This blog entry is another throwback post from a previous blog I kept.
The story popped up as a memory on my newsfeed and tugged at my heartstrings like most of the stories about my grandma seem to do.
This one, especially, as the "autograph book" mentioned is the one I am thumbing through in the photograph at the top of this blog-page.
It is a story that serves as yet another reminder of how memories may fade, but your story doesn't have to.
Last Sunday we found ourselves celebrating Christmas with my dad's side of the family.
Yes, our 2013 Christmas.
Yes, 2 days after Valentine's Day.
(Just wanted you to know I am aware of those two things).
So we all met at my Grandma's apartment, located within the retirement community that she moved into this last year.
While we were eating and visiting, grandma shared her coffee table reading material with us. Newspaper clippings collected over the years, cartoon strips she found to be funny and worth saving, magazine articles, and 2 "autograph books." One was from her middle school years and one was from high school.
Both books contained hand-written notes from friends of hers in the 1940s. Many were written in clever rhymes and signed with "forget-me-not" and the name.
Most of them were funny.
I asked grandma about a note written by Bob Moore. Clearly it was intended to humorous, and clearly had a hint of flirtation.
She responded with "Yes, I remember Bob Moore." Her words begged innocence, but the sideways-and-upward glance of her eyes and a smile that moved in the same direction spoke otherwise.
Some 70+ years have passed since the notes to my grandma were scratched into these tie-bound books, and yet my grandma could tell me about each person who signed it.
Something quite unexpected happened between me and my grandma while thumbing through her coffee-table reading material.
At our Christmas party I got to know my 90-year-old grandma as a teenager.
I could see how she interacted with her peers in a time occurring two generations before my own.
I could see a playful side of her.
I could see glimpses of who she was as a child through the words on the pages of those autograph books.
These words acted as a link for me, connecting me with my grandma in a different time and place--a piece of my heritage, a sense of pride.
When reading these words, I wanted to know more about my grandma before she was my grandma. Who she was, who her friends were, what her dreams were. I wanted to know the grandma who went on to marry and have children.
I wanted to know the story of what made my grandma my grandma.
I was so inspired by these tiny little autograph books and their power to connect me to a time that occurred decades ago. I want to create something that my children, my children's children and generations that follow will have something of mine that they can know me, even though they may never meet me.
I want my future grandchildren and their children to know that when I was writing, I was thinking of them, even if I never had the chance to know them.
I want to create a picture of my life, through words and actual snapshots.
I want my kids to see that even though my story may not have appeared to be exciting to the outside world, it was exciting to me because they were my world.
Someday, years from now, I want to be throwing Christmas parties in December or February or whenever I can no matter what the calendar says and I want my grandchildren to be able to see, if they want to, a glimpse of who I was before I was their grandma.
And someday, years and years from now, I want my great grandchildren to pick up an unexciting-looking piece of coffee-table reading material, and without knowing what is about to happen, catch a glimpse of their great-grandma's heart.
My story, how I live it now and how I share it for the future—that’s my legacy.
Happy Valentine's Day, friends!
This blog entry is a re-post from a my old blog, posted two years ago.
I thought I would share over in this neck of the world-wide-web.
Thanks for stopping by!
That's Just How We Roll
It’s been a fun weekend so far.
Last night we took Claire and Tookie to see the movie “Old Fashioned” and out for supper.
Today had a list of things that needed to get done: pick up some groceries, go to the bank, get some cat food, stop by Radio Shack, bake brownies for the church thing, gas up the car for our trip to see Nathan in Des Moines, elope, go around and tell everybody about it, give the dog a bath, feed everybody.
So you know, completely normal. Except I have a new name.
In case you missed it, that was a wedding announcement.
We got the piece of paper.
We have been planning a wedding for a long time. The problem here is that I am a horrible planner. And I am kind of cheap. And we have been trying and trying (3 times in the last two years to be exact) to get everyone together and throw a small, surprise wedding. Plans just didn’t work. Life just didn’t cooperate. The excitement of planning a wedding started to be not so exciting.
I didn’t wanted my wedding day to not be exciting. As it would turn out, I didn’t really need all of the hoopla to make it great for me.
Brian and I have been together for a long time. We didn’t necessarily need to go out and get the piece of paper to make it official. But we wanted to. We wanted to make a statement about our relationship that honors God. We wanted to show our friends and family that even though we have done a few things backwards, this was still important to us.
That it is never too late to do what is right in your heart.
And we couldn’t wait any longer for the perfect time. With 7 kids between the two of us, the perfect time to get everyone in the same place at the same time and on the same page doesn’t actually exist.
There is no perfect time. But there is the right thing.
So today is the day that our commitment became official. We visited with our pastor and we got married. Tucked in between all of the other things. Because that is us. That’s just how we roll.
Tucking our marriage vows in between a couple of days of work with nothing too special leading up to it or after it may not make for an exciting, storybook wedding day. But it is our story.
I love our story. I love our day.
On the outside, tomorrow may look absolutely no different than yesterday. But because of today, we are different. We are Mr. and Mrs.
So if we had invited everyone to the wedding, here's what you would have witnessed:
On the day of the big event, the bride was adorned in what she will now refer to as her “wedding jeans.” Slightly faded and in a boot-cut style, they complimented the bride’s made-for-comfort sweater perfectly. Both can be viewed at the next choir or band concert. Or ballgame.
The groom was looking dapper in his very own “wedding jeans,” formerly known to the couple as the “best deal at Farm and Fleet.” His chosen shirt was a black thermal which did not clash at all with the sweater worn by the bride.
While this official statement about their wedding may appear to be somewhat unorthodox, rest assured that their wedding vows toed the line of unconventional as well.
In their vows, the couple recognized each other’s proven commitment to each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, and the bride read a statement kind of like this:
You have been there for me when all is well: the good days of parenting, the exciting times, days when I am feeling on top of my game and on top of the world.
You have been there for me on days of nothing special: the days of going through the motions, we eat, work, sleep and wake up and do it all again the next day.
You have been there for me in times of trial: when good health wasn’t a guarantee, when kids veer from what we think is best, when money in the bank doesn’t exist, when motives have been attacked by those on the outside.
You have been there for me even when you weren’t sure you understood me: you listen to my off-the-wall way of making sense of things, you show me grace when my mouth doesn’t take the time to filter through things that should have stayed in my head.
The last few years have been full of life and everything that life means. Fun, games, humor. Happy tears, sad tears, trials of many varieties. Kids…mine and yours.
The writer in me knows that every good story worth immersing yourself in takes the reader through ups and downs, with love, action, mystery and even conflict. A good story is one in which the reader feels connected with the words on the page. Our story has not been the perfect fairy tale. But it is a story that I am connected to on a soul-level, and one that is still being written. I love our story. My only regret is that it has taken us a while to get this part right. Today is way more than just getting that piece of paper. That piece of paper is a statement about honoring God in our relationship. That piece of paper is the first page of a new chapter in our story.
As your wife, I will proudly walk with you through each chapter of the rest of our lives.
The couple regrets not being able to have everyone they love share in this special day, but do hope to celebrate their wedding sometime this summer when all of their family can be present.
I’m guessing it won’t be a formal event.
Welcome to a page of my journal....a place where I will randomly post stories that document my life, and some tips for helping you to document yours.