Lessons for my grandchildren
Andrew, William, Kristen, Ashlan and Connor
by Sunny Stephenson
I never really thought about growing old…it just happened! Except for some aches and pains, and some “conditions” that accompany aging, I don’t feel much different than I always have. However, the image that stares back at me from my mirror contradicts, and is evidence of the passage of time.
So, how do I feel about being 75? Well, from where I sit, life is good. There are dreams I had as a girl that never came true, but they were supplanted by happenings which probably brought me more happiness than would my own plans. I never became a rich and famous actress, but I found love, gave love and built a good life with the man I know God intended for me. We were blessed with three beautiful, healthy children who have become fine, decent adults with good families of their own.
Now, I’m not certain age has brought me wisdom, but I have learned a few lessons of life I’d like to pass on to my five grandchildren – maybe like my legacy to them, since I have no fortune.
First, I would tell them LOVE is the most important thing in life. Others may not agree with me, but for me, love of God is foremost. Loving Him and trusting in His love for me is my safety-net and the source of all the love I give to others. Looking back over the years, it isn’t the “things” that I remember with joy, but the people whom I have loved and who have loved me that filled my soul with happiness and satisfaction. It isn’t by chance that throughout history, LOVE has been the most popular theme of all the arts!
When you love someone, tell them so often. If there is a misunderstanding, don’t be afraid to claim the blame. Say “I’m sorry. What can I do to make it better?” You’ll make them happy, and the rewards will be great! Every day my husband and I kissed often and told one another “I love you.” When he died, there were no words left unsaid. I will always miss him, but I have no regrets.
After family, there is nothing to be cherished more than true friendship. Whether they be life-long friends or ones you’ve been fortunate to make late in life, they are your gems. Sharing a part of your life with someone else creates a bond that is a genuine gift. Never miss an opportunity to say “I love you”. Don’t be stingy with love. Giving it is worth the risk. Whatever happens, choose to be happy. Put a smile on your face and watch how others respond with a smile. Suddenly, your whole world seems brighter, more hopeful. Laughter colors you happy, too.
I especially want each grandchild to know his/her most valuable asset is his/her good name. Guard it jealously. What people think about you is important. Act accordingly. Live by the rules taught by your parents and commanded by your God. Self respect demands the respect of others.
Lastly, when you get to my age, I think it’s only natural to think once in a while about death. I don’t dwell on it, nor do I fear it. I have a little theory about death. It seems to me, from my own experience, that we die gradually. Each time I’ve lost someone I loved, a little piece of me died and went with them, and a bit of them stayed with me. My husband and I were so close we were a part of one another, and so I can never really lose him. It comforts me.
Today I am a happy, grateful, optimistic woman. Life is good. I have a fantastic family, faithful and fun-loving friends, manageably good health and a lovely place to live. Now, if I could just win the lottery!
Dear Celebration Family,
My good friend Sunny Stephenson wrote this article for Celebration Magazine back in 2009 to use in our first publication, it was first published in 2011.
"Lessons for my Grandchildren" was written by Sunny for her five grandchildren as a reminder of what is important in life. I hope you enjoyed her insight on life and love and much as I cherish her beautiful words.
Sunny passed away on May 13, 2017 while we were in production of this issue of Celebration Magazine and with her daughter Liz's blessing we are sharing it with you, again.
Her beautiful words are a living tribute to a remarkable woman and the love that she shared with her family...Sunny's daughter Liz and her husband John, grandson Andrew his wife Alex and grandson William, Sunny's son Paul and his wife Ann, granddaughter Kristen, Sunny's son John, his wife Lisa, grandchildren Ashlan and Connor.
You will be missed, Sunny! Thank you for your friendship, love and support. I will never, ever forget you.
All My Love,