Last Friday my Grandma turned 101 years old. (I wrote about her 100th birthday here and her 98th birthday here.) If you've read those posts then you know my Grandma and I have always been especially close. When I was little I called her on the phone every day just to talk, and on Sundays after church she would drive me back to her house and I'd listen to her stories from years ago; stories about her childhood, my dad, my aunt, and other family members that I never got a chance to know. We used to play piano and clarinet duets for fun, and she would take me outside with her to water her flowers, feed and water the birds, and pick wild blackberries. I remember sitting in her chair with her while she read me books about the little girl who stayed inside because of the rain and the old lady who had to save her pet bird from being eaten by a policeman. She always had a pack of Bubbleicious bubble gum in her purse and when my sister and I spent the night at her house she let us stay up as late as we could and eat whatever we wanted.
That is the Grandma I want to remember. She never seemed "old" to me, she was just my Grandma. But now, when she can't hear me on the phone, she forgets my name, and she's adamant that she's only 100 and not 101, her age is impossible to deny. I vividly remember one day when she was driving me to her house after church and I giggled and said, "Grandma, one day I'll be able to drive and I'll be driving you home from church!" When I said that, I never thought that day would actually come, and then it did. Suddenly I was the one helping her into the car and telling her stories about people she didn't know.
She doesn't go out to water the flowers anymore, or feed the birds, or read me books. But even though she can't do all of the things she used to do, she's still my Grandma. The days are hard but they are so treasured. And Grandma, I love you more.