Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 11, 2013

CARRIE STAMBAUGH: Happy birthday to an influential grandmother

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

ASHLAND — Today is the 91st birthday of my maternal grandmother, Jane Thielmeyer.

I write about my grandma a lot because she is such a remarkable woman and has influenced my life greatly.

 I’m completely serious when I say she and my mother, Debbie Kirschner, are the two women in the world I admire the most and who inspire me every day.

The more I experience in life, the more I appreciate them both and the time and love they have devoted to my sisters and me. They certainly have put a lot of effort into raising me, and I haven’t been the easiest “child.” I’m dramatic, stubborn — and a bit spoiled, too. The process, I know goes on.

Now that I live far away, I miss them both terribly. I’m jealous of my sisters who live in Cincinnati. Not only can they get a “Mom hug” anytime they want, they are able to visit my grandmother weekly, spending precious time with her.

As I looked for cards this week to send my love and birthday wishes to my grandmother, I became distinctly aware of how guilty I am of not telling  her — and my mother — often enough how grateful I am for them. Not to mention, my cards almost always get mailed late and I sometimes forget to call on holidays and birthdays.

Oh, but when something is wrong, they are the first people I turn to. I expect them to be able to fix anything, or at least listen patiently while I blabber on or cry in frustration. They can always be counted on to guide me with their wisdom or at least prop me up with their unwavering love.

My grandmother is particularly talented at pointing out maybe my problem isn’t such a tragedy after all. She can always put it in perspective. When you have lived as long as she has, there isn’t much you haven’t seen, I guess.  

Thinking about it is mind-boggling. Ninety-one years! She has seen everything in my life, and my mother’s and more. She has always been there and I have always believed she will be forever.  

Grandma, my mom always says, is perpetual. I hope Mom inherited that trait in addition to the talent they share for tackling every task of life with tenacity and grace.

There are many things they have taught me that I realize. I wonder what they have instilled in me I have yet to attribute to them. I also pray I am still absorbing things.

When I’m 91, I hope I can look back at my life and say I lived it as they have — with love and selfless devotion to my family.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.