When we hit middle age so many of us may feel like this is it. Life as we know it is over. But let's be honest . . . it's only just the beginning!
What is age anyway? It's only a number! It's how you live that defines you.
My grandmother is 91 years old. She'll be 92 in November. She has four kids, six grandchildren, nine great-grandkids, and two great-great-grandbabies that she loves to spend time with!
How awesome is it that she is still around to see all of them growing into their own, and living happy, successful lives?
This past week I was fortunate enough to have her come out to Austin and visit for a week. Yup, on her own - still traveling at 91 years old!!
I've always thought of my grandmother as a pretty incredible lady.
Her last visit to Austin - June 2013
She hasn't always had an easy life; she lost her mother when she was very young, was raised by a "difficult" father, she's been in several bad relationships, and has struggled with personal demons; BUT somehow she always made it out a better person. A kind person. A spiritual person.
When I teach memoir writing to my 7th graders I always write about my grandmother. I feel like her story is one that should be shared. Her ability to overcome tough times and still love with a full heart.
She inspires me in ways others just don't. There's a connection there that we share that I don't have with anyone else. I absolutely adore this lady.
For her 90th Birthday all the girls in the family (aunts, cousins, granddaughters) spent the weekend in Las Vegas and celebrated Grandma's BIG milestone by none-other than an evening at Thunder from Down Under.
People were amazed at seeing this older gal enjoying such a risqué evening. She was even brought up on stage, given a little lap dance! At that point there was no holding her back!!
But I never thought anything of it. She's always been spry. Dirty talk and a little ass grabbing doesn't scare her. Damn, the lady has been married 4 times.
Mentally she is more alert than I am most days. To me she's always been "just grandma," but to others, she defies what an old lady should be. AND I LOVE THAT!
This past visit made me take a step back and really look at my grandmother as a miracle. How amazing is it that she still drives? She moves slower, but she is still up and about; not only taking care of herself, but of several others in her apartment building. She makes extra money by mending or ironing for those that no longer can. She provides a shoulder to those that need it. An ear, an open heart, and a soft place to land.
She loves gambling, singing in the choir, and flirting. Seriously!! This lady can a find a boy-toy wherever she goes!!
Honestly, I don't know if I want to live that long, but watching her just reinforced my thoughts on why it is so important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I want to be fortunate enough to be around to drive my kids crazy long into my old age, spoil my grandchildren, and cuddle my great-grandchildren.
As I watched my Grandma head to the ticket counter at the airport to head back home - I just sat back and thought "90 is the new 60!!" You go Grandma! See you next summer.
This past week heaven gain one of it's greatest gifts. My sweet grandmother closed her eyes, took a deep breath, said her last prayer and made her way to a better place. A place where she will no longer feel pain. A place where she can find comfort and peace and no doubt a new boyfriend!
My grandmother would have been 98 this November and up until Covid and social distancing she was as sassy as ever. Alert, spry, and always spunky. Covid was hard on her mental health. She lost access to her friends, her full social calendar was now empty. These past two years took a toll on her and it was time for her to find relief.
I will miss her tremendously, but I am so thankful for the 48 years I had with her
I'll miss the goofy things she would say. The abrupt end to our phone calls. Her random woohoos. Her stories. But most importantly, I will miss the love only a grandma can give.
I love you grandma . . . until I see you again!