Submitted by Michelle Jones
Today I took my daughter to visit my grandmother in the nursing home. On our way there, I shared memories of when I was a young girl and she (my grandmother) took me to see her mother in a nursing home. Talk about a surreal moment.
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I remember visiting with my great grandmother many years ago in Clearwater, Florida. I remember her silky white hair, just like my grandmother’s hair is now, the big fluffy white cat (not real) on her bed, and she not knowing who I was. We took her to the dining area for a dish of peppermint ice cream, still my favorite flavor to this day.
My grandmother turned 91 years old this year. We celebrate her birthday over and over again. Her favorite treat is cookies, any kind, but especially homemade. We have fun and enjoy our visits together.
Right now, she is recovering from a fall that injured her back several weeks ago. She also has Alzheimer’s and barely knows who we are, but is still sweet, loving, and kind (as my mother was). Her light continues to shine no matter what her circumstances are. I admire her very much.
After talking to my grandmother for a few minutes at the beginning of today’s visit, I asked “Do you remember who this is?”, as I reached my arm around my daughter standing beside me. Surprising all of us, she grinned and said “Yes, she’s the baby.” Even though my daughter is a teenager, she is also our youngest. So, technically, she is the baby of our family. My daughter and I smiled, agreed, and quietly shared a few giggles.
My grandmother grew up during the depression; in the 1920’s. Her mother’s parents emigrated from Germany in 1871 and frugally raised 8 children in an apartment building in New York City. They worked hard and loved their family. Life was good.
I have learned a lot from her over the years; loving Jesus, honoring family, being careful with money, and living a happy life. As she would always say, “Just do the best you can, and that’s good enough.”
For many years I struggled with that last one, "Just do the best you can." Even though she’s probably said it to me a thousand times. But each year that goes by, since my mother left us early for her heavenly home in '07, I feel like I’m finally getting there. Slowly. But surely.
I still believe in doing things better than I could, and have, and striving to be a better person than I was. However, at some point, you do come to terms with the reality that all you do, and all you are, is in fact, enough.
So, we work as well as we can, save money as best we can, pay bills when we can, and most importantly, love and give as much as we can.
It all matters. No matter how big or how small.
As my grandmother would say, "Just do the best you can."
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Update: My grandmother passed away the week of Thanksgiving. Just one month after I wrote this column.
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