|Noah and Great-Grandma - 2008|
|Michaela and Great-Grandma (with Momma and Opa, too) - 2015|
Earlier this month, my daughter, my dad and I took a trip up to Prince George to visit my grandmother. She turned 95 recently, and we are incredibly blessed to have her with us.
I've been a neglectful grand-daughter, not having visited since Noah was an infant. He's 7 now, and his baby sister Michaela is 18 months old. Our visit was long overdue. It was time, and a long time coming. So we booked our tickets and headed up to see her.
Part of the delay was my stubborn denial that life must end eventually. When I last saw grandma she was 88 and still spry enough to push her baby great-grandson around the living room in a cardboard box. But 7 years is a long time for all of us, and especially so for an octogenarian.
More recent reports described her as... well.... old. Falling in the garden last summer. Unsure of details that she was expected to remember. Keeping to the house except for her weekly trips to church. Getting frail and inching closer to the end of her earthly journey.
I didn't want to see the impending signs of her life's inevitable sunset. She is the last of my grandparents. I wanted to keep her safe (if only in my mind's eye) and healthy, strong, and delightfully stubborn. Immortal.
But I promised myself that all my children would get the chance to meet their great-grandmother so long as she was still living when they came home. I was tempting fate by putting off this opportunity. So we got on the plane and headed up north to a world so close, yet so completely different from the life we live in south coast suburbia.
I am so glad we went.
Grandma is old. And frail. And tired. But she is also feisty. And determined. And beautiful in her sunset years. She baked us cookies every day we visited... but was too tired to clean up. And too proud to ask for help. And too wildly stubborn to accept it when offered. So she hid the cookie trays until she regained the strength to wash them herself.
I love this woman.
That, my friends, is 95 years worth of tenacity. 95 years worth of resourcefulness. And 95 years that could very well lead to 10 or 15 more. She is that feisty. And I am so proud.
So what does this have to do with adoption? Not much. Except that grandma has experienced WWII, a move to Canada, a new language, a serious cultural shift, 9 children, 31 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, and a lifetime of hard work, frequent hardship, and unwavering stubborn determination.
She has no direct experience with adoption, except through her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Yet, she inherently knows what some of us wish our parents, grandparents and friends could somehow come to realize:
Her grandbabies are her grandbabies. And her great-grandbabies are her great-grandbabies. End of story. Michaela and Noah may have both been adopted, but 95 year old great-grandma didn't focus on that aspect of their story. Our visit was one of joyful acceptance, and a chance for one great-grandma to get to know her newest great-granddaughter.
She cared that Michaela threw a carrot in her lap and nearly knocked her curtains off the track. But she wasn't troubled by the whos, whats and hows of how Michaela came to be her great-granddaughter. She just accepted. Just loved, just wanted the chance to embrace this precious being in the same way she embraced and welcomed Noah 7 years before. The same way she accepted, loved, and embraced the 66 other direct descendants that have been born or adopted into her family.
Thank you Grandma. For being such an amazing woman, for all you have done so far in your beautiful lifetime - for your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I hope to visit you again soon. And in the meantime, sorry about the drapes and the rogue carrots.
We love you, Grandma. We are so glad to have you and are honoured to be your grand and great-grandchildren.