Happy 80th Birthday! When I started thinking about what memory to write down to share with you the first one that came to mind was kind of random. But then I realized how much more there is to it than just the memory, how much it says about who you are…. So here it goes.
When I was around 5 years old or so I remember you taking all of us to Dutch Wonderland. I have a few snippets of memories about the rides and playing on a slide, but my most distinct memory from that day has nothing to do with the park. I have this vivid memory of you unpacking our picnic lunch.
My memory is this: We were all gathering around the picnic table, and you were opening your perfectly prepared picnic basket/bags, and I remember you pulling out a blue table cloth and shaking it out and it arcing up in the sky over me and spreading out on the table. And I remember red thermoses, one of tea, one of lemonade. And I remember silverware sets for everyone, and plates, and pretty dishes of food. I remember thinking it was the prettiest and most extravagant picnic ever. And I wonder now why my five year old little girl self was even noticing things like silverware and table cloths and red thermoses more than roller coasters and merry go rounds and rides that day.
But I think I know why. As magical as it was to spend the day at the theme park, the part of the day that really stuck out to me was the part you poured yourself into. The part you prepared special for us, the extra effort you put into making our lunch a treat. I didn't know then what effort it takes to put together a meal, let alone for a group, and then pack it up and remember to take along every side and fixing for it to make it perfect. But that's how you and Poppop have always been. Always going the whole 9 yards, making things festive and special and always, always, super prepared & organized.
And I want you to know that now, as a mom, knowing how much it takes just to get lunch on the table somedays, let alone make it pretty, I appreciate that extra effort you put into everything for us now more than ever. Whenever I think of my grandparents home in my mind I think of warmth, candlelight, spotless organization, piano music, seasonal decorations, the best food, manners, conversation, routine, intentionality, beauty…. the list goes on and on. I remember you heating our plates in the microwave before serving us dinner on them, warming up the syrup bottle before pouring it onto our waffles, turning down super clean and fluffy covers for us when we'd spend the night, fires in the fireplace, watching ann of green gables or homeward bound, reading Bible stories at night (my favorite was about Hannah) singing Christmas carols together, photo albums, having lunches in the sunroom, playing in your basement, ping pong, monopoly, stratego…. Every memory I have is a good one. Thank you for being an absolutely amazing Mommom in every way possible, for praying for us all daily and being a faithful and beautiful example of loving the Lord.
We all love you Mommom, happy birthday.