Grandlessons from my Grandma
Above is a picture of two notes I found in my first ever pair of work pants that she sewed up the hems on for me in high school. I remember tearing up as I thought, “Oh grandma, she probably put the tag of the pants in my pocket, she is always so thoughtful about those things," and then upon pulling out this note from one pocket and then discovering the other one, I cried. She read my heart, I was nervous until I found those notes. I’ve kept these particular notes all these years because I always felt they summed her up.
“I love you more.” “No. I love you more.” And then the interrupting series of “I love you, I love you, I love you. I love you!”
This was a common argument between my grandma and her loved ones. She would get so riled up upon saying good bye to us anytime we saw her or talked to her on the phone. She wanted to burst with her true love and affection from her exploding heart for us. She wanted us to know that she loved us more. More than we could imagine.
I think of the words from the Prayer of St. Francis,
“Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be loved as to love with all my soul.”
That’s what my grandma taught me most- how to seek to out-love others so that they could be loved more. What a beautiful legacy. What a gift to have a grandma like this!
“it is not enough to love. People have to FEEL that they are loved.”
Grandma knew this. And she knew the science and the intricate magic of how to make us feel loved so that we could never doubt our worth.
This whole week, as I’ve prepared to say a final good bye and blow a final kiss to my grandma, at least here on earth, I keep asking myself this question over and over again: How can I be like her? She loved more fiercely than most are willing to these days and in that she showed her abnormal strength. I know her blood runs in me and that I have yet untapped love. I need to practice that love. I need to grow in it. Lucky for me, my grandma is now in Heaven sending her love to help me to love more.
So, after reflecting on the gift my grandma is to me, I present...
My Grand-lessons from my Grandma:
- How to win at offering to pay for someone’s meal.
- How saying, “oh, dad.” can be a polite eye roll to husbands when girls are trying to have fun.
- To make sure to have a tea set so you can have tea parties with your friends and granddaughters.
- How to sew pillow cases and costumes and beanie babies.
- To save letters and to take pride in every card you receive.
- That late night, last minute, school craft projects are actually really fun with the right people.
- To always have fudge bars and popsicles on hand for a visitor.
- How to whistle.
- That neighbors matter. To take advantage of having them. And to NEVER lose touch.
- That Fridays will always be the best days.
- Always blow kisses even after your loved ones can’t see you anymore. They’ll still feel them.
- That sleepovers with grandma are most fun when you don’t tell dad how late you kept grandma up.
- That I apparently snuggle too much in my sleep.
- That you can’t get a good night’s sleep without “gramma crackers” and milk before bed.
- That sharing your real emotions with your grandkids and loved ones about how much they mean to you, even if it’s out of nowhere, in the laundry room, will always be the right answer and will not fall on deaf ears.
- That Braunschweiger is GOOD.
- That grandma’s can eat their grandkids’ gross apricots if it will keep them out of trouble with dad.
- How to spell hippopotamus.
- How to make earrings out of snapdragons.
- How to make the best Halloween costume ever! And that you’re NEVER too old to trick or treat at your grandkids’ houses.
- How to draw easy bunny rabbits and flying birds.
- That birthday cakes are important.
- That talking to strangers is the right thing to do because they are just friends you don’t know yet.
- How to make someone feel their worth so that they can’t doubt what they mean anymore.
- That I look GOOD in a pixie cut.
- That dealing bibs in my nursing home will make me cool but hoarding ice cream will get me in trouble.
- That Mario (Oreo) was worth the wait.
- To blow kisses even until people can’t see you anymore.
- How to make EVERYONE feel like they are your favorite.
- That remembering the past and sharing your memories inspires people.
- That saints walk among us.
- That being a night owl and a morning hater is okay even when your 90 year old peers don’t think so.
- That being a social butterfly is a part of my blood.
- That traditions with friends and family matter.
- That I should never take for granted the worth of small gestures, notes, cards, and kindness.
- If I want to be more like her that I need to be selfless and full of love.
- That she loves me more.