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This photo hangs in my home as a reminder of everything I want to be in life.

Two years ago, I asked my grandma how she would describe her childhood. We were in the car on the way back to my parents’ house after our extended family Christmas celebration.

Grandma thought for a second and then said, “It was happy.”

She posed the same question to me.

Without hesitation, my word was, “playful.”

I grew up with half a dozen cousins around my age in the same town as me. Until I was 7, my family’s house was walkable to 6 of my cousins’ houses. We all went to the same elementary school. Plus, I had a brother and sister in my house. We were always playing together.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized the reason my childhood was so playful points right back to Grandma. Who was the one who always instigated going sledding, ice-skating, swimming, or playing a board game? Grandma!

I was about 10 when my grandparents bought a house on a lake with a huge backyard. They called it their retirement house, but let’s get real. It was their playground. Why else was the shed filled with sleds, water guns, and watercraft — by this I mean inner tubes and air mattresses?

Tonight I called my grandma on the way to the gym — because if I want to be as spry as her when I’m 89, I need to train for it — and wasn’t the least bit surprised when she started recounting to me her epic sledding experience from 18 years ago. She got all the way down the hill and onto the (frozen over) lake.

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