Happy 101st (yeah, one hundred and first!) birthday to this wonderful lady!!!
Whenever someone asks me what her secret is I tell them this. It is, without a doubt, her positive attitude. Her life has not been all sunshine and rainbows. She has had her struggles and difficult times, just like anyone else. But she has never let those things define her. And you would never know her struggles by spending time with her. She lives for the little things in life, and she has always been, genuinely, to her core, the happiest and most positive light in my life.
So in honour of my Nana on her 101st birthday, I am going to share my favourite memories of her, moments with her, and funny things she has done/said. I’ve mentioned a lot of these things on my blog over the years, but it’ll be nice to have them all in one place.
36 Reasons Why My Nana is the Best Ever
1 She looooves horoscopes and she has always read hers, mine, my best friend’s, and my boyfriend’s, religiously. One time she called me and was all “Lindsey, Lindsey, is everything okay? I read in your horoscope that someone is going to try to undermine you today, so please be careful!” Noted. And one time after reading my Bestie Lisa’s she called me and said “Lisa’s horoscope said there is going to be a new man in her life soon, tell her to keep an eye out.” Thanks for the heads up, Nana!
2 We were getting ready to leave her house after Easter dinner one year, and she called out to my dad, who was driving “Do you want a beer for the road?!” Oh Nana. That is illegal.
3 Her reaction to pretty much everything you say to her is “Oh, wonderful! Beautiful!” and then a pause, and then “Fantastic!”
4 One time Evan and I were visiting her in her home and as we were leaving she forced a $50 bill into my hand and said “I want you to take this and go and buy some CHIPS.” And just the way she said chips made us die of laughter. We still laugh about it today. Sure Nana, I will go and buy $50 worth of chips.
5 When I was born I was quite dark. I can apparently credit this to my Papa, my dad’s side of the family, the Bulgarians. I had very dark hair and darker skin, but somehow I seem to have lightened up as I’ve gotten older. Anyway, my parents were pointing me out to my Nana after I was born when I was in an incubator in a room with all the other babies at the hospital, and when my parents pointed to me my Nana said “The negro?!”
6 Her care packages. OMG the care packages. When she lived on her own, and after I moved out on my own, she would make care packages to give me when I came to visit her. These consisted of random items such as half used bottles of Windex, one roll of paper towel, oranges, a can of soup, bread, cheese (wrapped in tinfoil and then wax paper), PC Decadent cookies, stamps, and whatever else might be useful that had been on sale at the grocery store. Now that she is in a home and can’t shop for herself, she still tries to do this, but her items are things she has somehow acquired, so therefore even more random. Usually cookies and muffins she has saved from various meals and stored in Ziplock bags, socks she won at Bingo, and stickers.
I love it.
7 Fairly recently she called me and told me she was not doing very well so I needed to come see her immediately because she had something very important to give me. It was this:
Still trying to take care of me, even though she wasn’t well herself.
8 A couple years ago my cousins Chrissy, Allie and I were all at my aunt’s house with Nana. My Nana suddenly pulled a couple of adult diapers out of her bag and handed them to Chrissy and I saying “THESE ARE FOR YOUR PANTIES!!!” (very loudly). I guess she didn’t need them anymore, but we might, you know! Girl time! I didn’t really know what to do so I was trying to say thank you as tears of laughter were streaming down my face, and Nana looked at me and said “Oh, sorry Lindsey, these aren’t for you! I thought you were Allie!” and snatched the diaper away from me. Then she handed me my present: cookies saved from meals, and $20. And my cousins were all “But…why doesn’t Lindsey get a diaper?” and Nana said “Well Lindsey lives on her own you know…” Which, yep I did! To this day I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard (I actually blogged this whole story just after it happened).
9 Before she moved into a nursing home, she had a little vacation in one for two weeks to try it out and see how she liked it. When I asked her how it was there, the first thing she said was “The food is AMAZING!” and then went on to describe everything she ate.
10 Whenever I ask her what she ate for breakfast she always says porridge, toast, eggs, yogurt, coffee, and orange juice. Pretty sure we all inherited her love of food.
11 Speaking of food, all the food she made. Homemade pierogies, cabbage rolls, lasagne, pizza, pickled everything, soda floats, SALAD, Easter dinners with painted eggs, cookies… The homemade birthday cakes she used to make with buttercream icing (always white with blue trim and pink roses), and she would wash coins and then wrap them in wax paper and put them in the batter. We would have competitions to see who could find the most money.
