Today, my daughter was home from college and my mom and my grandma were over for Easter dinner after church. We took this four generation picture.
My Grandma Violet is sitting at the table. She liked my meal, but she did not like the kumquats on the fruit platter. She tried them for the first time'; I wish I would have had my camera ready for the sourpuss face she made. My mom and daughter don't like them either, they think they are too sour. I am the only one in this picture who likes kumquats.
We all love coffee and we went through two pots today.
I suspect another thing we all have in common is the ability to overcome challenges through hard work and faith in God.
My grandma overcame a difficult childhood when her parents divorced, she lived in extreme poverty and was sent to live with her grandmother and uncle when she was nine years old; as a young girl she cared for her bedridden grandmother for three years. As a teenager, she moved to Seattle with her cousins and worked for Boeing making B-17's and B-29's during World War II. She moved back to Minnesota in 1947 and married my grandpa, Ervin. In 1969, a year after I was born, my aunt was born to my grandparents. I imagine it caused her some anxiety to be in her 40's, already a grandmother, her youngest child sixteen years old and her oldest daughter (my mom) pregnant with my younger brother and to find out that she was expecting another child. (It would me!!) In 1977, my grandpa died and my grandma was left to raise my seven year old aunt as a single mom. She stayed on the farm, worked at the sewing factory in town, and became a skilled woodworker and wood carver.
My mom is also a strong woman. She raised seven kids while my dad spent long weeks working construction on bridges and came home on weekends. We didn't have much money so my mom grew, canned and froze vegetables from her garden, raised and butchered chickens, sewed our clothes and bought a goat and milked her daily when one of my younger brothers couldn't digest cow's milk. She does things that scare me; she's para glided off a mountain and she's worked as a nurse, caring for the aged and dying. My dad died five years ago and since then my mom has had to navigate her life without him. She is a fearless woman, full of faith and fortitude.
My daughter is a college student; she faces her own challenges - challenges of principles and morals, friendships, grades and economics. And I too have my challenges and I know that there will be difficulties ahead, it is the nature of life. However, I am grateful for the examples of strength and faith of the generations of women before me.