Holidays are a time of gathering, even in this crazy upside-down infested season. Whichever way we gather, we do so around our elders whether they are with us in person or not. In doing so, we gift them with respect and validation for their best practices in raising us.

My mother was an only child. She wasn’t at all the spoiled stereotypical kind, demanding attention at every turn, unable to participate in the easy give and take of sharing. Never! Julia Cleone Saccar Graham was the opposite. She epitomized the essence of generosity and graciousness.

Yes, she was stern and disciplined when the occasion called for it. However, she balanced that discipline with being a life-long- learner laced with an infectious giggle. She did not perch on the couch during holiday gatherings, straightlaced and demanding. Instead, Granny Graham was relaxed and open, ready to engage in any conversations swirling around her elegant red-headed self.

I miss her enlightened conversations! After talking to my mother, I magically would realize that I could leave behind whatever worry I had just dumped on her, forgetting to be anxious about how the rest of the day would play out.

For these and many more traits, I will remember and respect her as we gather in person or virtually this holiday season.

Go and gather with a new vigor, one that is determined to celebrate and respect those who are our elders!

Which story will you share at your gatherings that encapsulates one of your elders?

You must stand up in the presence of the aged, honor the presence of an elder, and fear your God.

Leviticus 19:32

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