.
The scrapbook of letters served as a testament to the impact one person can have.
What a life G.G. has led these last 90 years!
How blessed we all are to be a part of that life!