Thursday, July 23, 2009


Today is my maternal grandmother's 91st birthday.

I am the only person in the world who gets to call her Mormor. My mother's family is of Swedish descent - well, they emigrated in 1969, so really recent descent. In Swedish, the way you refer to your grandparents is designated by their specific relation to you. "Mormor" means mother's mother, and i am the only child of my grandmother's only daughter, so i am the only one who gets to call her Mormor.

Last year, about this time, my husband and i, along with my 15 cousins, 4 uncles, 3 of my aunts, and my cousins' spouses, boyfriends, and children, converged upon my parents' and grandparents' home in Michigan to celebrate Mormor's 90th birthday and her and Morfar's 60th wedding anniversary. We were 40, in all, plus 2 on the way.

I don't think i fully realized, at the time, that this was our last chance to kind of say goodbye to Mormor. Mormor is sporting a stubbornly healthy 90 year-old body underneath a once beautiful mind, now radically limited by dementia to the point that she remembers very little from one moment to the next and regularly expresses her desire to find her childhood home or her baby boys, not recognizing them in their adult form. Today, i realized a little more of the importance of that celebration last year and how God gave us all the opportunity of that one lovely day in which Mormor enjoyed our company, remembered a little, introduced herself a lot, and welcomed us all.

Possibly the only thing about this disease in which i can find any beauty is that Mormor has retained her sweet and kind disposition. The mind may go, but her beautiful spirit remains, kind and humble and welcoming to all these strangers who claimed to be her family.

Also, in her diminished state, the long ago ingrained habit of crochet has not left her. She has produced afghan after afghan after afghan since moving in with my parents several years ago. It's an activity that i think brings her comfort. I share that with her. I learned the skill of crocheting from my mother, who learned it from Mormor, and it's one of the most relaxing activities i engage in - though not nearly often enough.

And thus i found a way to celebrate her on this special day.

There are a couple that are different, but almost all of the afghans i have ever seen that were made by my mother or my grandmother are the same general design. Today, i realized that i never learned how to crochet that design. Check it out...

Mormor made these two:

Mom made this one:

So today, i decided that i would learn to do it too. It will be our family design. And so i studied the other blankets and learned and practiced and completed this one little swatch.

And thus i celebrated a little bitty part of the life of my dear dear grandmother, who has blessed us all so greatly, who has given life and a loving heritage to a great group of viking-Americans - and to me.

Happy Birthday, Mormor! I love you, and i miss you, and when we see each other in Heaven someday, we will know each other perfectly, and i look forward to that day.

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