I had the privilege of spending a ton of time with grandma growing up, since she lived mere blocks away from me for all my growing up years. We stayed with her when mom and dad were out of town, and spent most holidays in her presence. Her house was my second home, and I was always welcome there. It is such a gift to have a grandparent as part everyday life as a child. I certainly didn't realize how lucky I was to have her so close and so available. I know she would have done anything for us.
Grandma taught me to count in Norwegian, which is what she spoke at home in early childhood. The only time we ever heard her swear was when our holiday "nerts" games got heated. She was quiet and softspoken, faithful, and strong. She didn't say much, and wasn't sentimental. But her heart was large and she was loved by many.
She died 4 1/2 years ago and is missed by many. We always celebrated Christmas with that side of the family on her birthday and had so much fun. We are remembering many fond memories of her and of our Christmases together today.