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I may just have the most with-it grandmother in the world.  My Nanny lives in Newfoundland, and as of yesterday, is 94 years old.  My choices for wishing her a happy birthday range from a phone call, a skype call on her ipad, or posting it on her Facebook page.  Perhaps it’s a faux-pas to tell a lady’s age… but reaching 94 with a razor sharp mind, surrounded by loving family is a badge of honour that should be shouted from the rooftops, if you ask me.

I am certainly not surprised to hear that she had so many birthday calls yesterday from family across the country that by the night time her voice was hoarse.  This, of course, was following a birthday celebration on the weekend, and a Facebook page filled with birthday wishes.

When I think of all the changes she has witnessed in the world, from world crises to leaps in technology, I have to wonder if perhaps one of the secrets to a long life is being able to change with the times.  And to have lots of grandkids… and even more great grandkids.

With one of the most common life values being family, let’s imagine that life purpose can be measured by how many people we bring into the world.  This means that with 8 children (7 of whom are alive),16 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, and another 3 on the way – she is the pinnacle of a life full of purpose.

A few months ago, Nanny flew to Halifax, and I jumped at the chance to go home with Ethan and Audra.  How could I miss the opportunity to spend time with our family matriarch now that they are old enough to remember? (And flying to Halifax is much easier and cheaper than flying to Newfoundland)

Upon asking Ethan and Audra what comes to mind when they think about Nanny, here is what they said:

  • She makes good bread 
  • She loves to knit 
  • She loved to talk to us (With a memory as sharp as a tack, and a gift for the gab, there was never a shortage of conversation)
  • She recently found out what an ipad is, and how to use it. We think that’s pretty cool for someone who is 94. 
  • Most of the time she sat in the same rocking chair looking at her great-grandchildren (often while knitting) 
  • She had lots of fun watching her great-grandchildren dance. (To songs that included “I’m sexy and I know it”, which I thought was funny considering how strict she reportedly was while my mom was growing up)

I had the best visit I’ve ever had with my Nanny. I got great pleasure out of watching my kids sit and chat with her, excitedly try on their new knitted goods, dance for her, and simply enjoy her company.  She was like a magnet, drawing the company of her young great-grandkids to her throughout the weekend.  And on her end, it seemed as though she got younger every day.  Her energy was amazing, as if the love and antics of being surrounded by 5 young children was feeding her full of life.  (which I’m sure it was)

As I said at her 90th birthday celebration a few years ago:  I see all of the things she does as acts of love.  Nanny bread fills you up with more than just calories; and Nanny mittens keep you warmer.

My memories of our Easter weekend spent with her will warm me and fill me up for years to come.  It just feels right right that my children will have lifelong memories of their Nanny from Newfoundland.  They are memories full of happiness and simplicity, with family time as the central theme.  So fitting.

We love you, Nanny!!