Can my introduction just be that she's awesome and one of my favorite people?
  1. She grew up in a home that was rich in love but pretty poor in everything else.
  2. She married my grandfather on April 1, 1956 when she was sixteen years old. (She told me once that she saw him in his Army uniform and she just melted. )
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    Their fifty-five year marriage wasn't the kind of affair that inspired epic poems or sweeping films, and yet it's still one of the greatest love stories I've witnessed in the way that they forgave when instinct screamed to blame and poured love into wounds where hate could have easily festered and decayed.
  3. Once when she decided she wanted new furniture for the living room, my grandfather- who thought their old furniture was fine- told her that she would have to get a job and pay for it herself. So she did.
    She bought the furniture with her first paycheck and he got to see firsthand all the work it took to take care of the house and kids. Needless to say, he developed a whole new level of appreciation for her.
  4. She's moved every room in her house at least once.
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    And when I say moved, I don't mean that she moved furniture back and forth. I mean that she's literally torn down walls and rebuilt them, redone floors, etc. (The lone thing she's wanted to learn but hasn't yet? How to lay brick.)
  5. She's never referred to my mom as her daughter-in-law, but always as her daughter.
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    As she explained it to my mom semi-recently, "Lessie gave me you." (Lessie was my maternal grandmother who not only loved my gram- they kept getting in trouble at my parents' rehearsal dinner because they couldn't stop talking- but also trusted that she would love and be a mother for my mom when her [Lessie] Alzheimer's and dementia progressed to the point that she no longer could.)
  6. She's the heart and nurturer of our family.
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    When the family gathers, it's at her house, around her kitchen table. When we need advice or reassurance that we're going to be okay, it's her number that we dial. In short, she's the glue that holds us all together and the heart that's taught us how to love by how deeply she loves us. (The shaggy goofball in the picture with her is my younger brother.)
  7. She's artistic.
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    Any talent I have for drawing and painting comes from her as does my tendency to draw and paint on walls...and doors...and, um, old toasters.
  8. She's learned the basics of using a computer within the last few years.
    After deciding that she wanted to research both her and my grandfather's family lines, she started going to her nearby library where the librarians not only taught her basic computer skills, but have come to adore her so much that they begin to worry when they don't see her for a week or two.
  9. She passionately claims that I look like her.
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    How true that is is certainly debatable, but it's the fact that she wants to claim me even when I feel like the biggest screwup in the world most of the time that makes me smile.
  10. She finished what we hope to be her last chemotherapy treatment today. 🎉🎉
    She was diagnosed with colon cancer earlier this year and wasn't going to take treatment for it until she spoke with her oncologist and found out that a) the surgeon had been able to remove all of the tumor and b) it hadn't spread to other parts of her body. A few weeks ago, she had a scan done that the doctor described as being "clear and remarkably unremarkable".