~Winnie the Pooh
Most of us aren't too fond of the idea that each year we grow a little older. Bones begin to crack, skin begins to crinkle, and the thought of going to bed at 7:00 suddenly seems a perfectly normal and natural thing to do. In fact, we wonder what was wrong with us all those years that we fought bedtime.
After I turned 26 I decided that from that point on I would only celebrate anniversaries of my 25th birthday. This year, for example, I celebrated my 25th birthday for the third time.
I know that I'm only kidding myself. I know in my bones that I'm 27. And when my dreaded 30th birthday comes, despite the fact I'll tell everyone I'm 25 (for the sixth time), I'll know.
My Gram turned 80 yesterday. To celebrate such a monumental occasion my mom planned a surprise party at Villa Mannino in Bordentown.
I'm sorry, but I have to say it. There isn't any better looking 80-year-old woman out there.
It's hard to truly convey who my Gram is and all the life, love, and energy that is a part of knowing her. But here's a small start:
She wears heels. Often.
She walks in the city in heels. And doesn't complain.
She maintains her pool. Without any help. In wedges.
She lets you borrow her car. Without question, without concern; other than for your safety.
She cooks. For everyone and anyone.
She is hospitable. If she has known you forever or she just met you she will care for you like you are her own.
She is selfless. Ask for the shirt off her back and she will find a way to give it to you.
She is caring. Sincerely caring. She is one of the people that make this world a better place.
So we celebrated the wonder that is Gram with champagne and white wine, her favorite.
Pretty packaged presents.
A bounty of balloons.
And entertainment from all her grandchildren.
I don't think she stopped smiling.
My little brother, Joel, a much more eloquent and entertaining speaker than I, got everyone to share a little love for Gram. We laughed, and cried happy tears, thinking of all the goodness and blessings Gram has bestowed on all who know her.
We had cake which on the outside looked like any typical birthday cake...
but on the inside was mind blowing. Spongy vanilla cake with smooth whipped cream and strawberries--yum, yum, yum! It made me desperately want summer so that I could make my strawberry shortcake trifle.
Joel's friend Tyler enjoyed the cake too. He got a little jealous of all the pictures I was taking of it, so I snapped a quick one of him.
And one of hubby too. Doesn't he look positively dreamy in his vest and tie?
The overall wish of all the guests was that they might all look as good as Gram when they reach 80.
This is my wish too.
It was in the midst of all this, when I recognized that growing old is what you make it. If you focus on the fact that you're sagging in places that you didn't even know could sag, that you have lost count of your gray hairs, or that you suddenly shake your finger at little rascals and threaten to call the cops on them; you simply have become old. But if you look at life's problems and take Gram's philosophy that Joel quoted of, "Screw it!" you'll always be young at heart.
I know I'll never love the number I am in age, but I know that I want to grow old and I want to be like Gram as I do it. I want to exemplify youth in old age and live life to its absolute fullest. And as I do it, I also want to remember the seventeen-year old-lovers of my youth who promised each other that they could never live one moment apart. Remembering this, I'll treasure my husband more and more with each passing day we share together as one.