Today is my Grandma’s 90th birthday.


It’s hard to believe because, well, 90 years…that’s really something.  But, it’s also hard to believe because my Grandma really doesn’t – in any way – seem like she’s 90.  In fact, on most days, I’m pretty sure she has more energy than I do.

She’s a remarkable woman.  She raised six boys who brought her six caring daughters-in-law, 15 grandchildren, and 9 (soon to be 10!) great grandchildren.  Her family is, by far, the most important thing to her.  That’s something that’s easy to take for granted when it’s been with you your whole life.  But, as I’ve gotten older, I realize what a true gift it is.

My Grandma’s given me countless gifts over the years, and there are so many things I’m thankful for.

Thanks, Grandma, for making me post-church spaghetti and meatballs every single Sunday of my childhood.

Thank you for all the times you’ve shared your incredible home-grown tomato (and zucchini, and green pepper, and lettuce, etc., etc.) bounty with me.

Thank you for teaching me so much about food but more about leveraging good food to care for a family and encourage togetherness.

Thank you for being so kind, patient, accepting, and open-minded.

Thank you for being you: someone who has a wildly endearing, self-deprecating sense of humor, someone who treats everyone the way she would want to be treated, someone with a contagiously positive outlook.

And, because it’s worth repeating, thank you for making your family your highest and most cherished priority.  We all feel it, and we’re all better people because of it.

Happy Birthday, Grandma.  I’m so happy I got to celebrate with you.

grandma birthday


  1. Awesome, C!

  2. What a beautiful tribute. I shed a happy tear reading your words. 🙂
    So glad you were able to join the celebration. There’s nothing like a grandma. <3

  3. Wow! What an amazing grandma you have there! And what an amazing life she has led… Although I knew there were 6 Santillo boys, it always makes me gasp to think of such craziness! She is the saint of all saints on that fact alone! Thank you for sharing her story and the memories… I simply cannot imagine living to be 90! And you’re so right – she does not look 90 at all! 🙂

    • Thanks, Kristen. We were 44 people strong at the party, believe it or not. It’s sort of hard to wrap my mind around creating a thriving family of that size. She’s an amazing lady!

  4. Happy Birthday to your Grandmother who I am so happy to know!!! She really is an amazing person and has a pretty fabulous family! I loved sharing the celebration on Saturday! Great seeing you and so happy to find your blog, I am loving it! 🙂

  5. Wow, C, that sure made me cry…and made me very happy all at the same time. Grandma really is one of a kind!

  6. What a beautiful read. Your Grandma is such an amazing woman and what a role model! It’s so special your whole big family could gather to celebrate such a milestone. Thank YOU for sharing a little piece of her with us.

    • Thanks, girl! She really is amazing, and I think it made her really happy to have us all together for the day.

Speak Your Mind