The first time I met her she didn't say much. I wasn't even part of the family - wasn't even dating my sweet Farmer Boy at the time when his Grandpa and Grandma Miracle came to visit and took us out for Chinese food. They treated me just like I was part of the family, but I don't remember much about that visit other than thinking how sweet of them to insist that I join the family for lunch.
The next time I met them was on our wedding day. It was a glorious sunshiny day and for me it was a day of a blurr and then moments that seemed like time stood still. We had planned to have all the married people come to the dance floor and then exit based on length of marriage ("all those who have been married less than a year ...") until the longest married couple was the only one still dancing. Unknown to me was the fact that Grandpa and Grandma Miracle had never danced together publicly and a cousin pressured them into joining the married dance. It was dark except for the light from lanterns and the moon and stars as they danced in a group that got smaller and smaller until only they were left. I remember my new Husband and I taking a gift of a framed quote with artwork to them as their prize. The quote was: "Grow Old Along With Me, The Best is Yet to Be".
A year later we planned a trip to go visit them in Southern Washington and I was nervous. After all, I was still a relatively new bride and was feeling like I wasn't really fitting in with my new family. We were about an hour away when Grandma called and said that dinner was ready and where were we? When we arrived dinner was ready and we sat and enjoyed home made beef veggie soup with veggies from their large market garden. I began to relax as my Farmer Boy talked with his Grandpa and Grandma about farming and the growing season. I fell asleep that night on the hide a bed feeling like maybe I had found a new set of grandparents who accepted me as their own (on the same trip I was able to spend a night with the other set of my Husband's grandparents who also accepted me as their own!)
The next morning Grandpa and Joshua went off to work at the local farmer's market and I was home alone with Grandma. As soon as we were alone Grandma began showing me the pictures of family and telling me stories about relatives I knew and many I had never met. She then surprised me by pulling out binders of family trees and pictures and memoirs that went back many generations. She told me story after story of great uncles, great grandparents, parents, cousins and times my Husband spent with them working in the garden as a kid. We talked about reading and how she always read the Little House books to her kids and grand kids - which were some of my favorite books growing up too. She showed me Raggedy Ann dolls she had made for grand kids and we talked about my rag dolls as a kid too. She told me how I am now a member of the family and how important it is to keep family history alive. Most of all I remember the fact that she never once made me feel like an in law - but made me feel like her very own grand daughter. I will treasure those memories always.
On December 21, my husband and I traveled again to that house full of wonderful memories and we listened as Grandpa told about saying good-bye to the love of his life as Grandma had passed into heaven quite suddenly. I tried to hold back tears as I imagined what it would be like to know that your spouse was never again going to stand in the home you had made together. I felt like of all of people there I was the one that Grandma knew least. We only visited the once after we were married (something I will probably regret all my life). And even though I knew her least of all - I still had been welcomed as her grand daughter.
In thinking about the life of this godly woman I have been encouraged even more to love fully and to never pass up an opportunity to tell someone how important they are - and to show them that they are accepted and loved. I want to be like Grandma Miracle - I want to read to my children and grandchildren, I want to care about family and keeping family history alive. I want to remember birthdays (she would always post a picture of family members who had birthdays on facebook). I want to make a cozy home for my Husband. I want to cook nutritious meals. I want to love fully.
So to the Grandma I only knew briefly, but loved deeply, thank you for inspiring me to be a better person. Thank you for accepting me just the way I am as part of your family.