Celebrating 80 Amazing Years...Our MauMau

What does a life well lived look like? 

It is a refrigerator so covered in love and life, 
That your children fight over who gets the best spaces. 
It is a refrigerator full enough,
For all the related family, friends, and new families made along the way. 

Jeanne Marie Abadie Daussin is celebrating today. 

Today is our MauMau's 80th Birthday. 

And like most of the days of her life, I am sure that today will begin with joy. 

MauMau is the original grateful yogi. She taught me to greet the world with joy and happiness - simply because I was blessed enough to be living in it. MauMau lives in the moment. She is truly present. 

For the majority of my childhood, I had just one grandparent. And I always felt that the universe had given me a grandmother that was more special than four put together.

Born in 1930, my grandmother has raised five children, moving from the deep South to Nyack, NY and finally settling just outside of Washington, DC. She suffered the untimely loss of my grandfather when she was only 53, and has been a third parent to her seven grandchildren and several "almost grandchildren." In some ways, I think that the loss of my grandfather made her that much more available to us, that the loss of Papa meant that MauMau had her whole life for us. She did, and still does. I think that every one of us feels like we are her favorite, her special one, her only.

I am the oldest grandchild. My grandmother was just 50 when I was born. There has never been a day in my life that I have not been impacted by her presence in my life or the lessons she had taught me. I think that all of my siblings and cousins would agree.

She keeps us together:

She reminds us to phone home:

She is always there to help us find the right direction:

She speaks our language and is a Facebook friend (for the pictures and the gossip):

She rocks leopard print when she can:

And has hipper outfits than most of us:

She has always been encouraging of our individual styles:

Along with our parents, MauMau made sure that we always had what we needed, and much of what we wanted. MauMau is the person we run to when the various Moms and Dads won't listen. She doesn't judge. She warmly welcomes our friends, our boyfriends, and now for me, my husband. When I drive up to her house, I am simultaneously the 5-year-old in the sprinkler on a big front lawn, and the 12-year-old bohemian who explored the woods and the creek and wrote in my journal. I am one hundred summer days catching fireflies, 4th of July roasting s'mores, exploring closets and playing dress up in church clothes, early Christmas mornings, and family dinners. I am JOYFULE license plates on a Dodge Caravan in the carpool line, a Pontiac minivan big enough to hold all of my college items, and the adorable Subaru she has been sporting for so long now.

As we grew up, she was always there to center us.

She is a perpetual student...and so we never stopped learning.

She danced to her own drummer...and so we all found our own beat.

She is devoted to her faith...and so we trusted her faith in us.

"Joy is not in things. It is in us."  -Richard Wagner

I love you, MauMau. We all love you. Our friends love you. People you don't even remember meeting love you. Congratulations on eighty amazing years. We can't even imagine what the next decades will hold.

Namaste - the light within me salutes the unbelievable light within you.