Wednesday, July 7, 2010
These two ladies are my Nanas. Nana Bessie, on the right, would have been 107 today, July 7th. Nana Martha, on the left would be 107 on July 24th. I never knew my grandfathers as both died young...one before I was born, the other shortly afterward, so my two Nanas were an essential link to the values of my past. I feel so blessed and so very fortunate that I was able to enjoy them both through-out my life. Family get-togethers always included The Nanas.
We usually gave them similar gifts on their birthdays and Christmas because they'd compare. (In the later years, at Christmas they compared ear and bowel problems at the dinner table.)
On this day - their 90th birthday celebration - you can see they have identical cakes and corsages. And they received identical ruby and pearl rings. See how they even dressed alike? (It wasn't planned.)
They may look alike, but they were very, very different women. They didn't always see things the same way, but they made it work. They chose to be friends.
And that was so very important to me. Through their actions, they taught me the importance of family, of connections, of acceptance, of loving each other in spite of differences in opinions and attitudes. Of loving and forgiving even at times when love and forgiveness might not be deserved. Could there be a more valuable lesson?
Now I look backward and inward, peering and squinting, trying to see what parts of me came from them...faith, frugality and a love of writing from Nana Martha; fortitude, frankness and a sense of style from Nana Bessie (oh, how she loved her clothes!). Knowing them both helps me know and understand myself.
Today, I'm so very grateful for the spirit of each that lives on in me.