Having a baby for the sake of a picture is silly, I know.
But part of me would be lying if I said that the thought didn’t cross my mind last fall when we were talking about having a baby.
This November, my great grandmother was to turn 100 years old. The last time I saw her was at Thanksgiving. Though her hearing was gone, she was still relatively independant and her mind was still sharp. She was looking forward to her centennial. I promised her we would be there to celebrate. When we found out in January that we were expecting a baby in September, I got excited at the thought of taking him to meet her. One, because she is the classiest lady I know. And two, because we would have the opportunity to take a picture spanning five generations: my great-grandmother, my grandma, my dad, myself, and our son.
This past summer, her health began to deteriorate. Her mind become more muddled and confused; her body began to fail her. Still, I really thought we would be celebrating her 100 remarkable years, and I life that had spanned a century of tremendous change. After all, when my grandma told her we were expecting, she said, with a twinkle in her eye, “I don’t think I know anyone who has a great-great grandbaby.”
As August came to a close, it became apparent that the picture was never to be. On August 23rd, her earthly life ended. And while I wish I could have been with her one more time, sad would not be the word to describe my emotions. There is nothing to be sad about when someone lives a full life and slips away peacefully in their sleep. The only tears I cried were at church the Sunday before while we sang the hymn “It is Well with My Soul.” Because it truly is. I know she had no regrets. Her marriage lasted more than 60 years. She raised two children who were faithful in service to the Lord and to their families. She weathered hard times and could testify to God’s faithfulness to her in the midst of it all. And she had a way of making those around her feel important and loved.
I know her legacy will live on, picture or not, as begin the journey of raising my son. I hope he learns to value hospitality, faithfulness, grace, strength, and the beauty of simplicity, because these are the things I’ve learned from her.
P.S. When I asked her how she met my great grandfather, she said “We met when I moved to town my senior year of high school. He was dating someone else at the time. I don’t think she ever cared for me much…” Now if that’s not moxie, I don’t know what is…