Proverbs 16:31 - Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life. I just got off the phone with my sweet Aunt Roberta, back home in New York. When I asked her how she'd been feeling, she responded, "oh, I'm okay...just a little tired." Aunt Roberta celebrated her 99th birthday yesterday. I'm only 30 and complain about being tired! She's amazing.
Growing up, Aunt Roberta was a constant fixture in my life. She was my great-aunt and quite the character. She lived on the 5th floor of a cozy co-op building in Bayridge, Brooklyn, just minutes from the Verazzano Bridge The building itself smelled like lint balls and retirement, but my sister and I loved visiting. She had shelves filled with the cutest trinkets that Amy and I loved to play with. She had fabulous lime-ish/puke-ish green rugs. She had a real rotary phone that we always played pretend with. She always bought us totally rad (umm, it was the 90's) Easter outfits from department stores we'd never usually get a chance to buy clothes from. She took us out for dinner for every occasion. She had never married or had children so after my mom (her niece) passed, she set up a college savings account for us. When my sister and I graduated high school, we each had a little something to start us off.
She was (and is) a character! Her signature drink was Dewar's on the rocks and she had a glass every day, later saying that's what kept her young. She joked around a lot, and had the gift of sarcastic wit. A devout Catholic, she went to Mass daily and was very active in her parish. She was very proud of her Irish heritage and told stories of kissing the Blarney stone, which folklore said endowed the kisser with the gift of gab. When I expressed interest, she graciously told me "I think you already have the gift of gab, dear". Word.
In a recent conversation, she mentioned that every night she thinks she's going to pass. "I always wake up thinking---geez, I'm still here?!" At 99, you can't blame her for wanting to be in heaven already!
Aunt Roberta is one of the most special people in my life, and I am blessed to have had her this long. She now lives in a nursing home in Long Island, NY, so I don't get to see her often. However, I carry her in my heart and think about her often. I call as often as I can and love to hear her voice, even if it's hearing about the "rotten" food and "crazy people" at the nursing home. Can you blame her?
Even though she still gets her hair dyed (she would kill me if she knew I was telling you), underneath it lies a beautiful shade of silver hair, and it is a crown of splendor that I admire. I am thankful for who she was and is to me in so many ways. She has lived a godly and righteous life, and I can only hope to live life the way she has.