On this date, Leora Mae was born.
Now, I didn't meet this amazing person until 1983, nearly thirty years ago, that is, and I was only fortunate to have her in my life for 23 years, though that is longer than any of her other 18 grandchildren were able to spend with her. For that, I blessed.
On days like today, her birthday, I miss her a little bit extra. I think about how I should be calling her or stopping by, but, of course, I cannot do that. I settle for hearing her in my mind, rewinding the countless memories I have collected like they are short films.
There are tons of big things I miss- her hugs, her laughter, visiting her on an almost daily basis for most of my youth.
I almost wrote that there are countless tiny things that I miss, also, but caught myself, thinking when you are missing a person from your life, not one thing about that person is a tiny thing.
Leora Mae was my first best friend. She was a confidante and a role model. Sometimes, I think of myself as her sidekick. I feel like we were somewhat inseperable.
We still are, really. I carry parts of her with me every day. She formed who I am, not only by giving life to my own mother and shaping who my mom is, which then trickles down to my mom shaping who I am, but in direct ways.
Like my love of cooking and baking. I cannot tell you how many cakes I helped my grandma decorate for people who purchased them from her.
Or there's my interest in crocheting, which she taught me. I honestly was only ever taught the single and double stitch, but I have absolutely no interest in knowing more than that, because that's what she taught me.
There is also my love for "older" country music- by older I mean from the 1990s mostly, but even older than that also. Every single time I listen to "Tennessee Flat Top Box" for example, I hear her singing with me as she tapped her foot along to the beat.
I could go on for hours about the things we did, places we went, and memories I have, but I will save them for another day, another time (perhaps for my sisters who didn't know her as well, or my sons she never got to meet).
For now, I think I'm going to walk down the stairs (I've been snuggling with Spencer) and see her smiling face next to mine, hanging on the wall so I can see it multiple times a day, say a little thank you prayer to God, and imagine her laughing, and singing, and dancing with her Jesus.
Happy Birthday, Gma!