Today would have been my grandmother's 89th birthday. She passed away last year, and I miss her terribly. She taught me a lot of important things about life.
She grew up in a time when there weren't a lot of options for women. They were expected to be housewives and mothers. Her mother died when she was young, and as the oldest child, she cared for her younger siblings. She got married right out of high school, and had 5 children in 10 years. Looking at pictures of my grandparents when they were young, I could see that they didn't have much to call theirs. But they looked happy with what they had.
I spent a lot of my summers on my grandparents' farm. Tending cows, weeding gardens, shucking corn, and shelling peas gave me a deep appreciation for how much easier life is now. Plus, it gave me a startling realization at an early age about just where beef comes from. Quite an eye-opener.
Most of all, my grandmother always seemed to have a joyful heart. She enjoyed having some of the finer things in life (especially jewelry), but she seemed to be content with her life. She loved her family and friends, and she enjoyed her hobbies. A lot of people could learn from her attitude toward life.
Happy Birthday, Grandmother.