Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Mother's Wisdom

In honor of a wise woman:

Born March 1916
Died December 2009

A repost from Summer 2009:

True Beauty

This is my grandmother and this photo was taken three weeks ago at our family reunion.

She is 93 years old and every year the family gathers around this matriarch to sing her a song that she old country song..."Red Roses for a Blue Lady".

As the song is sung each one of her 14 children dances up to her in order of their birth and hands her a red rose.

Grandma's husband died when she still had 11 children in the home. She never remarried.

She has 52 grandchildren.

At last count, she has over 110 great-grandchildren and a dozen great-great grandchildren.

She is a "Mom of Many" and has an incredible legacy to show for it.

And she is beautiful.


I had the honor of sitting down with Grandma B. a couple of years ago to record her memories for a scrapbook that I was making. Here are just a few of her stories.

On pregnancy: "I didn't really know anything about being pregnant. I thought babies came out your naval!...They made you stay in (the hospital) nine days. You weren't suppose to get out of bed. Of course you know I did!"

On children: "When you're raising kids, you just do what you got to do...and love 'em to pieces...that's all."

On feeding a large brood: "The kids would sit at the table and when I would fix oatmeal for breakfast, they would come one at a time to get their bowl. By the time the last one sat down, the first one was back!" One of her children confided to me that Grandma B. would feed all of her children first. After they had eaten, she would scrape together any left overs from their plates to eat herself.

On being a single mother: "I took on ironing to pay their tuition. They embarrassed them at school if they didn't pay. They'd make them stand up and so-and-so hasn't paid their tuition. So I made sure their tuition was paid and I made their uniforms." Grandma B's hands went numb from all the ironing she did. She also watched other people's kids to earn money.

On teenagers: "The girls would go to the teenage club..which was fine, it was at the church...but I had a system. When they pulled in I would flick the porch light. Then I would flick it again. But they knew if I flicked it a third time, I was out there!"

On growing older: "I miss the kids...(Laughing) Well, I don't really because they're always around. And there's three phases to life: when you're young, when you have kids, and when you're old...and you enjoy each one of them. You just have to love life."

And she did. I can remember her driving tractors and go carts in her eighties. She was still fishing and reading a book a week in her nineties.

One of my favorite stories of Grandma B. was from just a couple of years ago. She was fishing with my aunt and landed a big one. Struggling to reel the fish in, she admitted to my aunt that she needed some help. "No, Mom," my aunt said. "It's your fish, you're going to have to do it." Grandma B's reply: "Alright. Then, turn up my oxygen!"

I asked Grandma what advice she would give to a young mother like me. "Enjoy them while they're young," she said. "Because it's the best time. I always enjoyed my kids. They were my life. And when they got older, we enjoyed each other." Finally she leaned over and said, "Do you know what the whole story is? ...Live your life and love it. Get up in the morning and say 'Thank you God for this day' and go with it."

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  1. Oh Shanna. I'm so sorry for your loss. My grandma was my favorite person in the world. When she died, so did a piece of my heart. Beautiful tribute, I'm sure she was very proud of you.

  2. im so sorry for ur loss...this post rally got me thinking...she was a great woman and i hope to be like her someday...

  3. Shanna, I'm sorry your Grandma's gone but she is so deep in your heart, isn't she? And the last story about the advice your Grandma gave you was the "kick in the pants" this grandma needed today. Thinking of you & yours, Sally

  4. What a beautiful way to remember and honor your grandma. Praying for you in your loss and praising with you for the new job.

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  6. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute though. I'm so glad you had the chance to learn so much about her! What precious memories. And such good stories to pass down to your own children!

  7. What wonderful stories. Thank you for sharing them with us! :)



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