They say, “The older, the wiser.” I spent a week putting it to the test.
Happy 82nd birthday to my grandma! I have written about her on FromBrownEyes before here, but as it was her birthday yesterday (and funny enough my dad’s as well!), I wanted to talk about her again.
With my parents remodeling more of our house (my wallpapering created a monster), we were asked to move out for a few days. Instead of staying at a hotel with my parents, I took the opportunity to spend the week with Maria Magdalena Angeles del Bosque Kimbell Ruiz, known to her friends as Gelus and to me as Grandmama.
After flying in from a week in Portland for my MBA interview, I rushed home to unpack one suitcase and repack another (I am getting really good at packing for trips quickly). As the team was already working on refinishing our hard-wood floors, I grabbed my bag, cat, and a quick lunch and went on my way to Grandmama’s. Clea, did not enjoy the car ride.
Lessons From Grandmama:
- Change isn’t always best. Both my mom’s parents and my dad’s parents live in the same house that they were raised in. There is something so special about being able to sleep in the same bed as my mother and play in exactly the same place as my father. I am fortunate that, in someways, my grandmother is resistant to change, because it guarantees her house will always look and smell the same.This also means that some other things don’t get updated with the times, like this quintessentially grandma bathroom setup, which I must admit I love.Although my Grandmama now lives in a 4-bedroom house alone (my grandfather is in a Senior Living Facility with Dementia), she loves her house and does not want to leave. I can’t blame her. It is a great house filled with the memories of her four children, seven grandchildren, and countless friends.
- Be Energetic. My grandmother is the energizer bunny. Neither age nor size (she capped out at 4’10”) will slow her down. She is up at 4AM and typically doesn’t sit still until 9PM. Her motto is “If I can, I’ll do it now.” While I was visiting, Grandmama commissioned me to help with a few projects around the house. We took down some old curtains (this ‘simple’ tasked ended up requiring three adult women and an unsuccessful hunt through a shed for an electric drill) and we packed up my car with hand-carved dinning chairs from Mexico to have some loose legs tightened. We also made lots of paninis, her favorite sandwich. I put her motto to the test when she said that she wanted to take me on a summer cruise. Once established that she wanted to go to Europe for two-weeks, I set out to book it. Within two-hours of starting my research, I had booked us two seats on a flight to London and a suite on the Emerald Princess. We set sail in June. How is that for “if you can, do it now,” grandma?
- Have patience. Despite her spunk and spit-fire nature, my grandmother does move at a difference pace than myself. Whether it is hearing a story twice over or matching my stride to her’s, I found myself digging deep for an extra boost of patience. The true test of this was teaching her Facebook. With a little time – OK, more than just a little – and a few shortcut links, we had her profile up and running smoothly. Luckily, I love my grandmother as much as I love yoga, and all of those hours spent practicing deep breaths came in handy.
- Stop and smell the roses. With my grandmother, everything is a life lesson. In many ways though, this method of thinking is completely in line with my own. My week with her became a week of disconnect. A week to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and an ice cream cone. A week to put my phone to rest for the majority of the day. A week to see all that life had to offer, which I was disappointed to learn was a dead baby bird.
- Love is a feeling, not a memory. This is easily my favorite lesson from my week with Grandmama. During my four days with her, we visited my grandfather Tata twice. For years now he has not known who I am, and for much of that time he has forgotten my grandmother as well. But he has never forgotten that he loves her. Without fail, Tata lights up at the presence of my grandmother. The smile on his face and the glint in his eye is enough to bring a tear to mine always. Love is not a decision and love is not a choice. Love is pure, like an instinct or reflex, it is a feeling that you cannot deny. And love, I have learned, transcends memory.
I also learned that you can make anything into a taco, which my grandmother exemplified by stuffing a corn tortilla with nothing more than scrambled eggs.
I hope you enjoyed this semi-sarcastic post. Grandmama really is the best and I am glad that she and I have the type of relationship where we can poke-fun at our quirks. For reference, she loves most pointing out my horrible sense of direction (“Tess, I don’t live on this street…”) and my lack of skills in the kitchen (“What do you mean you put the bread in the mircowave for two minutes, darling?”).
Happy 82nd, Grandmama, I love you.
What lessons has your grandmother taught you? Let us know below.