12 Her shortbread cookies. They are the best ever.
13 The nurses in her home are each in charge of various games, and are reviewed for the attendance of the residents. Nana knows this and she doesn’t want the nurses to get bad marks, so for a couple of years she would go to ALL THE GAMES. Mystery Word, Bingo, and table bowling were her favourite. And whenever I would call her and ask her how she was she would say “Oh I’m just so BUSY!” Going to all the games was really tiring her out, but she couldn’t risk the nurses getting bad marks!
14 One time I asked her if she was able to play Euchre in her home with the other residents, and she looked at me and said “Euchre! Most of these people don’t even know where their room is! They can’t play Euchre!”
15 She always looks like a million bucks. She gets up and does her makeup every morning, is always wearing lipstick, and her nails are always freshly painted in a bright colour.
16 My friend Melissa and I used to stay with my Nana at her house for a week in the summer when we were younger, and her favourite thing was to take us shopping. She was in her 80s but she would make us shop with her ALL DAY. And we would be all “Nana, slow down, we need a break!” and she would just say “Come on girls, we still have stores to hit!” and so we started calling her the Energizer Bunny.
17 It was my Nana every year who would take me shopping for back-to-school clothes, and it was my Nana who would take me shopping for my prom dresses (I went to a really small school so I went to prom for five years).
18 She was always so welcoming to my friends in her old house, and then her apartment. Most of my best friends have stayed with her for at least a weekend.
19 When I was young and would sleep over she would always make me a real banana split before bed. When I woke up in the morning there would be freshly squeezed orange juice beside my head. Followed by porridge with all the brown sugar.
20 She would always have puzzles and books tucked under her couch for when we came over.
21 Her apartment used to be just plastered with pictures of her grandchildren, and she had album upon album of us also. We were everywhere. My cousins and I used to have a competition about it, and we would go around and count how many pictures of us there were when we were visiting, and my cousin Chrissy (she is the oldest) was always in the lead by a couple. Until I got Nana an entire calendar of pictures of me 🙂
23 She saves every card anyone’s ever gotten her, and she keeps them all in a big photo album.
24 One time she couldn’t get out to get me a Valentine’s Day card, so she just whited out the name on a card a child had made for her.
Oh how this made me laugh.
25 The way she signs all her cards to me.
And how she adds her own stickers to spice them up.
26 How happy she is when holding a baby, or just in the general vicinity of a baby.
26 The smell of her, and the smell of her house. I’ll never ever forget it. If I concentrate really hard I can smell it in my mind right now.
27 Her house in Toronto, the one my dad grew up in. The backyard in particular, I just loved it. It was huge, with the biggest garden, with grape vines, and a willow tree. In the front she had a big maple tree that was perfect for climbing, so we would climb and hang out in it for hours.
28 Throughout my childhood she had various figure skaters from around the world boarding with her while they were training in Toronto, so she wouldn’t have to live alone. She treated them as part of her family, and they would come to our holiday dinners, etc. One of them went on to be on the American Olympic Team, so I felt like my Nana lived with a celebrity!
29 Every time I see her she tells me how beautiful she thinks I am. And if I ever am worried about something she will say “Don’t worry, you’re beautiful!” not that it would make the problem better, but it does make me feel nice.
30 Her love for the Young and the Restless, the Y&R!
31 When she worries about things, they tend to be things that make me laugh. For a while she was worried that my brother Eric was going to join a gang and start smoking. And she was always concerned about my purse, because you always had to watch out for “those purse snatchers.” They could strike when you least expected it. Like when you’re in your car and you have your purse on the passenger seat, and someone opens your door and snatches it when you’re stopped. This was a big concern of hers.
32 When she was 99 she fell and broke her hip, and the doctors thought she would probably never walk again. But she was walking in the hospital the day after her surgery!
33 One time I witnessed her pick up her walker, carry it around an obstacle, put it back down and continue walking with it. Like it wasn’t needed at all.
34 She is the easiest person to buy a birthday present for because she does not want me to spend any money on her, so all she has ever asked for from me is pictures of me.
35 I love the love she has for her family. That she must be touching us if she is near us.
36 I love that I have never in my life seen her without a smile on her face.
There are so many more reasons, I feel like I could go on forever…but it’s almost time for her birthday party!
The happiest of bithdays to my most wonderful Nana! We love you so much!!!