Thankful 100 times over

Thankful 100 times over

Brian Smith
Contributing Writer


            A fairly well-known Mary H. Waldrip quote is “Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old.”

            If this is true, then Doris Schott has received more compensation than most of us ever will. Recently Doris welcomed another great-grandchild into the world, giving her a grand total of 110 grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.

            “One of my daughters looked at me recently and said ‘Look what you and dad started’ and I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah’,” laughed the mother of 15 of her own children.

            Schott is very proud of her children and all that they have blessed her with over the years. She admits, though, that she never really thought about being a grandmother when she got married and started her own family with her late husband, Lawrence.

            “I didn’t think I would ever be saying that I had 100 grandchildren. When my first grandchild was born, I didn’t really feel like a grandmother,” remembered Schott.

            At the time she was in her early 40s and was also pregnant with her last child, Tim. It wasn’t really until Tim began school that she started settling into the idea of being a grandparent. With all of her children attending school or grown up and out on their own, it began to sink in a little more.

            One would think that Schott would have ended up doing a lot of babysitting, as many grandmothers do, but that wasn’t the case for her.

            “I had some health problems for a while, and by the time I got over those I was getting a little older, so I wasn’t able to babysit as much as some grandmothers do,” remarked the rural Clermont resident.

            She and Lawrence, her late husband, did get to spend lots of quality time with the grandchildren early on. Lawrence loved to give the grandchildren rides on the buggy pulled by his donkey and show them his prized fox terriers he raised. Doris enjoyed taking the grandchildren along when fishing Volga Lake or the Turkey River, playing hide-and-go-seek with them, and having them help her gather eggs in the chicken house.

            As the number of grandchildren increased and her children’s families grew up and moved around, getting all of the grandkids together was by no means an easy proposition. The last time a large number of them were able to come together in one place at one time was for Doris’ 80th birthday in 2009. At that time 43 of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren got together to help her celebrate.

            “I don’t think we could fit them all in a picture now, unless we had a very wide-angled lens,” she chuckled.

              Getting all the grandchildren in a group shot only promises to become more complex, as there are currently three more on the way. One of those will be Doris’ fourth great-great-grandchild and is expected in January or February 2014. This newest arrival will actually be the 100th blood-related grandchild, as Doris does have a few adopted and step-grandchildren. They are all special to her, though.

            “I make greeting cards myself for them all on their birthdays, which has turned into a full-time job almost. I am actually a little behind on that right now, but sometimes I just say better late than never,” admitted Schott.

            Each grandchild gets a homemade card and a dollar from Doris on his or her birthday. She enjoys spending time at her desk at home making the cards with the envelopes, stamps, inkpads, and other materials, which she buys in bulk in order to keep up. It isn’t easy keeping all the names and dates straight, but somehow she manages.

            Doris recently celebrated her 84th birthday and received lots of phone calls, cards, and visits from friends and family. It is a somewhat bittersweet day for her, as it was also the date of her wedding anniversary. She and Lawrence were married for 56 years, and she wishes he were here to see all of the grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren with which the family has been blessed. Yet, she is grateful for what she has.

            “I have a wonderful family; I know that they would do anything for me, and I am thankful for that,” closed the appreciative grandmother.

With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching, there is no doubt that Doris has plenty to be thankful for in 2013, with even more reasons set to arrive in 2014.        

In the meantime, She may want to consider stocking up on those greeting card materials. If this trend continues, it seems she might be needing them.

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