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Sunday, July 9, 2017


My grandma turned 98 on Saturday.
We road tripped to Chicago to celebrate with her.

It was awesome.

My sister flew in from California.

My dad and his girlfriend drove in from rural Missouri.

Last night, we went out for a special dinner.

This morning, we took her out for a fancy brunch.

Then we went back to her house and played Scrabble.

I won.

But only by two points.

If you count the three points grandma had left on her tiles when the game ended.

She is a Scrabble phenom.

Seriously, she knows basically every two and three letter word in the Scrabble dictionary.

She can find a place for all of them, too.

I was pretty proud of myself.

She was a gracious loser.

Actually, I think she likes it.

The best way to prove you respect her intelligence is to fully pit yourself against it.

I always do.

That lady is sharp.

Not like tack sharp, like armor piercing swords sharp.
Her hearing is terrible and her sight isn't much better.

Getting around has become a struggle.

But that mind blows me away.

We also got her special gifts this year.

First of all, she doesn't want or need any more stuff.

Plus, the rest of us are largely broke.

Not penniless or anything, but not rolling in extra dough either.

My dad called me to ask what we should do.

On a whim, I threw out an on-the-spot brainstorm:

Instead of physical stuff, what if we each gave her a card with an IOU.

We could each promise something to do with or for her in the coming year.

My sister, the artist, made the cards.

I don't know what everyone else wrote.

We didn't share and I kind of like it that way.

It feels less competitive somehow.

You know, more honest.

My personal failing is staying in touch.

I am straight up atrocious at phone calls.

Email, texts, letters are a bit better, but still weak.

For me, going weeks and months without contact isn't the end of the world.

If we are truly connected, it will always feel like we spoke yesterday.

Most people aren't like that, though.

And I respect the desire and need for more regular contact.

Just, usually, I don't initiate.

I reciprocate and respond, instead.

Unfortunately, my grandma doesn't initiate and she craves contact.

As near as I can figure, it makes her uncomfortable to initiate contact regularly.

Almost like she's intruding on our 'real' lives.

My gift was a promise to write or call at least once a week.

I even made her an "accountability chart" to check off each week.

It felt juvenile, but we are both teachers so I knew she would get it.

Just like I know she will love this gift.

Now, I just have to hold myself to it.

If I can, and I really plan to, it will be a very good thing indeed!

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