Who is teaching you to live and love? Or better yet, who are you teaching to live and love?

Today is my grandmother’s birthday. She was born Marjorie Catherine Craig on February, 19, 1914. We called her Mam-mama and even though she passed away seventeen years ago I miss her terribly.

Mam-mama did a lot of the normal things that a grandmother will do. She took us to the zoo. She made us Tang for breakfast. She let us wear clothes that didn’t match if we insisted. But she taught me to try new things and to learn new things. She taught me to paint, or at least she tried. She tried to teach me to crotchet, but I could never quite catch on. She never tried to teach me to quilt, but seeing her projects as they progressed were a lesson in and of themselves. She taught me to love baseball. She would tell stories of her trips around the US and to other parts of the world. She taught me that there is a life to be lived and that it was worth living. We just have to be willing to go after it.

The amazing thing is that if anyone had reasons to be frustrated with life, Mam-mama had her opportunities. She lived through the Great Depression. She lost her first husband, my mom’s dad, in World War II – when my mom was two years old. She had plenty of challenges and heartbreaks in her life, but she was determined to enjoy the days that she had here. Or at least that is what her actions would imply.

Mam-mama also taught me to love people. I don’t mean to give the wrong impression. Mam-mama was no Mother Teresa – what you might picture as quiet and reserved. My grandmother was feisty and opinionated. (She got in trouble at the nursing home once for fighting.) But my grandmother had the ability to look at people and talk with them without judging them. I always knew my friends would be welcomed at Mam-mama’s house. When others might make assumptions about someone based on their appearance or reputation, Mam-mama would get to know them. And that is the heart of loving people. We cannot love people that we have judged. Even if our initial guesses end up being correct, we lost the ability to show them love the moment we cast judgment. The ability to get to know people without judging them is something that I hope ends up in my life.

I have tons of stories I could tell about life with Mam-mama. I think I’ll save most of them for follow up posts. Hopefully this post has given you a glimpse of what an incredible lady she was.

Thank you, Mam-mama, for showing me that there is a life worth living and that people are worth loving. I love you and miss you.

Marjorie Catherine Craig Canon Martin

Feb. 19, 1914 – Dec. 18, 1992