I wrote about my birthday a few weeks ago but there’s no comparison to the birthday we celebrated last Friday. On August 16th, Granny turned 99 years old!!! Isn’t that incredible? How many people can you say you’ve been with on their 99th birthday?!? Not only that, but at 99 Granny is lucid and healthy.
As I was taking this picture, Jeff asked, “Granny, isn’t it amazing that he’s 98 years younger than you? Basically a century younger than you.” She chuckled and said, “Yeah, I suppose it is.”
So, how does one celebrate a 99th birthday? Well, Granny-style is:
1) with family (since not many friends are alive)
2) with lotto scratch-off tickets (99 of them to be exact)
3) with lemon merengue pie (reminiscing about old bday celebrations with Mrs. Mueller)
4) with pinochle (Granny’s favorite card game for the last 50+ years)
5) with an ipad, recording some answers to life’s important questions
A few months back, I read an article in the NYTimes called “The Stories That Bind Us”. The conclusion is that the more stories we know about our family, the better we are at facing life’s challenges. It has inspired me to start asking questions. I love the stories I’m hearing and the lessons I’m learning.
I combined this idea of learning more with what I knew of Storycorps. Storycorps’ mission is to provide people with “the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of our lives”. If you go to their website (www.storycorps.org) , you’ll find their “great questions” page. These are what I asked Granny on her 99th birthday. Some questions she answered with ease and others she said she’d have to think about more.
Granny has had the blessing of living for nearly a century. When I asked her what advice she wants to pass on to her family, she said, “Live well. Enjoy it while you can.”
I’ve dissected her message:
“Live well”–We are only living in this very moment. We waste time worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, but that takes away from ‘living well’ because we’re not present in the NOW. As a mother, I find myself worrying about what to cook for dinner or holding a grudge too long when Micha hits her brother. I want to ‘live well’ as does everyone I know, so staying focused on the present is important. Let go of the petty stuff so you live each moment as happy as you can be.
“Enjoy it while you can”–We take life for granted. We shouldn’t because we never know how long ours is going to last. As a parent, enjoy what you have when you have it. Start every day, by recognizing that today is a gift. As hard as parenthood can be, it’s also incredible. Enjoy the phases your kids go through. Embrace the hurdles your family faces with grace. These experiences add to our own life stories and our family’s narrative.
Granny, happy 99 years +10 days! You live what you preach and are an inspiration. I will strive to “live well and enjoy it while I can” for as long as I can. Hopefully as long as you 🙂
This week, spend some time, asking questions and learning lessons from your loved ones. I promise you you’ll be glad you did.