Today is a great day to reflect on the women in my life who have molded me, and essential taught me all I know about life. There were my Grandma's, one who was soft and quiet, one who was weathered and tough. There is my Mom, who to this day is creative, compassionate, busy lady of 70+ years old. I would be remiss to not include my best friend Yvonne who has been through things in her life that most people only see in movies or read of in books and is the strongest person I've ever known. My daughter-in-law Carla who is special just because she loves my son enough to keep him around (ha!) and is an incredibly talented Graphics Artist, and Mom to 1.25 of my grandchildren. (We have #7 coming in December!!!) And last but not least, my 2 daughters. They've turned out to be incredible women who are strong, soft, creative, smart, resilient, and amazing.
Back to Grandma's though, the funny thing is, the one who taught me the most about love and God is the one who was the tough one. My Grandma Alley was the tough one. I don't ever remember her being a kissy, huggy grandma, but I remember her spending hours on end teaching me how to play Rummy, how to crochet, play the keyboard, fish, things that I would use over and over in my life. Her mother died when she was very young and she had to help take care of the other children in the family- 11 of them altogether I believe. She never had an easy time of it, being divorced with two children back in the day when that just wasn't done. She learned to be self sufficient at a very young age and it showed. She quilted, tatted, crocheted, knitted, crafted anything out of anything. She was the one who passed on to me my love of junking. To this day we don't know if half the stuff we found when she died was hers, or someone elses that she "repurposed". She also wrote music, poems, and stories. There wasn't anything she couldn't do. She had a stroke, and the last 5 years of her life were spent in a nursing home. After the stroke she was unable to do a lot of things that required her use her fingers and fine motor skills, but she still kept busy.
My Grandma Standley was known around our house as "soft grandma". That name was given to her by my 2nd grandson, because her skin was so soft. She loved that "curly headed" little boy, and was always tickled when he would touch her and ask a million questions. Now don't let that name fool you, she was a hard worker and busy lady too. She did NOT however, do a craft in her whole life. She couldn't crochet, knit or tat. She could milk 50 cows twice a day, handle 6 children, and paint the house in her spare time when Grandpa took a trip with the neighbors in the 40's. She would always cook my favorite thing in the world for me EVERY TIME we came to supper, and I was always so tickled that she knew it was my favorite and made it just for me. It was creamed corn, something we didn't have at home - ever. The great thing was, even if we were having bologna sandwiches, she made creamed corn to go with it. I remember all of us grandchildren would go and stay with her for a few days in the summer. There were 5 of us all in 3 years, all little girls at that time. We were small enough we all slept in one bed, and LOVED every minute of it. She would crawl in with us and tell us stories, and we would giggle ourselves silly.
My Mom retired at 65, only to re-enter the work force 1 year later. I don't think she will ever be happy just sitting at home, as these days she is involved in the taking census in her area. She even had a flat tire last week, and bragged about changing it herself. I wasn't happy about it, but she was very happy that she could. She recently made my granddaughter's christening gown. It was actually repurposed from DD#1's confirmation dress. She tries hard to keep involved in all of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren's lives as best she can. There are a lot of us anymore.
My daughters are grown now, and I sit back and wonder sometimes where the time went. I think that's part of why I love being a grandma so much, because I can SIT BACK and enjoy it, instead of stressing myself out.
My DD#1 (Angie) is a single mom who has been through it and back. She is a runner/health guru/nut, who has shown me how strength can be a good thing and what a good Mom is all about. She has the every day problems we all have, compounded by handling them alone instead of having the balance we all take for granted. She is also a very creative person and makes the best doggone home made - from scratch - angel food cake I've every tasted. Her two boys are going to be on their own before she knows it, and then she will be lost! Her whole life has been about them for so long, it will be quite an adjustment for all of them.
DD#2 (Emilie) has a wonderful husband to help her out with that balance and is very busy too. She is a great Mom and daughter, knowing what she wants in life - and how to get it. She is a computer nut, and makes a living helping us computerless brains get by. She recently had baby #3, giving us our 2nd granddaughter! She has the sweetest little boys that are growing up too fast.
Daughter-in-law (Carla) is always kind and gentle, making her place in our family very important. We can be (okay, we ARE) kind of a rambunctious group when we all get together and I'm sure there are times when she wonders what she got in to. She puts up with us though, and we appreciate that!!! She and her Mom are incredibly talented with crafts of just about any type, I am so envious of that.
Yvonne has shown me a resilience I didn't know the human body was capable of. An ability to forgive and forget when things get tough. She's shown me how the tough get going, and keep going, and going, and going. Much like the "energizer bunny"! I've learned respect, courage, a sense of bravado, as well as kindness, mercy, sharing and friendship. I've learned that friendship is a relationship that I really knew nothing about until she came along.
I owe a great debt of gratitude to all of these women, and never say thank you often enough. Today ladies, thank you so much for all you have done and do for me. I don't mean material things, I mean the things in life we all take for granted - love, security, laughter, tears, excitement, and sorrow. So, I will say to all of you a very happy Mother's Day 2009. You are all my hero's!!