Sunday, February 12, 2012

things my grandma taught me

i began this post in january as celebration of my grandmother's 94th birthday and was originally titled "reasons my grandma is cooler than yours." i put off publishing it as i looked for the perfect image to add. i never found it. time got away from me and the post remained a draft. well, yesterday, i found out that my grandmother passed away and, while i still think she was pretty cool, it now seems i waited too long. in tribute to her amazing legacy i have restructured, retitled and rewritten this post to (i hope) reflect what an amazing woman she was.

things my grandma taught me:
and why my grandma is cooler than yours
  1. age is just a number. my grandma was active her entire life, and i do mean her ENTIRE life. she loved the outdoors and especially loved skiing. she taught her children how to ski, and then she taught her grandchildren to ski and then she taught her great-grandchildren to ski. well, some of them anyway. the years under your belt only mean you are getting more awesome, not less.
  2. food=love. whether it comes from a box, a bag, a can, or completely from scratch, if it is made, shared and eaten with love it will be delicious. and it was. grandma had some pretty fantastic recipes.
  3. family matters. grandma was proud of her heritage and relished the opportunity to talk about it. she was an active genealogist and displayed her family tree proudly. she also loved her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. i haven't the energy to count them all right now, but there are a lot of us. she kept in touch with everyone, was interested to know what was going on in our lives and to share in our triumphs.
  4. never stop learning. some of the most intellectual conversations i've ever had in my life i had with my grandmother. she knew lots of stuff about lots of stuff. she also loved learning new stuff. even at the age of 92 when she got a cell phone for the first time and was learning how to operate it.
  5. if there's something you want to do, do it. she actually told me that. twice. she also did lots of wonderful things in her life and she didn't wait around for permission from someone else. she was just awesome like that.
  6. a clean home is a happy home. i don't know how she did it with all of us running around, but grandma's house was always clean. always. she was a big believer in cleaning up right away instead of waiting for later and that doing the little things along the way save you from having to big big things later. things were always in their place and easy to find. even the toys. it was nothing less than miraculous with a house full of grandkids.
  7.  some things are better left unsaid. maybe i just didn't hear it, but i don't remember ever hearing grandma say anything unkind about anyone. that's pretty impressive if you ask me. being the opinionated, strong-willed woman that she was, i'm sure she thought it, but she didn't say it. not to me anyway.
  8.  circumstances do not determine destiny. grandma grew up on a potato farm in rexburg, idaho. her home did not have electricity until she was in high school. they didn't have a telephone right away either, and when they did get one, the line was shared with some of the neighbors. it is hard for me to picture since we always had both electricity and a telephone, but that's the truth of the matter. she didn't let that stop her though. she served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, became a member of the faculty at ricks college, lived in different parts of the country, helped her husband through medical school, raised 6 children, traveled and any number of other impressive things.
  9.  greet each day as a new opportunity. i don't think grandma ever slept in a day in her life. i'm pretty sure she thought i was nuts for sleeping in as often as possible. i used to think she just didn't get it. sleeping in is glorious! but now, i think maybe i'm the one who didn't really get it. grandma was more productive before i got out of bed than i sometimes am in an entire day. i'm not gonna stop sleeping in any time soon, but there is nothing wrong with productivity and there is certainly nothing wrong with greeting each new day bright eyed and bushy tailed.
  10. the church is true. no doubt about it. not as far as grandma was concerned. she loved the gospel and lived it everyday. it was not unusual to find her studying her scriptures, reading conference talks, listening to hymns or discussing any of these things. she was a wonderful example of faith and steadfastness and for that i am forever grateful.