My grandmother used to talk to herself all the time. Sitting in the living room listening to her wash dishes was like being treated to a one woman play. Mommom would talk about the birds outside the window. The condition of the tomatoes in the garden out back. The effectiveness of the dish soap she was using. Sometimes she addressed the dog, but Czar’s presence wasn’t required for Mommom to let her inner monologue out.
Pappap cracked jokes when the conversation got tense. He was the family peacemaker; if someone started to feel like they were being picked on, he’d make himself the butt of jokes to take the pressure off.
Mommom had a mouth like a sailor. She used curse words to show love. And anger. Annoyance. Surprise. The point is that she cursed. A lot.
No matter what the reason for a visit, Pap felt like every visit required food. Pizza, cake, ice cream, hamburgers… When family came over, comfort food was pulled out.
Mommom was jealous when my sister and I got tattoos. She was in her 70s and, in her words, “too old” to get a tattoo – but she had always wanted one.
Pappap bought me my first pair of high heels. They were lace up, black, high heeled boots – and I was probably about 8.
Why the trip down memory lane?
This Saturday would have been my grandparent’s 66th wedding anniversary, were they still alive today. Tuesday would have been Pappap’s 90th birthday. I miss them, but I’m grateful for their legacy. I’m grateful for my uncles and aunts, my cousins, and newest generation that they never got a chance to meet. A friend reminded me today that I’m blessed to have this great family. I am. And that’s because of my grandparents.
It’s in what we leave behind
I want to believe in an afterlife. I want to believe – and often fantasize – that I’ll have a chance to talk to my grandparents again some day. I want to know that they are somewhere. I want to believe they are proud of who I am right now. I don’t, in my analytical mind, believe that is true. And for the most part, I don’t feel like it matters. When we die, it’s not about where we go – it’s about what we leave behind.
I believe that I carry my grandparents with me every single day. I talk to myself all the time. When conversations get tense, I make jokes or turn it around on myself to divert the negativity. I swear all the time. To show love. Anger. Annoyance. Surprise. The point is, I swear a lot. I use food for comfort and associate it with family. I never want to be “too old” to do something I love, and I bought my niece her first pair of high heels. The good and the bad – who I am is, in large part, due to who they were.
For me, that’s enough.
4 thoughts on “I am my grandparents’ legacy.”
Wonderful post and to me this perfectly encapsulates the humanist philosophy.
Thank you! That is high praise. I’m really glad you enjoyed it.
I love this reflection and tribute to your grandparents. Stacey and I talk often about how we hope to have the same kind of marriage that was demonstrated to us by our most influential set of grandparents. I just hope at the end of my life I can look back and be proud of what I’ve done with my kids and grandkids to influence the way they treat others.
You have some wonderful grandparents to look to, as well. (I don’t know Stacey’s family, but if his is anything like yours, you have a lot of great examples.)
I most often think about how much I’m like Mommom Burd, because she’s still alive and still a very active part of my life. (And because I really AM quite a bit like her.) But there are moments when I can almost hear Mommom Amond’s voice coming out of my mouth. I quack when I’m stressed. (Heh. That’s a funny sentence.) For better and worse, we are a reflection of who we come from – and I can only hope that I reflect them well, and that my nieces will reflect the best parts of me.