If I had the power to grant myself one wish, a wish that I could make as I blow out my next set of birthday candles, a wish held close to my heart at the next sighting of a shooting star, it would be this:
I wish to lead a life as full of love and living as GG.
I want to live in my house forever, the house with the driveway from where I softly whispered to my newborn babies "You're home" and the rooms where I rocked those babies to sleep in my arms.
I want to see my daughters get ready for their proms, their graduations, their weddings from the same bedrooms where they played dolls, and school, and slept in perfect childhood innocence.
I want to look at my husband with the same love and affection on our 60th anniversary as I did on the day we were married. Perhaps even more.
I want to share dances with that same man, laughing at the shocked looks on the faces of our grandchildren as we walk out of one of our favorite restaurants for a late night/early morning breakfast long after they expected we would be at home asleep.
I want to be a woman of unwavering faith.
I want to meet the ladies for weekly lunch dates. I'm not sold on afternoons of bridge or pinochle, but I'm not totally against the idea.
I want to be able to wear (and, more importantly, fit into) the same clothes through four decades and look good doing it. Weighing 95 pounds wouldn't be so bad either.
I want to feel comfortable asking family members 50 years my junior for fashion advice and then be confident enough to follow through with their recommendations.
I want to delight in life's simplest pleasures, like a beautiful bloom on a geranium or a quiet moment swinging on the porch.
I want to be the only person in my family allowed to demand more great-grandchildren. Because, really, can you ever have too many great-grandbabies?
I want to be sassy enough to, when asked by my great-grandchild if I'd like to take a ride to a neighboring town, quickly respond with "No, but you can drive to my house and pick up sticks".
I want to possess a resilience beyond explanation, an ability to hold onto both internal and external motivation and forge ahead despite the biggest obstacles standing in the way.
I want to be able to loudly express my appreciation for attractive actors in the middle of a dark movie theater without apologizing for either my honesty or the embarrassment I caused the family members who sat beside me.
I want to be known as the coolest grandma ever - someone who my grandchildren (and all of their friends) feel comfortable joking with but who is also respected to the highest degree.
And more than anything else, I want for my home to be filled with as much celebration, laughter, and love on my 95th birthday as was felt today as we celebrated hers. I want to be surrounded by my children and their spouses, my grandchildren and their children. I want to know that those who had gone on before me are never far away, constantly in my thoughts and always in my heart. I want to experience what it feels like to live a life so full that my heart spills over with joy as I look around at those I hold dearest.
Happy birthday to one of the most amazing women I have had the honor of having in my life. My wish for you on this special occasion is that you realize that in your gentle nature, with your sweet gestures and kind words, you have touched more lives than you can ever imagine. Thank you for being a role model for everything that I can only hope to achieve in my own lifetime.