Saturday, September 24, 2011

80 Years of Awesome

Today we celebrated my Grandma's 80th birthday with a big party... which is only fitting as she has long been known as "Never Miss A Party Sue". There was singing, food, speaches... and I, nervously got up in front of everybody and read this:

"There are people in your life that you come to know and admire through the eyes and experiences of others, maybe purely for the fact that they have already done so much and been so much to so many people before you had the chance to know them. Any amount of time spent in building up an isolated knowledge of them through one on one time could never add up to the robust understanding provided by the stories and memories shared by those who were blessed enough to share the years with them before you even showed up.

My grandmother is one of those people to me. Through my personal experiences with her in my early years I knew that I loved her and enjoyed her company... but it was through the people who had known her much longer than I had been alive that I came to respect and admire her for the woman that she is, to me, but also for who she is in their lives. I was born into a family who, from as far back as I can remember revered her as their cornerstone. I may have been off galavanting with my cousins, seemingly not paying attention during most, if not all of our family events, but it's hard not to pick up on such a unique relationship as was had between her, my Aunts, Uncles, Mom and Dad. Even non-blood relatives feel drawn into this family, to this mother, Grandmother, friend... to the feeling that she gives off. If any person could be accurately be described as feeling like home it's my Grandma.

I have seen her display kindness and joy and strength... but it is through the stories my mother told me of her own childhood that I know of what a wonderful wife she was. How she always held the line on her priorities when it came to raising her children, cultivating her marriage and mostly in serving her Lord. I also heard told through countless recollections from countless different people how she always had room for someone new in her extended family, the network of people bound together by the shared impact she has had on their lives. I've heard from others of her cleverness, resourcefulness, her work ethic, dedication and wit. I've seen first hand through her just what it means to truly feel joy for another person, to take pleasure in the successes of our fellow man. She embodies what it means to be alive.

Since becoming intimately involved in the process of bringing a new generation of the Oldenburg family tree into this world I have found myself on multiple occasions thinking what would my Grandma do. She managed to raise six children all of whom didn't go in the way of the world... all of whom have rose above the moral and character deficits so common of our day... if I am to raise my son to do the same than I must find a way to carry on that legacy. I am one of the lucky ones who had a mother capable of teaching me what it means to be a mother myself... and that is no doubt because her mother taught her. What more of a blessing could anyone give to this world? What more noble thing than the type of legacy that she has begun?"

I am far better at writing than I am at publicly speaking, so all of you reading this here are getting a much better deal than those in attendance today got there. But the sentiment remains the same. She is an awesome lady and I love her very, very much.

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