February – the mixed month. I was diagnosed with MS, Lori was born, my cat was born and then died, and today was my Grandma’s birthday.
She was much older than most – they had kids late and my parents had kids late. We only saw my mom's parents once a year; my dad’s parents died before I knew them (but my Dad’s dad baptized me); and I didn’t really know my grandma until I was an adult and moved to Minnesota after college. So I remember her when she was in her 90s. But she, I am told, had not changed - she had a cute laugh, worried, and used being stubborn to her best advantage.
Perhaps the funniest memories of our relationship were during that time. I came one night and a mouse showed up. While I sat in the chair and squealed, my grandma chased the mouse around the living room, broom in hand, using her walker (I was still running at the time). Later she would inform my mom that somehow the mouse had come in my car. Good times! I would go on long runs from her house, come back, have a glass of water, and have her tell me I should consider getting checked for diabetes due to water consumption. This was after she stated her relief that I had not been kidnapped, and told me I need a better breakfast before going running. Good times!
I ran from her green house out to where their farm used to be. The Twin Cities had expanded so much that their farm was bought and a healthclub was built on it. They retired on part of the land, which turned into a parking lot. But there was still tiny "Holasek Park" (Holasek was their last name) and I could stand there and envision their pink house in the distance, where we would play using their wagon to find the steepest route down the nearby hill. Great times!
After my grandpa died (he had been in the nursing home for some time), my grandma moved to Colorado to be near my mom (after 90+ years in Minasoooota). Apparently everyone wants to be near my mom, the caregiver, because I moved back shortly after that, taking with me the geranium my grandma had given me, which amazingly enough, is still alive. I guess I got her green thumb!
My grandma once told me I should just ask Dave to marry me rather than wait for him to ask me! Clearly she was ahead of her time.
She almost made 100, but 99 is pretty amazing. My mom went to visit her for the last time (unknowingly), held her hand, kissed her, and left. By the time my mom got home, the nursing home had called to say Grandma had left this world; it seems as though she waited for my mom to leave, not wanting to bother anyone. And that was who she was. Around that same time, I got pregnant with Lori, and Lori was born 3 days shy of when my grandma would have turned 100. The timing is amazing – I still think my grandma's spirit looked and continues to look, from heaven and smiles at the miracle of Lori.
So happy birthday Grandma, and thanks for the great memories. Perhaps I will someday chase a mouse with my walker and a broom.