Monday, July 5

Things I've Learned From My Grandma

My Grandma has been on my mind a lot lately. She's always been my role model of what a strong woman should be, having made a successful life for herself with nothing more than a 3rd grade education, a lot of determination, and good old-fashioned hard work.

Born in 'nineteen and twenty three' (the way she says it) - in Morehead City, NC, we used to have a joke in our family that Grandma would outlive us all, with the way she never seemed to tire, and could run circles around people half her age (including her younger boyfriend.) But she's slowed down quite a bit in the last few years, and it's difficult to see. She turned 87 this year.

So today I want to just list a few things I've learned from her, and maybe you can share something you learned from your amazing Grandma, too.

1. You're never too old to don a teeny bikini.
About 15 years ago, Grandma went on a diet and lost some extra pounds that she'd picked up from eating her delicious Magic Cookie Bars and Baked Ziti. Excited with her new figure, she said she wanted to get herself a bathing suit, so just for fun, I brought over a couple that had been collecting dust in my dresser since pre-pregnancy days. She chose the teeniest, hot pink bikini with silver accents, went back into her bedroom, then emerged in all her 72 year old glory wearing nothing but that swimsuit and white ankle socks!

2. You can be tough on the inside and yet soft on the outside.
Grandma lived through the Depression, came from a family of 9 children with very little money, lost her first husband when my Mom was only 2 years old, and drove a school bus for 23 years; so she's no shrinking violet, but despite how strong and hard-working she is, she's always taken the time for hugs, kisses, baking cookies, or just having a talk.

Here's a photo of my Mom and my Grandma:

3. Don't leave the house without at least a little lipstick. (OK, I prefer lip gloss, but you know what I mean.)
Her favorite color is pink. That should pretty much explain it.

4. A smile makes wrinkles disappear.
Seriously, my Grandma has the prettiest blue eyes I've ever seen, and when she smiles, they light up and the lines fade away into the background.

Here's a picture of her and my son taken last summer:

Tell me something about your awesome Grandma! ♥


Adrienne said...

I never got the pleasure of knowing the more awesome grandma (my father's mother) and my mother ceased her relationship with hers shortly before she passed. Even though my relationship with my maternal grandmother was minimal, she did love me and my brothers and that's what a granddaughter really needs. I hear great stories about my paternal grandmother and how I am pretty much like her. She was very discerning (in a good way) of character. Great post!

Karen Mortensen said...

Your grandma sounds awesome. What a lady. I am glad she has been a good support for you. My grandmother was something else. Go to my blog-mortensen moments- and look in Sept. There is a post about her there.

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

Your grandma is beautiful! I love her spirit and it's clear your family does too.

My grandmothers have both passed on, but I have a step-grandmother who can be like that -- tough as nails but also very sweet!

Angela said...

When I was in high school, my maternal grandma passed away from cancer at a very young age (she was in her fifties!). I did learn from her to love with all I've got!

I still have my great grandma around, and I think I've inherited my talent for baking from her. :)

Pamela Bousquet said...

Oh, Michele...
thanks for the chuckles! :D

My grandmother (my mom's mother) was only a couple months shy of her 97th birthday when she passed....though her vision and hearing were fading, she was as "sharp as a tack." Nothing escaped her notice, and she was a REAL southern (Georgia!) lady. I was extremely fortunate that I had both sets of grandparents and two great-grandmas living until I was about the age of 25 (and I knew them all well)... then they slowly started to pass, with my maternal grandmother (mentioned above) being the last to go. Tho' I loved them all dearly, she definitely had the largest impact on my life, and I like to think I share some of her zest for life!!!

MOMSWEB said...

My grandmother passed a few years ago and I still think about her often. Her quiet strength still brings me comfort. Her belief and trust in God is what I admired the most.

Julie said...

I love your grandma. She is like my grandma but 6 years younger. Just last Friday grandma was in the garden down over the hill, over the road back behind the barn, picking weeds. I took the kids over to visit and we "helped" her a little bit and you know what she offered, to come here to my house and help me weed my garden. She's 93 years old and she's offering to help me take care of my garden. WOW!!! I love my grandma to death and we are told we are two peas in a pod. I love that.
Thank you for sharing your grandma.
Take care and God Bless!!!
P.S. Thank you for stopping by today.

Holly said...

AWESOME GRANDMA!! I MISS my grandmas!! *sigh*

~*~Eneida~*~ said...

This post is AWESOME! I totally love how you described her and love just ooozed out of your words. How beautiful is she??? I love that she can don a bikini...that is TRUE INSPIRATION!

Glad to be your newest follower!!

Kimberly said...

I see so much of you and your Mother in the top picture of your Grandmother! I definitely learned a lot through life from my Grandmother, but what I'm learning now, taking care of her, is PATIENCE and CONTROL!! It is difficult when your Grandmother becomes the child, but I never stop learning from her! You already know what an amazing and awesome Grandma I have, so I don't have to tell you, but one thing that always stands out about BOTH of my Grandparents was how accepting of anyone and everyone they always were, even when they had their own opinions, they never showed anything but love, kindness and welcoming to everyone!

Angie said...

You're grandma sounds so cool, and a cougar, too! Go Grandma! I also totally agree with her on #3!

My grandmother also taught me strength, she saved enough money during the depression to buy a house...and wisdom, usually in the form of an old saying like...know when to have sense enough to keep your mouth shut...ummm...not sure that one "took"!

I lost her when I was 20, and I've never gotten over it.

My fave expression of hers...She would lecture me and I would be rolling my eyes (in my teens) She'd say, "I see you over there rolling your eyes like a dying calf in a hail storm"! Miss her...

Michele Chastain said...

I love these Grandma stories! ♥ Thanks so much for sharing!

Kimberly, I know your Grandma is awesome...I wish it didn't end up the way it did, but I'm glad she has you and the rest of her family to be with her now. Remember how your Grandpa always called me "Michael" ? LOL He was so funny. When I was about 7, he caught me picking my nose and from then on, he'd see me and say, "What do you say, Michael...don't pick your nose and wipe it on your clothes!" Of course, this mortified me by the time I was 13ish. Hahaha!

jenny_o said...

You look like your Grandma - and so does your son.

I never knew my maternal Grandma, but my father's mother was quiet and gentle, a lot like my Dad.

Your Grandma sounds wonderful.

Leanne said...

Oh, Michele - I love this post. That photo of your grandma at the top of this post really resembles photos of you. So lovely! My grandma was a really special lady, and it warms my heart to be thinking of her now. My favorite memories of her are when we would play Yahtzee or Kings in the Corner together. She always made me laugh. She was a stylish lady who kept a calendar strickly for writing down what clothing she wore that day (so as to never repeat an outfit in the same month). She passed away in 2001 at the young age of 88 - just put her head down and drifted off while in her own home, watching TV. What a way to go. God bless her, and your grandma, too! Thanks for the memories!

Kimberly said...

Michele, my Grandfather was such a trip! We all hear his echoes in the house... still. LOL... I am looking at a picture of him now, he is telling me to tell you "don't wipe that on your clothes!!"