happy 80th birthday!

happy 80th birthday!

This post is for my grandmother, a certain Dorothy N. who lives in Orlando. :-) Today she turns 80 years old. Wow! I think it’s a great excuse to celebrate who she is and what she means to me.

My grandma has been such a big part of my life. I can’t think of a time when she wasn’t there for me. There have been many times when she has opened her home up to my family when we were visiting for a few months or had nowhere else to go. I don’t know if that was hard for her, but it definitely impacted my life in the form of a sense of stability and a sense of home that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Those two things are so important to a child, I think, and I don’t know if she’ll ever realize how much that meant to me even if I didn’t realize it at the time.

There have been times in my life when I have been sad or hurt, and my grandma has always been someone I can turn to and know I will be loved no matter what. I think sometimes when you’re growing up there are things you can’t tell your parents, but I always felt like I could be honest with my grandma. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with her, tears rolling down my cheeks as I described what sort of “hardship” I was facing. She didn’t laugh at me or try to downplay what I thought was a Super Huge Big Deal. She just gave me a hug and told me she loved me. That meant more to me at the time, reassurance that despite all my “problems”, it was going to be okay.

Another thing I love about my grandma is that she has always let me bring my friends “home” to visit. I have many a friend who has stayed at my grandparents’ house; either when we were visiting Atlanta or just stopping by on our way to Florida. She has always been warm and inviting, welcoming my friends and caring about them as people. They in turn loved visiting. I was going through my pictures and found this one from my wedding:
Grandma and bridesmaids

There’s my grandma, talking animatedly with some of my closest friends. That is so like her, warm and friendly. I love that about her!

My grandma has always taken a great interest in me as a person and in my life. She came down to Peru to visit us twice, which was so much fun to show her our lives as we were growing up. She was always sending us stuff through the mail, and she seemed to know exactly what we wanted or needed! Even though we lived so far away, she made the effort to keep in touch and still be close. One really special thing she did for me was send me to theater camp the summers before 7th and 8th grades. I stayed with her for two weeks and I feel like that was such a bonding experience for us. I love that she was willing to get up early and drive me to the theater every morning and pick me up every afternoon. Another bonding experience was when she taught me how to drive when I was 18. Thanks to her, I nailed the parallel parking part of the driving test. I know it was hard for her to have her only grandkids so far away in Peru for so many years, but she did such a great job at making the distance feel not so great.

There are so many little memories I have of my grandmother; I wish I could share them all. She is an amazing person and I feel so honored to be her granddaughter! She’s also had a pretty interesting life. She’s visited all 50 states and many countries, and has had so many great experiences.

I wish I had more pictures of us when I was growing up, but I’m afraid most of them are prints that aren’t scanned in yet. You’ll have to settle for some more recent pictures.

I love you, Grandma! Happy 80th birthday today and I hope you have a fabulous day! I wish I could be there to celebrate it with you, but please know I am there in spirit.

Me and Grandma
Taken when I was about 16.

AJ, Molly, Grandparents
My brother’s wedding last December.

Grandma's birthday
This past weekend, they surprised my Grandma at the rehearsal dinner with a cake!

What is that?
My family gave her a digital frame for her birthday. They loaded it with pictures of her family and friends through the years.

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