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Happy to Celebrate!

Most times when I put my fingers on my keyboard to write the first draft of a column I have the topic and most of the 500 words, in somewhat logical order, in mind.  Today only the topic is firm: this week I’ll celebrate a milestone birthday.  But the words are like shooting stars – fast and random.

             I think of my grandmothers and Mom and of my other significant birthdays and my life at age 25 and how the next fifty years unfolded.  If given a second chance, what would I have done differently?  I count blessings.  I reflect on how I got to be this age and what’s next.

            Granny and Grandma Gladys looked old when they were 75. Both had short wavy gray hair and wore dresses – I never saw either in a pair of pants.  Neither ever drove a car.  Granny worked in her garden and hand stitched quilts and watched soap operas and wrestling on TV.  Grandma cooked three meals a day for herself and Papa and welcomed their three daughters’ visits.

            In her seventies, Mom played golf and Scrabble, preserved vegetables and fruits that she and Dad raised, sewed clothes for herself, machine stitched quilts, grew flowers, watched baseball and basketball games.   These memories make me wonder how my children and Grands will describe me at 75?

            At 25, I hoped for children and five years later, Husband and I had two toddlers, Daughter and Son. And many years later, they blessed us with grandchildren.  At 25, or even 50, I never expected eight Grands!

            Oh, the things I would have done differently.  Fewer chores and more play with my children.  Laughed at spilled milk. Rocked until babies slept and then kept rocking. Allowed desserts even if all the vegetables weren’t eaten.

I wish I’d listened more carefully and made notes when Mom and Dad told stories of their childhoods and when they dated as young adults and their early marriage.  Why didn’t I ask my grandparents about their lives?  Why didn’t I write their memories?

As an elementary school teacher, I’d be less strict and structured.  I would learn more about my students’ home lives and send home more positive notes. 

            At this point in life, counting blessings comes easy.  Several years ago, I began listing people, things, and events for which I’m thankful.  This morning as I drank coffee on my front porch at 6:30 a.m., I wrote number 5983A hummingbird chattered and drank from our feeder. 

            If someone asked “Who are you?”, I’d start with relationships.  Christian. Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Cousin. Friend.  I’m most thankful for God and people.             

I’m thankful to live when we grandmothers color our hair and wear shorts and drive grandchildren to practices and play in swimming pools with them.  I’m thankful to sleep under Granny’s quilts and make Mom’s sweet pickles. And I appreciate a computer that lets me cut and copy and delete.

I’m really happy to celebrate this birthday.  I’ll eat cake first.

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