Why today of all days? Why July 18th?

When I was one, the doctor only gave my grandmother six months to live, after diagnosing her with stomach cancer. Thanks to God, chemotherapy and many prayers she beat that but later developed Muscular Dystrophy. As a young girl to teenage years, I remember spending summers with my grandmother in South Carolina. Helping her get around and seeing her go from cane, to walker to wheelchair; without then with assistance. I helped her cook, clean, shop etc. All the while, I was helping her, she was helping and molding me. I learned chores, respect and manners; all things that would contribute to me becoming a good person, wife and mother. Seeing all the things my grandmother was going through with her health, her nine children knew that every year they had with her was a blessing and didn’t want to take it for granted. So, they all decided it would be good to throw her a surprise birthday party, every year.

Everyone knew my mom was the one, who could plan and decorate events nicely, so they tasked her with the job to make it all come together. I loved my grandmother so much and understood how special she was that I just wanted to help as much as possible. I found that I really had fun making everything look pretty, from centerpieces to wall décor, even entryways. I guess you can say a seed was being planted in me and I didn’t even know it. It brought so much joy to all of us to see that big smile on her face and tears in her eyes, when all her children and grandchildren would come together. I still look back on pictures from her party and just smile. My grandmother was someone who loved hard and worked hard, making sure she provided for all her children. She is someone I will always love, admire and I inspire to have a relationship with God like her.

She passed away the month before my second son was born, and I couldn’t make it to her funeral (pregnancy travel restrictions). I took this very hard and I promised I would make up for it, the best I could and do something significant for her. Today, July 18th, would have been her 80th birthday. I think by officially launching on this date, it brings things full circle and is the best gift I could give to my grandmother today.

Happy Birthday Grandma Annie Mae, I love you and hope I am making you proud. XOXO

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