Fridays with Gram

By Kim Strobel

May 1, 2017

Where Does Your Happiness Come From?

Happiness comes in all forms. And sometimes it’s the little things that end up making the biggest impact on your life.

For me, happiness often comes over a shared meal with my 93-year-old grandmother. Gram and I have had a standing lunch date every single Friday for the last 16 years. We go out to eat every other Friday at a local diner, and the other weeks, she cooks for me. She makes the best chili, homemade chicken salad and bologna salad, and salmon patties. I’m pretty sure I think Gram’s food is the best because it’s made with such love.  

Every meal we share starts the same way: with a prayer over our food. It’s one of the most precious moments of my day, praying with my gram. She’s such a spiritual and religious woman. She wears a devotional item, called a scapular, pinned to her bra as a constant reminder to live a Christian life. She also keeps a prayer card under her pillow and wakes up at 2 a.m. to pray it, falling back to sleep when she’s finished. She prays a lot.

After we pray over our food, we begin to eat and chat enthusiastically about all kinds of interesting things: simplicity, happiness, spirituality. And, of course, we spend some time catching up on any family or community gossip. I’m not ashamed to admit it!  

Gram and I also share a love of junky romance novels. (You wouldn’t believe the stuff she reads!) Usually during our lunch dates, we discuss the latest book we’re jointly reading, or ones we’ve recently read on our own.

We laugh a lot, but we also have very deep conversations about life. For example, I recently asked her if she was afraid of dying and her answer was, “Kimmy, I’ve waited my whole life to meet that man. I am not afraid.” Isn’t she something?

On days when I have spare time, we finish our lunch and take naps together. This is my favorite thing! I sleep on the couch and she sleeps in her chair. And every single time, she does the most remarkable thing that makes me feel so very loved. I get myself situated on the couch, pull the blanket that’s made out of my grandfather’s old T-shirts up over me, and close my eyes. Then Gram gets out of her chair and comes over to tuck the blanket tightly around me.

Talk about a little thing having a big impact! I can tell you, this 43-year-old granddaughter never feels so loved as when she’s being safely tucked in by her gram. Then, I fall asleep to the tick-tocking of the clock that’s hung on the wall all of my life and enjoy the best nap ever. Meanwhile Gram sits in her chair, prays, and settles in for her own nap.  

I look forward to this weekly routine of ours because Gram is such an incredibly important part of my life. She deserves so much credit as the inspiration and motivation behind my desire to study and spread happiness. She’s taught me so much about so many things. But mostly she’s taught me that I am worthy of love and that WHO I am matters.

An important facet of happiness is being able to identify the people, places, things, or activities that bring you the most joy, the most satisfaction, the most inspiration. So … what are yours?

  • Just reread this from your recent post. This is so beautiful. I cherish my years with my grandmas and I love family history. Makes me heart happy.

  • Thanks for sharing such a lovely relationship with your grandmother. Gradparents are the relatives we love and can help us work and live better!!

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