In the two weeks leading up to Christmas, one of my sisters sent the siblings a daily family history tidbit beginning with the earlier years of my grandparents’ families. Toward the end she was sending us journal entries written by my grandpa. He chronicled the time he and my grandma had come out to Illinois from New York one Christmas.

I found myself fascinated by the simple things he wrote down. He put together a riding horse for my littlest brother. My grandma was cooking, wrapping, and keeping an eye on the toddler. Mom was in and out on Christmas Eve getting things ready. He hadn’t been able to take me to the dentist that day because he didn’t feel well.

My grandma says he started keeping a daily journal once he retired. Taking time to record the daily things brought extra meaning to his days. Before their health declined in their later 80’s, they were very active people. My grandma refers to it as living five different lives. There was childhood and the life she lived with her brother and parents.

Then there was motherhood and the life of young marriage with my grandpa. They had three girls. My grandpa was a dairy farmer before he became an agent for the Cooperative Extension. He’d give Saturday morning radio reports from the telephone in their kitchen. That was the third life of them being grandparents. We lived five minutes away.

The fourth life I don’t know as much about, as we were farther away and living our own lives by then. I know she continued in the tradition of being involved with their church, befriending others, and inviting many people into their home. The fifth life is when they both slowed down. I am grateful for the many wonderful ways they blessed our lives.

The snow is mostly melted now. This afternoon neared 50 degrees. Yesterday Josh and the kids went down to the lake before the temperatures warmed and thawed the ice. While they were there they disposed of a deer carcass that appeared to have served as a meal to a pack of coyotes. I met with a friend who was in the area for the holidays.

The kids finished the night sky puzzle this morning. I’m impressed they did it because it was actually pretty hard. I helped, but they did most of it. I’d like to put it in a frame so we can hang it in the school room. I didn’t end up learning then any new constellations, but I still enjoyed watching it all come together, marveling again at the stars.

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