Saturday, September 13, 2008

Happy (belated) birthday to us!

This is my grandmother. Lance took this photo when we visited in August, and she celebrated her 96th birthday on Labor Day.

Although she has marked this occasion nearly a hundred times, she can quickly name her favorite birthday gift of all: her first grandchild.

That would be me.

I was born on my grandmother's 48th birthday. On Sept. 1, I turned 48 myself. So I considered this birthday extra special.

My grandmother has told me many times the story of how she got on a bus the morning of her birthday to travel to Nashville to meet me. She describes standing at my father's side as they peered at his pride and joy, his first-born daughter, just a few hours old. She loves to recount how she patted her son on the arm and reassured him, in that grandmotherly way, "don't worry, honey, she'll look better in a few days."

(I might be offended at that story if I hadn't seen the pictures. Thankfully, she was right.)

My grandmother was born before women had the right to vote and lived for decades in a segregated South. Now she's witnessing an election that will give us either the first female vice president or the first African-American president. The scientific and technological achievements of her lifetime are mind-boggling. And perhaps the societal changes are best marked by noting that while she celebrated her 48th birthday by becoming a grandmother, I marked mine by snuggling on the couch with my 2 1/2-year-old daughter to watch an episode of "Dora the Explorer."

Yes, things have changed.

But no matter how dizzyingly fast the changes come, one thing is constant: I share a birthday with a smart, resourceful, opinionated, funny, sometimes stubborn and amazing woman that I love and admire very much. And that will always be my favorite birthday gift.


Beverly said...

That is sweet. Happy belated.

Anonymous said...



A. said...

Happy birthday to you and your grandmother!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute. Belated birthday wishes to you and your special grandmother!
Susanna (fellow adoptive mom)