I am lucky to have three grandmothers and one great-grandmother who shaped who I am as a person more than they may ever realize. I am especially lucky that, at the time of this article, I still have two surviving grandmothers who I continue to learn from. Each of these incredible women has taught me more about life than I ever hoped to learn in a classroom or book. The lessons shared here are just a small sampling of these.
When you can, eat dessert first.
While my great-grandmother always meant this literally, I always took this figuratively. This lesson reminds me that life is meant to be enjoyed not survived because, in the end, no one survives life. Enjoy the good moments and have fun as much as you can. Oh and have that cupcake before dinner, you know you want to.
True love is real, and it’s amazing.
My great-grandmother and her daughter (my grandmother) both met their spouses in high school, married them soon after, and stayed with them through their years serving in the military. They had several children and remained happily married. While not every high school relationship will last forever, their love - and their marriages - inspire me. I hope to mirror them in my future relationships.
Make habits that make you happy.
My step-father’s parents, or as I referred to them my bonus grandparents, ended each day with a five o’clock martini. Each week ended with a date night every Saturday. I strongly believe that this is what got them through the worst times and made the best of times.
Do what makes you feel beautiful, and you always will be.
While she may not realize it, my Nana has worn the same lipstick and blue eye shadow for as long as I have been alive. She has also had the same hair cut, and she is killing the game. As I get older I realize that I am also beginning to have a signature look and I finally understand her. My look makes me feel beautiful and so does hers. While time would try and have her change she has refused to let it diminish her beauty.
Learn to cook.
Every year my grandmother and I spend the Wednesday before Thanksgiving prepping everything, baking all the pies, and learning from one another. These are memories I will have forever, and these recipes will always be made. Cooking has always been our bonding activity no matter what we are making. It is not only a great way to learn all your family recipes but also to bring all the family stories to life. This is especially important if your family is part of a culture that you want to preserve.
This list could go on and on and will continue to expand as the years progress. Our elders have an abundance of lessons to teach us even if they don’t explicitly say them. So sit back and listen if you are lucky to have them in your life. Or look back and see how an elder may have affected you. You may be surprised to see how much they shaped who you are today.