93 years ago today in Bramley, England a little mother named Annie gave birth to a curly-haired baby boy who she named Frank Stanley. I’ve been thinking about her today. My Great Grandmother’s mind was probably filled with anticipation about giving birth and having another baby to love and care for. It was 1917 — the middle of World War I. But I don’t imagine the war was on her mind that day. She was bringing a life into the world, and everything else was secondary. What would he look like? Would he keep her up at night? Who would he be when he grew up?
A mother’s love has been the same over time. Babies have always been brought into the world with great anxiety and pain and anticipation and pleasure. This is how it has always been and how it will always be. It is strange to think that almost a century ago someone was thinking the same thoughts about my Grandpa as I’ve thought about my babies. And it makes me think about what a “birth”day really is — a day to stop and be in wonder about a new life, a life filled with possibility, a life to be loved. It is a beautiful, wonderful thing. And in the case of my Grandpa, the beauty and the wonder lasted the 92 years that he lived.
So tonight I salute my Great Granny Stanley (and my Great Grandpa Stanley who, obviously, had a role to play in the whole thing) for her labour of love. (The fact that this 4’10” tiny woman gave birth to six children is beyond me!) And I also remember my Grandpa, for the person that he was. He lived his life well. And today would’ve been his 93rd birthday.
(Grandpa with his Grandmother — look at those chubby cheeks!)
Grandpa’s family (minus one baby yet to be born). He’s the curly-haired cutie being held by his dad.
My mom with my Great Granny Stanley 50 years ago. My mom was 13 years old at the time. (Don’t do the math, my mom will get mad at you.) Mom’s 5’2″ which makes Great Granny extra tiny.
Grandpa on his last birthday, blowing out the candles with some of his great grandchildren.