This past Saturday was my grandmother’s birthday! In celebrating, I got to thinking of all the things I’ve learned from her over the years. What better way to commemorate these than to share with you? On that note, here are seven lessons from my grandmother.
I’ve since talked about lessons from my grandfather, too!
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Walks make every day a little bit better.
When I was little (well, littler…I’m still pretty tiny!), I lived with my grandparents, and I spent countless hours with them beyond that. One of our favourite pastimes was simply taking a walk. Even now, Nan doesn’t feel like she’s at her best when she hasn’t taken a walk that day. As an adult, I prefer to walk rather than drive, take public transport, etc., largely because of these positive experiences as a child. During the past school year, I walked a mile both ways to work each day. My classmates thought I was crazy, but I loved it! Now I’ll be living at that distance from campus and can’t wait.
The best way to a heart is through the stomach.
My grandfather is one of the pickiest eaters I know, yet he still has at least a dozen meals that he’ll eat gleefully every time Nanny makes them. There are countless recipes of hers that stick out in my mind, accompanied by some of my happiest memories. From cookies and cakes to pasta and hearty mains, she has a recipe to please everyone.
She has folders full of magazine and newspaper clippings featuring recipes she’d love to try–her very own offline Pinterest board! Sometimes she’ll find one that’s either accidentally vegan or that she’s confident I can make my own and make me a copy. I’ve found some of my favourite recipes this way!
The reality of beauty.
Growing up, one of my favourite things to do was play with Nanny’s hair. It was long and beautiful and one of the softest things I’ve touched, even now. She’d smile and tell me and my sister about how her mom’s hair was the same. Several years ago, she beat breast cancer, and in the process, she lost most of her hair. She hates it, but it’s taught me a tremendous lesson: even the most beautiful features aren’t as beautiful as those who have them. She’s just as gorgeous without her long hair, and the strength she showed through it all makes her even more beautiful, in my opinion.
There is nothing better than a hand-written letter.
When I first went away to college, I was insistent that I’d write letters to those who were willing. Plenty of friends rolled their eyes and sent me a Facebook message, but a few special people let me live out my hopelessly romantic dream. One of these? Nanny and Pop! Even when they insist they have nothing to write about, they’ll drop me a line. Without fail, it puts a smile on my face.
Some friends last a lifetime.
For as long as I can remember, Nan has kept in touch with her friend Marlene. Whether it be a birthday card or a quick note to catch up, I’ve always been impressed by the longevity of their friendship. When I fight with a friend at college or lose touch with someone from high school, I think of Nanny and Marlene—not every friendship will last forever, but those that do are worth it.
Books are bloody brilliant.
As an English major, it’s no surprise that I love books. From a young age, I got a huge part of that love from Nanny. She introduced me to This Rough Magic*, her all-time favourite, and James Patterson’s complete works. Coupled with a favourite murder mystery (The Artful Detective is our most recent go-to), she and I must have spent thousands of hours discussing books over the years. One of our favourite things to do is visit the local used book sales—I can’t recommend it highly enough! You never know what new favourite may be waiting, and at as low as a quarter in some cases!
Now, stories are a factor here too, and no one said they have to be written down to count. Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours listening to stories from Nanny’s life. Whether we’re talking about the layout of a house she lived in as a child or a job she had long before I was born, it’s bound to be entertaining. While I’m currently working with Pop on a biography, I’d love to sit down and write some of Nanny’s stories out with her, too.
Happy Birthday, Nanny!
We hope you enjoyed these lessons from my grandmother!