My Mom loves to garden. I call her Grandma sometimes because I have talked to my children about her for years and years. She is their grandma, my mom, Gwendolyn Boone Smith. Gwendolyn who never had a middle name and didn’t need one because her first name was long enough for two.
Grandma keeps saying that this year will be her last garden – it’s getting too hard. But nobody really knows how to get her to quit, nor do they want to. It’s one of those reassuring things that we kind of come to count on. It wouldn’t seem right for Grandma not to have a garden.
She is a good gardener. In spite of deer, rabbits, racoons and bugs that take their toll, there is always something good out there. Most years at the end of the garden season, there is more food than they can give away. I think because the winters are so long in Wisconsin, Grandma can hardly wait until spring planting. The radishes, peas, onion sets, and carrots are in the ground early and will probably be all right even if there is one more snow. Everything else has to wait until it’s safe – and then grow like crazy to be finished before the first fall freeze.
Grandma doesn’t like weeds in her garden. She likes flowers.
Grandma is usually a cheery, optimistic person. She thinks and wonders about all kinds of things. She reads lots of books. Once she read “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” and liked it so much she made all her children and grandchildren read it too. When she started seriously studying about God and the Bible to figure out what she believed, she read a lot of old, classic books with unappealing names, like Josephus and Eusebius. I was impressed. She does believe in God and she still studies but she is good at not getting upset when she can’t figure him out. And I know Grandma is not afraid to die someday because she was very brave when she had cancer. She is very patient and accepting of her body and how it does or does not work. She is even able to laugh at some things that would probably make other people cry. It’s always good to be around Grandma.
She is Cinnamon Roll Queen. She will listen about as long as anyone can talk. She is good at finding nice shells on the beach and missing puzzle pieces. Some of our most inspirational family history is bound up in two volumes of letters written by her grandmother that she collected and published for us all to have. She follows her grandchildren on facebook. Grandma keeps her siblings and their families connected with the seductive tradition of donuts and coffee every Saturday morning during the warmer seasons. Grandma loves to play solitaire on the computer (to keep her mind sharp). Grandma hardly ever bothers anyone – she makes do. Except sometimes she bothers Grandpa and then feels guilty about it.
It’s true – Grandma didn’t have many paying jobs outside the home. But she has taken care of people all her life, and still is. And this Sunday Grandma will have a birthday, her 81st. This is my way of celebrating her as the wonderful woman she is, a great mentor and encourager, a role model of how to grow in love, a person more unafraid than afraid. Happy Birthday Mom. Love you soooo much.