I grew up with my Grandma living with my family. Now, maybe that’s made me biased, but I’m pretty confident when I say that my grandma is cooler than yours.
My Grandma divorced my granddad when my mom was in college. I never really knew my granddad, but that was okay with me because Grandma filled my life with enough joy to take the place of any other grandparent. I never knew my dad’s parents, either. But Grandma filled those holes, too. She filled them with encouragement and laughter and strength and faith and all the good things a grandparent should be, and so I never wanted for grandparents. She was always enough.
One of my favorite things about my grandma – aside from her love of books which is our greatest bond – is her love of travel. Just about every summer after she retired, Grandma took an international trip all by herself. She has been all over the world multiple times, and she goes boldly all by herself. In fact, she and my mom just got back from almost a month in Italy! When each of her four grandchildren graduated from high school, we got to pick anywhere in the world we wanted to go and she took us. I went to Ireland for 10 days with her. I will never forget her, in her 70s at the time, crawling out on the ledge of a castle and kissing the Blarney Stone. She also took me to a pub and let me order my first beer. I have a terrible memory, but I remember just about every detail of that trip vividly, and I’m positive that’s because she made the trip so memorable.
I love my grandma for so many reasons, but at the top of that list would be her determination. Don’t tell that woman no. If she wants to do something, she is going to do it. She’ll tell you that she can’t make a decision to save her life (and that’s true…we all know it…), but for as long as she takes to make a choice, once she’s made it, she’s going to stick to it. If my grandma commits to something, she’s going to be there. If my grandma says she’ll do something, she’s going to do it. And if one of her grandchildren asks her to do something, she’s going to do it.
Which is why when my family was swimming in our pool this past weekend and Bean yelled out, “Grandma, jump in like me!” I started to worry. Because my grandma is not the kind to say no. She’ll try anything once. Even jumping into the swimming pool at 84-years old.
She stood there for a minute, thinking. Just staring at the water.