Your grandma’s birthday is this Saturday.  Only you don’t call her grandma. You call her JoJo, which is totally adorable, especially when Neala says it because it sounds more like “Jo-zho”.

If I had time I would make her red velvet cupcakes.  I would put cream cheese icing in a bag and swirl it on top of the cupcakes in a Pinterest kind of way. Only I don’t have time because there are two extremely needy children living in my house. I won’t mention any names, but their initials are Neala and Lincoln. 

One of the great things about our family is we stick together.  Which means if we’re going through a rough time, we don’t have to suffer alone. Someone in the family will be there to listen, pray for us, or tell us we’re crazy.  More often than not, that person is JoJo.

Here are a few other things you should know about JoJo.
(You know I love making lists)

1. She was an incredibly strict mother.  You think I’m tough? Pfft…I look like a slacker compared to her.  I didn’t always enjoy the tight reigns growing up, but it worked out pretty well.  All three girls turned out to be normal, responsible people.

2. She is NOT a strict grandmother. If she takes you shopping, you are going to leave the store with something. If you don’t go shopping with her, don’t worry. You are still getting something. 

If you disobey, she will try to speak in a stern voice.  But it’s not very stern and she might laugh as she tells you not to do it again. She will let you eat ice cream every day whether you ask for it or not. She will also flood you with hugs and kiss your face off every day.

3. JoJo prays.  A lot.  She and Jesus are besties for sure.
If she prays for something, it usually happens.
Your daddy and I were not really planning on having kids you know.  We had already started the adoption process. But JoJo put a little bug in the Lord’s ear and sure enough, I got pregnant.  Not once, but twice in 2 years.  (By the way, I told JoJo to stop asking Jesus for more grand babies because I am OVER being pregnant.)

4. She is very generous.  She loves giving to others.  Most people don’t know this because she doesn’t walk around telling folks.  Which makes the giving even sweeter.

5. She loves popcorn and ice cream.  Growing up we ate popcorn at least once a week.  And it wasn’t the cheap, super buttery microwave popcorn.  I’m talkin real kernels she cooked on the stove.  The experience of watching her shake the pot over the burner was just as enjoyable as eating it.

6. Everyone always said dad was the funny one.  But JoJo has a silly side as well. When she comes over she chases you around the house & tells you she’s going to “suck your eyeballs”.  

She once chased me around the kitchen with a raw chicken leg. Looking back, I’m not sure if that was funny or creepy. 

When your Aunt Lisa stabbed me with a fork at the dinner table, JoJo didn’t even blink. She laughed as she told me I deserved it, then continued eating. (In case you’re wondering, it was a small wound. Though forks still make me nervous.)

Sometimes her humor is not exactly intended.  Here’s one story I remember from growing up that continues to make us laugh…
We were watching T.V. one night.  Mom was pretty sleepy and had dozed off on the couch. (Now that I’m a mom, I TOTALLY understand why she was so tired)
A commercial came on with a girl saying, “Mom, we’re out of milk.”  Mom’s head popped up off the couch and said, “No, I just bought some.”
Laughter.  Lots and lots of laughter.
If you’re not laughing at this story, I guess you had to be there.

7. She let us have sleepovers all the time.  We were practically famous for our sleepovers.  Partly because she let us stay up all night playing games and putting on makeup.  But mainly because every girl from church was invited.  We weren’t allowed to spend the night at anyone’s house for a long time, so they all came to ours. (I told you she was strict.)

8. She loves playing Rummikub. It’s way too complicated to explain, so I won’t even try. When you are older she will teach you how to play. Then she will bribe you to play with her because no one in the family right now likes to play. When we stayed with her this past summer she forced me to play. It literally hurt my brain. 

If I asked our family and friends, I’m certain they could come up with 128 more interesting or funny things to add to my list. For brevity’s sake, I’ll stop at eight. 

Up to this point, many of my letters to you have been about your PawPaw.  I want you to know and love him through the stories I share. I want you to know him and appreciate the man he was.

But this weekend it’s not about PawPaw.  It’s about a sensitive, generous woman. I want you to know and appreciate the woman she is. 
You call her JoJo, but I call her mom. 

Instead of mourning what we have lost, we will celebrate what we have.
We have JoJo.


One thought on “JoJo

  1. Neala and Lincoln, I love your Jo Jo too. She is very generous and funny, but not just strict with her girls, she also strict with her friends. You may think that’s funny, but she has a praying eye out on all of us so as you get older don’t even try it! Your Jo Jo has connections. She also has that type of stern Jesus love!
    Jo Jo has been a true friend to us through the years about 30 to be exact.
    I remember playing cards with Jojo and Papa yes he always had the aces but that didn’t stop your Jo Jo, she knows how to read those clabber cards and a lot of times we would win. Well you must remember she had me as a partner, so I think the men won more than we did.
    I remember us (lots of us) going to the frog follies. (Your mom will explain) but we all would go no matter how hot or rainy it was. Cars so many cars! Not just any car either they were classic beautiful the best kind, just like your Jo Jo.
    This year will be different and the FF will never be the same. But I’m sure your papa has him the best classic car he’s always dreamed of driving it around right now.
    We pray for your Jo Jo everyday, and we are praying for extra grace on this special day, that she will have a blessed and Happy Birthday!
    You two and your Jo Jo have an amazing family, you are so blessed to be in it! We love you all to nothing and back. That’s what’s above heaven.
    Trina, a friend for ever.


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