My grandmother was not a saint by any means. While she was alive, my sister would tell a story about my grandmother chasing her around the house with a butter knife because she had gotten mouthy with her. As many people raised during her time, she was not the most open-minded person, and she said some things that would sometimes make us wince and pretend we didn’t hear it. We joked at times that my grandfather would turn off his hearing aid so he wouldn’t have to listen to her, but there may have actually been some truth to that. Yet every birthday she called me first thing in the morning with the most annoying “singing” birthday candle, and she’d see along to it and wish me happy birthday.
When I was in grade school, I’d take the bus to her house every day after school where she’d make me do my homework before I was allowed to have ice cream with chocolate syrup on it (and even then I was only ever allowed one scoop). She would make me practice my times tables over and over again until they were perfect. Just the other day at work I had to think about what 9×8 was and felt slightly ashamed. If I brought home lower than an A on a test I was asked what I could have done better. When I graduated college summa cum laude, she wasn’t there to see it but I knew so much of it was her doing. And when I accepted my first job, I wished that I could have called and thanked her.
Each time I would come home from college to visit her, she would hand me $100 and tell me to do something for myself, but spend it wisely. And when my mother tried to stop me from studying abroad, we had one of the hardest conversations I’ve had to this day. She told me that she wanted to me to go, and that she wanted me to be able to go out and explore the world because she had never had the chance to do so. She was never well off she said, but she knew that someday I’d be able to do all the things I wanted. She told me that sometimes life isn’t fair and we cannot have everything we want at that moment, but it will come to us eventually. At the time I thought she was just being depressing, but that conversation has stayed with me to this day whenever I come across something that brings me down.
No matter the events that happened between our families, my grandmother loved me. She loved me with patience, tough love, and honesty that I’ve never had from anyone else. She was my rock when I was younger, and still somewhere keeping me grounded to this day.
I’d be lying if I said that the fact that she passed this week five years ago had nothing to do with this month’s part of my happiness project being to do the things that make me happy, not the things I feel like I should be doing. For so long I’ve had this vision of who I should be, instead of who I am. Yet no matter who I was or who I wanted to be, she still loved me. I want to say that I have that same undying love for myself, that no circumstance can break.
She was quite the lady, and I can only hope that I can keep her love and spunk alive in myself.