Today would have been my grandmother’s one-hundredth birthday. Dad reminded me of the century mark this morning during his “wellness email,” the daily communication that lets three of us daughters know he is awake and safe, which we insisted upon when our mom moved into an Alzheimer’s residence.
Grandma Webb was a mystery to me. Quiet, unassuming until you sparked her anger (i.e. young Sarah not wanting to take a nap until Grandma scared her into staying in bed for the required hour), not sharing her emotions. Grandma was renowned for her lemon meringue pies, and the family looked forward to dinners (desserts!) at her home. The times she made chocolate meringue pies were heaven to me.
When I was fourteen Grandma presented each of her seven grandchildren with an afghan she knit herself, in colors representing the birth month for each of us. I didn’t like the colors of my afghan at the time, but I felt grateful for the present. When I became an adult and lost Grandma, I treasured that memento of her love. I use it every day to snuggle with the dogs on our living room couch as I read or watch TV with Matt. After warming five dogs over the course of twenty-four years, it’s needed some repairs to close holes made by puppies who don’t understand Grandma’s afghan can’t be replaced.
I honor my ancestors and am glad to have known all four of my grandparents. Not everyone has the opportunity to learn that quirks and characteristics are passed down generation to generation, either through DNA or environment. Grandma was a quiet woman, and my dad is a quiet man. I used to be quiet, but really can’t call myself that anymore (must not run in my genetic code).
Happy birthday, Grandma. May the candle I light for you shine wherever you now call home.