Today is a very important day. Today is the birthday of my role model and my favorite guardian angel. Today my family celebrates the wonderful life of Grandma B, and so it is only appropriate that I do the same here.
Even though I’ve been blessed with a very special relationship with all my grandparents, particularly my two grandmothers, I always felt a special bond between me and Grandma B. We were kindred spirits in a way, and I looked forward to the times when I was able to spend the night at her house, sleep in, and ease into the day with some honey nut cheerios, a crossword puzzle, and a good musical on TV. It’s been 9 years since Grandma has been alive for her birthday, but the impact of our relationship influences my choices and actions on a daily basis.
When I was 13, Grandma was diagnosed with lung cancer and I had to come to terms with the fact that she wouldn’t be around forever. I decided to write her something that would try to explain how much she meant to me, and what came out was basically a 13-year-old version of a post that I would put on this blog. Because of this, I’ve decided to post that letter here, since the feelings and sentiments I was able to express back then have not changed, even if my writing has hopefully improved a bit.
I love you, Grandma. You still are, and will always be, my “best friend.”
Have you ever seen a mother-daughter relation ship on TV where they seem like best friends? This is VERY hard to find in real life. Even rarer is a relationship like that between a grandmother and her granddaughter. I am lucky to be one of these rarities.
Ever since I was a little girl I remember always having fun with my grandma. One of my favorite parts of visiting her was when she would put make up on me. She even had a little song she would sing while she was putting on my blush, and to this day I automatically hum it. I always felt very lucky to have Grandma B as my grandma. Countless times she gave up what she was doing to crawl down to the floor to play. She used to make the long drive to Pittsburgh worth it.
One of my favorite memories of my Grandma occurred when I was about 4 and she had joined us at the beach. We were staying in a house that had a little deck out back. On this deck was a round glass table. I was sitting at this table waiting for Grandma, who was making me one of my favorite lunches, pb&j with a side of grapes. For some reason, no one thought to check whether or not there actually was glass on the table, everyone just assumed it was there. Grandma came out and placed my plate on what would have been the middle of the table, if the glass was actually there. Just the sight of my grapes rolling around made both of us laugh hysterically. Even to this day any mention of that story makes me crack up.
As I got older, it became clear that Grandma and I had almost matching personalities. We both loved musicals. We’re both introverts, and we both understand the need of some quality alone time. One of my favorite vacations was the time when I spent a week alone with her. We had so much fun watching old musicals and eating her yummy roast beef. We also always enjoyed a good laugh, even at our own expense.
One time, when I was about 8 or 9 my family and I were staying at Grandma’s house for Christmas. This house had a very weird front yard, if you could even call it that. It was basically just a sloping hill in the front of the house. This is why she had a mailbox on her porch. Normally, whoever delivered the paper would make sure it wasn’t too hard to obtain. One day, however, it ended up right in the middle of the hill. The night before it had just snowed, so the hill was even more slippery. Still, even this didn’t discourage her from going after her crossword puzzle. I found this rather amusing so I went out onto the porch to watch. At first everything went smoothly. Grandma slowly inched her way down the hill getting closer and closer to the paper. All of sudden she slipped on a patch of ice and began to tumble down the remainder of the hill. Looking on, I wasn’t sure whether to make sure she was ok or burst out laughing. I ended up picking the latter, I just couldn’t help it. Luckily she was fine and ended up getting her newspaper.
One thing that differs from our personalities is that she’s much kinder then I am. She always seems to be doing something for someone else and she hardly asks for anything. I’ve always admired this about her and striven to model myself in her image. Sometimes, I even use her as an example. Saying to myself, “What would Grandma do in this situation?” always helps me step back and see all sides of an argument. Another way we differ is her love of kids. She was always the first one on the ground to play with me and my cousins. Everyone loved visiting her house because she still treated us like “the baby” even if there was a younger, cuter relative. Even nowadays, she gamely participates in intense games of Trivial Pursuit.
I always love spending time with my grandmother because it just feels like she’s the only one who can truly relate to me. It always seemed like she’s more than just a grandma to me. She’s my role model, my safety net, my movie buddy. She’s my best friend.