My 90 Year old Grandparents

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I’m delighted to share a little photo shoot I took of my 90 year old grandparents while they were here visiting me this past week.  Their love makes me so happy, and something I aspire to have with my husband. They’ve been married 68 years, and counting!

Anniversary couple pictures

I shared a little sneak peek of this session on Instagram, and got such sweet comments from everyone.  I’ve taken some nice couple shots of them throughout the past 10 years, never really knowing if it would be their last. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to have a fancy couple photo shoot, but I was inspired, and decided to do just that.  I don’t know her, but I was inspired by the idea of dressing them up, assembling an arrangement of flowers, and snapping some pictures. So I did.

couples photography

The weather was crummy and cold, but we braved it for 10 minutes to snap a few shots in a field near my home. If you look closely in the images, you can see the spittle of rain in the background.  My 9 year old daughter came with an umbrella to shield Grams hair when I wasn’t shooting. Grandma loves purple, so we went with that for her, and got grandpa this fancy hat and shirt, and he felt like a million bucks. He wasn’t so sure about the hat, but I loved it, and when I asked my coy Grams what she thought, I got a side glance, a grin, and an “I like it” from her, so it was a GO!  In the end, I’m pretty sure it helped him feel fantastically suave. It wasn’t my plan to do gray on gray, but that’s what he wanted, and I think he looks dapper.  Grams loves purple, so I whipped together a bouquet, and tied it with a strand of fabric from my stash, and she borrowed my purple cardigan with her own pinstripe shirt.

Anniversary pictures

As my grandparents were in town, our family started memorizing the scripture I shared that mentions heavy burdens, and how we can lean on the Lord so that those burdens can be light. I got emotional thinking about the heavy burdens that have been placed upon them in this life.

When my grandma was 17, her mother passed away suddenly. She got Lyme Disease from a tick. {Read more details about their childhood here.}

grandma at 90

If that wasn’t devastating enough, 2 weeks later, her appendix burst, and her family couldn’t afford the surgery to remove it. Fortunately, she survived, but found out when she got married that she’d likely never have children because her insides were all messed up from the burst. Grams grew up on a farm on the Utah/Wyoming border, in a home with no electricity, with 3 older sisters (2 that were deaf) and 2 younger brothers.  When she chose to leave home and pursue a nursing degree, her father wanted her to stay behind to help run the farm and help care for her two younger brothers. She had to make the difficult decision to continue on with her nursing degree, and hope her father would eventually understand.

She met my grandpa at a church square dancing activity. They were paired together, and months later, got engaged.

Grandpa also grew up in a small town, the only boy with a handful of sisters.

grandpa at 90

When he was 11 years old, a horse went crazy and landed on his leg. After blacking out, and shouting loud enough for a neighbor to hear, he was carried home and rush to their local facility. They thought the best option was to amputate his leg, but his dad wouldn’t have it. They went to the big city and found a doctor that had other plans, and his leg was saved. Still, he’s had a limp all of his life. He wasn’t allowed to fight in World War II, which I see as a blessing, but was difficult for him at the time. 3 months after graduation, 3 of the boys that graduated with him in the Class of 15, had died in the war.

When grandpa met grandma, he introduced him to his mother. His mom was so impressed with her, she asked her son, “What are your intentions with this girl.” And he said, “I don’t have any intentions.” And she said, “then leave her alone.”  That shook him a bit to take it more seriously, and knowing how much his mother loved her, he caught the vision, and proposed.

68 years of marriage

After they married, she worked as a nurse and encouraged grandpa to go to school. He became an accountant with the Air Force. They thought they’d never have kids, but found a doctor that worked a miracle, and they were blessed with 2 daughters. The eldest, is my mom.

Grams has always been the quiet one, Gramps always has a story to tell, and no one is a stranger. It’s funny because I’d always known that about him, that he will strike up a conversation with a cashier, waitress, people we met at the airport, but I never realized how much I’m like him in that way. I love meeting new people, I love to learn life stories.  But Grams, he’s so suave. I worry sometimes that people won’t get his humor, then I hear him tell a joke and people LAUGH! And Grams just quietly smiles as he tells those jokes, he is the life of the party.  These grandparents of mine, are a perfect match.

Anniversary picture session

He’s always defended her, never allowed us as little kids to talk back to her, and been her biggest fan in all she does. He told me recently that it breaks his heart that she’s started to hunch over a bit, emphasis of the arthritis working on her joints. He loves her so much, I think he knows how blessed he is that she’s his wife.

anniversary photo session

They’ve been married 68 years, and counting.

Growing up states away, I don’t know that I ever had a chance to truly be close to them. We saw them twice a year for a week or two, and that’s it. In college, I took my friends there for weekends, and would spend my Thanksgivings with them. As an adult, we’ve kept up a near yearly visit, but it wasn’t until this time that I parted with them, that it hurt me a bit to say goodbye. They stayed with me for a week, my kids were in school, we had quite a bit of time to enjoy each others company without interruptions. They delighted in the excitement of a new lunch spots I’d take them, and I showed my Grams how to work her ipad and keep up with her grandkids on Facebook. My grandpa kept saying, “I’ll never forgive you for taking such good care of us” he’d get a tear in his eye, and squeeze me in a hug, as I’d get a tear in my eye, too.

my grandparents

It made me so happy to get such a warm reception from everyone on Instagram when I shared pictures of our week together, thanks for caring! I think we all can resonate with lasting love, and the desire to have what they have.

All in all, their life is a testament that Love is a verb, it’s action. It’s putting the needs of another in front of your own. It’s selflessness, it’s kindness.

I don’t want to just survive 68 years of marriage with my husband, I want to embrace it, and with them as my example, I hope I can do just that.

how to stay married 68 yearsMore stories of my grandparents:

90th Mason Jar Party

Painting picture frames

You’re My Butter Half

My other Grams Waited for Me