Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Woman who Shaped Me: Happy 80th Nana!

There is something so special about grandmothers. And I believe there is something extra special about southern grandmothers. My sweet Nana and namesake turns 80 this week. After so many years of exceptional health, she had a serious stroke in October. It scared us all so much, and there were moments when we were sure that Nana was leaving us. However, she fought hard and is celebrating her 80th birthday to prove it.

Most of my very favorite life memories involve my Nana. My first silver tea seat. Shopping trips on Saturday nights to agonize over the perfect baby doll at Toys ‘r Us.  Easter baskets hidden in the corner of her living room. My first manicure. Back scratches and reading the same story 100 times. Shopping trips and dinner dates. Re-painting my nails three times in the same night because I was 6 and couldn’t commit to a color. Her class. Her grace. Her patience. Her unending love. 

My Nana embodies what it means to be a southern belle, and she did her best to pass this onto me. Her love of china and silver. The care it takes to set a table properly. The love she stirred in each dish holiday after holiday. Her appreciation for make-up, jewelry, styled hair and Chanel flats. 

She listened to my teenage ranting, helped heal my broken hearts, unpacked countless moving boxes throughout my college and post-college years, and held my newborn baby as I cried from overwhelmed exhaustion. She invested, forgave, understood and prayed. Her faith inspired my faith, and she silently demonstrated the characteristics of a woman of God.

My Nana is not perfect in the earthly definition, but she is perfect for me. I’m her oldest grandchild and probably the most challenging (ha!), but we've always had a very special bond. Today, her speech is slightly slurred in the evenings, her hands show bruising and age, and she walks with a walker to support her unsteadiness from the stroke. But the family, faith and foundation she has built sustains her. She has created roots that are deep and strong, and she has never been more beautiful. 

My Nana. My best friend. My inspiration. Happy 80th Birthday! 

 Nana meets Caroline Jean
Celebrating Nana's 80th birthday in our new home

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