After a birthday weekend packed with celebrations, family togetherness and promises to get together more often, life on my home front is quiet: a good time for some reflection. 

You’ve been privy to many family stories I’ve shared; what follows are just a few thoughts and memories of a life well lived.

Growing up was a happy time: loving and supportive parents, Joseph and Mary, whose family came first; a younger brother, Jack, who could be a real pain but who is now a cherished part of my life; and my precious little sister, Rosemary, who was born when I was a teenager. She and I did fun things as she got older: I taught her to roller skate, we went out for Chinese food, she was part of my wedding and she was like a big sister to our firstborn son, George. We share that unbreakable sister-to-sister connection.

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I can’t say life was without bumps, hurts and bruises: Sadly, my marriage ended in divorce and I raised four young boys by myself with the love and encouragement of my family. There were painful break-ups, friendships that ended much too soon, illnesses etc., for me and my sons. We pulled together and moved on.

As life can be filled with joy, we know that sadness runs side by side with that joy. I shed many tears over the passing of my parents, my husbands, Bud and Art, and close friends, Rina and Shirlie, all from that dreaded cancer, which, as you know, has also crept into my life.

Now for some good stuff: I love being Mom to my crew—George Jr., Paul, Matt and Joe. Raising them was a journey in itself. What one didn’t think of, the others did and off they’d go on some wild adventure. With boys, what you see is what you get: exuberance and physical activity up front and out there. My sons became loving, family-minded, loyal and decent men of whom I am very proud. Throw into this happy mix my lovely stepdaughter, Val (thanks, Artie), and her handsome hubby, Kurt, my daughters-in-law, Helen and JulieAnne: I am a winner, big time!

I adore my grandchildren. Listening to them talk about their hopes and dreams is a real shot of adrenaline. I Skype with Kala and Trevor in Asia; I text with Mattman, Matt B. and Chris (I’ve been resistant to technology, but there are times when it “works” for me.). Getting together with Nick, Brennan and Brianna is always fun. We have some great conversations and share thoughts and ideas. They listen intently to Grandmopps’s stories and opinions.

As a human being, I made some crappy choices and decisions; however, the good ones outweighed the bad. With lots of help and patience from the Man Upstairs, these choices have made me the woman I am. Know what? I like her.

And what could be better at 80 than being cherished by family and friends who are loving, caring and hug me back? My dear readers, it doesn’t get any better than this.

P.S. A few folks have asked about my health issues: I’ve been in a holding pattern over the airport these last few months! There are some tests scheduled in a few weeks to see how I’m doing. I am feeling pretty good and looking forward to some pleasant summer activities. Thanks for asking!

Ruthann can be reached at grandmopps@aol.com.