A feature article by Sarina Peddy, elementary teacher*
Now that I am at the age where I make the time to appreciate my cherished memories, I revel in thinking about why my grandmother was and is still so very important to me. At the milestone age of 25, I have watched myself grow daily, weekly ,yearly, and I have always felt proud of who I am (even though I may not have always liked what I saw in the mirror…but that’s beside the point). Yes, my mother has raised me to be the driven young adult I am today, but now that I think about it; I would never be the person I am today without my grandmother.
Unlike most children who grow up in large families filled with great aunts and 2 sets of grandparents, I was born into a quaint little family with just one grandmother. My other grandparents (who never go forgotten in our family) had passed away years before I was born. Having never really noticed that it was different to just have one grandmother, I now realize how much more of an important role she played in my life. With my mother being my grandmother’s daughter, I automatically had an unbreakable bond that was built for me. As my childhood passed, the attention from my grandma (a.k.a. Gram) only seemed to heighten.
When we would visit my Gram in Florida, I saw how dolled up and beautified my mother would get before meeting up with her. It’s not that she felt that she needed to be a certain way, but it was that she knew her mother would appreciate the effort put in. I now finally understand that! That is why I put that exact effort in when I see her as well. Taking time to care for oneself, is about self-esteem and self-respect; values in life that are ever so important.
I won’t lie and say that I have never had issues or hard times with my grandmother, but I will say that she has done nothing but teach me how to be a better person. My Gram had quite a career as a nurse in Cosmetic Surgery; so you can imagine how she always looked perfect. Yes—the perfectly pressed hair. Yes—the skin of porcelain still at the age of 90! (She swears by sunscreen!) Yes—the closet that any woman would dream of. And yes—the retired businessman husband to escort her to Sunday brunch. There’s been a lot to live up to. I have felt for my mother at times ,knowing her marriage was not approved by my grandmother, or her career choice didn’t seem fitting enough for my Gram. Though there may have been bumps in our path, the way three generations of women bonded is like none other. We always have each other’s back, no matter the circumstance.
You can catch my Gram, mom and I all ordering the same salad at lunch (with a side of fries of course). Or you can find us all loving the same nude handbag at the mall (Gram gets it first, mom next, then me!) You can look at baby photos of my mother and I and be blown away by the resemblance. Or best of all, no matter what, you will always catch one of us saying “ hmm?, what?, did you say something?”. Still not quite sure if it’s a bad hearing, or if we all just like to ignore (some) people!
I am really blessed to have the opportunity to have just one grandmother. I know that I don’t have to share that grandparent love with anyone else. She is my grandmother and I am her granddaughter. What I love most about our relationship is that at times I can see her trying to parent me, the way she might have wanted to parent my mother but didn’t have the chance. And I am okay with that. I am appreciative of the dedication that my grandmother has made to my life. She has helped our family flourish into which we are today. If there was only a way to keep her around forever, right!?
The greatest lesson I have ever learned is to stay in touch. MAKE the time to call or email or write the ones you love. Time is so precious- make it count!
*Sarina Peddy is an Elementary School teacher who lives in both Brooklyn and Bridgehampton, New York. She is a guest writer for grandparentslink.com Sarina is an advocate for her students, encouraging family relationships and the important role of communication in the family. You can read more articles from Sarina on Grandparentslink.com.