Putting the GRAND in Grandmother

by Leonie Dawson on July 25, 2007

This is my super sassy Granny and her sister Sally in their early twenties.
Tomorrow I am flying back home for Granny’s birthday, and a celebration of ninety years of magnificent living.

I want to hold in my heart all the ways my Gran has touched my life.

My friend Shan allocates a special type of description to the women she respects: she says they have “guts, balls, determination and integrity.”
My Gran is that kind of woman. She also has a smile that she embraces the whole town with. She has a way of making people feel good and safe with her. She knows things intuitively before anyone else does.

On the phone not so long ago, she said to me
“I think your sister is interested in a suitor, Leonie.”
“Really Gran? Why’s that?”
“She’s been taking to dressing herself nice of late, and she has a little glow around her… I think she might be interested in a young man.”
Sure enough, Gran was right. As she always is.


She looks like she has wings here…

And she has SASS.
That woman looks good every day of the week. I took these photos of her in April, and she was wearing spunky pink stillettos, white pedal pushers, a striped pink flowing top and huge white framed “winkers” (otherwise known as sunglasses, for those who do not speak Gran-language.)

I’d just picked her up from the op-shop where she still works a few days a week.
She said to me:
“Leonie, do you know I sold hundreds of dollars of clothes today?”
“Really? That’s awesome Gran!”
“Do you want to know why I am so successful at it?”
“Why?”
“Because I model all of the clothes!”

And with that, she placed her hands on her hips, and waggled.

My Gran has SASS.


My mum and grandmother, doing their dance of love for 55 years…

The morning before we took these photos, I was driving with Mum, and said to her:
“Mum, I’ve always felt different. Odd. Unique. A bit zany. Just a bit out of skew with everyone else. I wonder if it’s genetic, and where I get it from.”
And she sighed this tiny whisper of a sigh, and replied:
“I feel like that too sometimes. Maybe you get it from me. I don’t know where I get it from.”
And then we looked out over the yellow eucalypts rushing by.

Later that day, I told Granny I wanted to take some photos of her.
And she giggled like a schoolgirl, and said dramatically
“I don’t know how to pose though… I’m camera shy… I’ve never been a model before…”
“Sure thing Gran, we’ll just go with the flow.”

I turned on my camera, and took some test shots.
“I know! Let’s play on the swings!” she says, and she is off with a trot.
My Mum sits on the opposite end to even out the weight.

It must have been quite a sight really.

Three blonde women in hysterics of laughter. The two oldest playing on the swings. The youngest with camera full of smiles.

And there in her little pink stillettos, my camera-shy Gran with her little white bob, bouncing up and down on the swings, yahooing like a rodeo cowgirl.

It was at that point I turned to Mum and said
“I think we just found our genetic zany-ness.”

This woman must have had ninety years of practice because she sure is good at LIVING.

So this weekend is a gathering of all my family and relatives, and ninety of my Gran’s closest friends to celebrate this Woman.

This woman of huge strength, a lion’s heart, a mother’s courage, a shining smile and crazy diamond spirit. My grandmother has grieved two husbands, two sons and a grandson. But every time I ask her how she is, she replies with a thousand-megawatted smile:
“I woke up this morning. I was still breathing. So, I thought: it’s a GOOD day!”

I have so much to learn from this woman. The whole world does, I think.

Happy, happy birthday my beautiful grandmother.
For all the good days that have come before and all the good days to come,
I celebrate and love you with all my heart, and am so honoured to have come from you.

Big love,
Leonie

P.S. If there was any way to get ninety birthday wish comments… that would be oh-so-freaking glorious… I could show her them on Sunday all the wishes from around the world!
All good either way… but just putting it out there ;)

~
Back next week! :)