Welcome back to the 30 Days of Thanksgiving! You can read all about how and why I started celebrating the 30 Days of Thanksgiving on a previous blog post. This year I’m doing something new. I’ve asked a few of my family and friends to write a guest post for me.
Today’s guest blogger is my son-in-law’s sister, Kristina.
Kristina has been married for 11 years and has two kids, almost 6 and 4. She’s been blogging for 9 years about faith, marriage, parenting, and life at Unashamed Grace. She has a fun blog (actually written by her ducks) over at Quacky Establishment. Then she also contributes to the New Tribes Canada and Emanate websites.
Kristina: I grew up as a missionary kid, we didn’t live on another continent but we were far from family and had very little money to travel to visit them. Our grandparents would make it out once every year or two, or we would make the 1,492 mile trip to visit my dad’s parents in Wisconsin or the 1,211 mile trip to see my mom’s parents in Ontario. We saw my mom’s parents more often, especially after we moved from Florida up to Ontario and went from being 1,211 miles away to being only 164 km away; but we still didn’t see my dad’s parents very often because even from Ontario the drive was long.
As an adult my husband and I moved to Chicago and suddenly we went from being really far away to being less than an hour away. My grandfather had passed away when I was in high school but my grandma was still around and suddenly living close to me.
I cannot express how thankful I am for these years of being close enough to take day trips up to visit. When I first moved to Chicago I really didn’t know my grandma very well, we had visited them several times but at the time I was still just a kid and although kids love and appreciate their grandparents it is a different kind of relationship than when you are an adult and can really enjoy their company and talk about life together.
My grandma and I would meet for lunch, we would spend hours going through our favourite antique shops looking for little treasures. We would laugh and be silly together and talk about real life stuff. I was struggling with infertility at the time and my grandma was a great listener and always made my day brighter.
In her thirties she had contracted hepatitis B through a blood transfusion and over the years it was slowly breaking down her body. She had diabetes and liver problems (which did nothing to stop her love for chocolate, cake, all sugar and wine) and during my last year in the area she moved from her condo into an assisted living apartment in a beautiful facility. My favourite story about her comes from that time:
She had fallen, broken her hip and spent some time in the hospital. When she got out she was a bit stir crazy, she never was one to follow rules or to rest when she was supposed to rest. I came for a visit and she had a list of places that she wanted me to take her. Our first stop was Stein (an amazing garden store that is common in Wisconsin) she was looking for a fake rock to cover up something the ugly the gardeners had put in her garden. (My grandma never was one to put up with anything messy or ugly, her home was immaculate and her things were beautiful and well taken care of.)
The story would just be a boring shopping story if not for my grandma’s stubbornness. It had been only weeks since she had broken her hip and she was told to use a wheel chair and only walk in her apartment. My grandma is too stubborn for a wheel chair though so she insisted I wheel her out on her walker. As we left the Assisted living facility a nurse (who I am convinced was not fooled in any way) called out “You aren’t going to be walking are you Gail?” “Oh no, “ she called back with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, “I will let Kristina push me.”
I dropped her off at the door with strict instructions to not move until I parked and got back to her which would take less than one minute. Of course she ignored me and went in without me. Ok, no harm done she was ok I would have to watch a bit more carefully though. Moments later after turning away from her for one second I discover that she is GONE! I spent the next 90 minutes looking EVERYWHERE for her and finally find her looking so innocent wondering why I am freaking out. Crazy woman.
My grandma passed away just before I moved back to Ontario. I will never forget how excited she was when I told her I was pregnant with my daughter, or the wonderful times we had together.
The day before she passed away she gave me her ring, a beautiful, unique two toned diamond ring. I have worn it every day over this summer (the band is thinner than my own engagement and wedding bands which works well for me in the summer…eczema) and every time I look at it, or when people comment on it I think about my grandma and I smile. Those three years we spent becoming great friends were so special and I thank the Lord so much for that time. I am thankful for so many things and am so blessed but as I thought of through all of them this is what kept standing out to me as an extra special blessing.
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:16
Thanks, Kristina, for sharing with us today. (The rest of this post is all me!)
Follow my 30 Days of Thanksgiving Pinterest board for more holiday craft, DIY, and ideas to help your family focus on gratitude this Thanksgiving season.
Other 30DoT posts you might like:
Ann @ Duct Tape and Denim