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A year ago, my Granny passed away. She was 90. I always joked with her that she would live to be one hundred. She would always laugh and say, ” oh gosh, I hope not! I don’t even know why I’m still here!” The older she got, the more ready she was to go, but I wasn’t ready for her to go. I still had so much more I wanted to learn from her.
From the time I was born to the day she left for an assisted living facility in another state, she was there. Less than a mile away, I could always count on her when I needed her. Not everyone can say they had a dedicated and loyal granny who’s fashion consisted of mostly pink and roses. But I did. And I was one of the luckiest girls in the world.
So I want to share some things about her and what she taught me. Because looking back, now that she’s gone, they may have seemed insignificant at the time. But now it’s all I think about whenever she comes to mind.
She taught me to hang up the phone: One time I was arguing with a boyfriend on the phone, who later obviously became an ex-boyfriend, and she had come over to give me a ride to school. When I got in the car, she whispered, “hang up the phone”. When I didn’t, she took the phone and hung it up for me. She told me that hanging up is better than saying things you don’t mean and that I could calm down and continue the conversation in person later. I’ve thought about that a lot in my relationships since then. If I’m going to have an argument, I should just hold on until I’m in my calm and rational mind, and I should do it in person.
She taught me that pink is an okay color: I am not the biggest fan of the color pink. In fact, when I found out that my first born child was a girl, I requested any color except pink. But Granny was the Pink Granny. She loved pink. Everything was pink, from her roses, to her nails. The majority of her sweaters and jewelry were shades of pink as well as her lipstick. Now that she’s gone, I find that pink is an enjoyable color. Mostly because it reminds me of her.
She taught me that I’m always a teacher, even if I’m not a teacher: Any time I had a complaint about the kids, she would reply, “well you should teach them”. You see, Granny was a kindergarten teacher. She was big on us reading and learning even when we were playing. She thought I’d make a great teacher. But even if I didn’t become a teacher, I was still a teacher to my kids. And to teach through example. “oh they’re just being kids,” she’d tell me. “just show them love.”
She taught me tradition: Every valentines day, up until the last two before she died, she would send a card in the mail. It was a simple gesture. But it was one I absolutely loved. She also sent a birthday card with a ten dollar bill in it, with the words, I love you, granny, across the bottom. Never mind that she lived less than a mile from me and I visited her all the time. She never said anything about it. She loved to see our faces when we talked about getting mail in our mailbox. It was nice to be remembered and to get a little mail. A great tradition that I loved and plan on doing the same with my grand kids.
She taught me to serve others: Granny was always doing something for someone. I’ve heard so many stories from people of how she was there helping them through a crisis, a problem, a situation, bringing a meal, or just being a good listener. Any time I needed a ride to school or work, she’d say “I’ll be right there” and head straight over. Even when she couldn’t drive anymore, she wanted to help. “What can I do to help?” she would say. “I can’t drive or I’d come watch your kids for you.” In her last year, we would visit her and the kids would ask her for a cookie or a drink. She was very slow at getting up. I would tell her not to bother and that I could do it. But she insisted. It was her way of still helping someone by doing something for them.
She taught me that I shouldn’t lie: One time, when I was fairly young, my friends and I rode our bikes to her house because we knew she had gum. It was only a mile, but it was a big deal because we had to ride on two major busy streets. Needless to say, she was very surprised to see us at her door. She gave us all gum and told us to go home. When we got home, my mom was mad as a hornet, asking where we’d been. I remember coming up with some kind of lie, but we were just trying to figure out how mom knew about our trip. It didn’t occur to us that granny knew how to use a phone and would actually tattle on us.
She taught me that anything you do should be done with a happy heart: I don’t think I ever heard a negative thing out of my Granny’s mouth. She never complained about what needed to be done. She would just do it. Even if there was some kind of family drama, she’s never expand on her real thoughts. She would just say, “It is what it is”. Anything I would try, she would encourage. She loved my photography (even the crappy ones that weren’t worth compliments), my kids pictures and creations, every knickknack that was given to her. She kept it. It was kept with love and care because it was something given to or made for her out of love. I hope that when I’m old my heart will hold that much love for everyone.
Granny loved plain m&m’s. She loved to make me pbj sandwiches on English muffins, with milk. If she asked you for chicken for dinner, she really meant deviled eggs. Her best dish was yellow jello and it had to be made with the wire whisk from Sweden. She thought Michael Crawford had a sexy voice. Even though she was old, she told me that in her mind, she still thought like a young person, but her body didn’t move like one. Levi’s smile was the most fantastic smile and she loved seeing it every day. Her family was extremely important to her. I’m not really sure how I’m supposed to live without her, but I am. One of the best things is sometimes when I’m sitting quietly, or driving, or reading, I can feel her there with me, still telling me things, still encouraging me. When the kids are driving me up the wall and I can’t call her, I think about her and I feel warm strength around me, and I’ll hear her tell me, “It’s okay, they’re just being kids. Just show them love.”
I will Granny. I miss you. So so much.