My Grandma Betty lived a long and happy life. She was a generous and feisty woman, and every soul who knew her would agree that she was just plain fun to be around! She lived 99 years before she passed away this past March. With the world the way it is, we were not able to hold a memorial service. Trying to navigate this weird new world, we planned to celebrate her on what would have been her 100th birthday, August 1st.
We have a tradition of getting together on her birthday. One of my favorite years was when she turned 97 and we all gathered at the lake. We had my aunt and cousins there (whom we don’t see very often) and it was before Dad was diagnosed. I’m so grateful for those sweet memories and pictures.
This year we planned to have my aunt (Dad’s sister) and cousins there again, but as 2020 would have it, one cousin was unable to make it and my other cousin got sick the week of. She was driving down with my aunt and with the uncertainty of what it was (turned out it is not covid), they had to turn around at the last minute. While we were all sad to not be together in the way we intended, we did what we do, and made the best of the situation.
We held Grandma Betty’s celebration on Saturday, what would have been her 100th birthday. We printed off pictures and set out a spread of her favorites- her famous cream cheese dip, a baby Swiss cheese, summer sausage, and peanuts, among other family favorites like Kris’ layered Mexican dip.
We all poured a vodka drink, which was always her spirit of choice, and set up a zoom at 5:00 PM with family. Of course we wish we all could have been in the same room, but it was special in it’s own unique way to be able to connect across the country with the people she loved most, getting to share some of our favorite memories from all our years together.
Afterwards we ate chocolate chip cookies (another Grandma favorite) and played our family’s go-to game, Rumikub. I think it’s so neat that all her great grandchildren learned how to play it with her and the tradition of playing it lives on.
We spent three days in Georgia together, and the girls were in family bliss. We love having a place where we can create so many fun family memories. From tubing to fishing to wrestling on the lake mat and playing countless games of chess, there is never a bored moment to be had.
The set up of the days is often the same- wear the kids out, then celebrate the fact that we did so with some dock time, or what others might call happy hour. Here are some of my favorite snapshots from the weekend.
Did you catch that one of me on WATER SKIS?! It took a couple tried but I got up and enjoyed about a 90 second long ride before my hip had enough. How do the young kids make it look so easy?! Still, I was so excited I had gotten up, ha.
The last moment really worth noting was when Hailey got to harvest the carrot. This may not sound like a big deal, but Hailey’s life dream has been to pull up a carrot. I know, keep dreaming big, kid… 😉 We’ve personally never had much luck growing them, but Nana was determined to make it happen. After months, it appeared one carrot might be big enough to actually pull, so we all gathered in what Dad always loving referred to as “the chicken coop” for the big moment.
Ta-daaaaaa! It might look a little anticlimactic to you, but the celebratory “look! It’s a carrot!” was reason enough for us to all get a good laugh and celebration in.
Sigh. This year, y’all. I feel like a broken record, but it’s been the hardest year of my life. Still, there are so many joyful moments to be had. If anything I feel like this year has made me more attuned to the little blessings that surround me; and for them, I am incredibly grateful.
We love you, Grandma Betty. Thank you for 99 wonderful years of memories and love.