Tuesday, June 12, 2012

what my 80 year old grandparents taught me

I have the best grandparents. Hands down. Don’t try to fight me because you will lose! ;)
No, but seriously.  I’m not very close to my dad’s parents (and that isn’t for a lack of trying) but I am very close to my mom’s parents. My grandpa is 87 (will be 88 in 8 days!) and my nanny is 82.
My grandpa is a WW2 Army veteran with an attitude. Truthfully, he sometimes scared the be-jeezus out of me as a kid but I knew he loved me. He was softer with my sister and me than he was with others. He hasn’t been doing so well – he has Alzheimer’s, dementia, and PTSD – so he is in a home. I try and visit him as much as I can but it’s hard to see this man -who used to be unstoppable, strong-willed, independent – become so frail. He’s still the man I grew up with and he is still the man I love very much.
My nanny is the bomb.com. I lived with her for 6 months when Vincent deployed and I got to know her as a person instead of a grandma… she became one of my best friends. She is my shopping buddy, voice of reason, and role-model. Moving back to NC when Vincent returned home and leaving her was one of the toughest things I have ever done. She is simply wonderful, with the kindest heart out there.
That being said…. I started to think of all the things they have taught me – whether they meant to or not -  and here is the list I have put together (this is a mixture of what they both taught me, in no particular order or reason).
 

Things I have learned from my 80-year-old grandparents:
· Always bring a jacket and wear shoes anytime you leave the house
· Never let your gas tank get too low – you never know when you may hit traffic or won’t be near a gas station
· Hold to door if someone is behind you – doesn’t matter what age or gender, it’s the Southern thing to do
· Know how to use your imagination – be crafty
· Never stop learning – take something apart to learn how it works, ask questions, read and do research
· Know how to whip up a meal even when you are running low on food or  need to go to the store
· Respect your elders – say please and thank you, no ma’am and yes sir.
· If a friend or family member asks you to do a favor, do it. Never know when you will need them to return the favor.
· It’s ok to get aggravated, but be careful who you “vent” too
· Always say grace before a meal
· Never lose your inner child
· Keep your “bad habits” away from kids (my grandpa never smoked around us)
· Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do – it’s part of life
· Cherish the memories
· It’s ok to do something special for yourself. It’s ok to be selfish sometimes
· Be a parent first, friend later
· It’s ok to leave the dirty dishes in the sink sometimes
· People can change. It may take weeks, months, or years… but people can change
· Don’t let anyone dull your shine
·  Treat senior adults like ADULTS. They have earned it and even with their health failing they do not deserve to be talked to like children.
· It’s ok to cry
·  Never forget the power of a good book
· Fashion fades, but style is eternal (yes.. that is a quote but my nanny is one hip 82-year old!)
· It’s never too late to do the things you wanted to do
· Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are less of a person. Don’t let anyone crush your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you you aren’t worth it.
· When you are feeling down or stressed -- pray and “get that devil off your shoulder”
·  Respect the USA and support our troops
·  Life isn’t easy and the roads will be rough but don’t let that make you a hard and bitter person
·  If someone is on your mind, reach out to them. God put them on your heart for a reason
·  Do not doubt God-engineered encounters
·  Jewelry is an investment
·  Hug. Often.
·  Say ‘I love you’. Often.
·  You don’t have to have the biggest and best of everything to be happy
·  Never underestimate the power of a kind word
·  Sharing a meal with others is the best way to bond
·  Dogs are more than animals, they are part of the family
·  Spoil the ones you love
·  Knowing how to load and shoot a gun, bait and throw a fishing line, and check your cars oil are all things girls should be taught
·  Never pay full price for anything. Use those coupons and wait for sales!
·  Make time for your friends
·  Go pee-pee before you leave the house
·  It’s ok to buy a ton of unhealthy snack food from gas stations on long road trips
·  Family is important
·  Even when someone you loves does something you don’t like, doesn’t mean you stop loving them (Nanny wasn’t too happy about my first tattoo... or second… or my nose ring..)
·  You don’t have to be blood to be family
·  Pay your respects – go to weddings, birthday parties, and funerals
·  It’s ok to move on
·  Change can be good
·  Don’t be bitter about the past. God has a plan.
·  Be careful naming children and pets (having a boy dog named Maddux that goes by Maddi can be super confusing… for everyone…)
·  Work hard
·  Knowing how to make a bomb mac-n-cheese and perfect sweet tea is important
·  It’s ok to not give a card with every gift
·  Have a good watch
·  Give back. Tithe at church, donate to charity, volunteer, buy someone a gift just because
·  Play outside
·  It’s ok if you make a mistake. Admit it. Move on.
·  Learning to “drive” on a golf cart makes the whole driving a car thing easier
·  It’s ok to make too much food
·  Sometimes things don’t go as planned – just roll with it
·  Wear comfortable shoes and clean underwear
·  Admit when you need help. Accept help when it is given
·  God can work miracles (after decades of trying, I finally got my grandpa to church. He didn’t have much of a choice being as he was in a wheel chair, but he came and he sang along)
·  Be spontaneous in old age
·  Be prepared. Know how to deal with a crisis and keep level-headed
·  It’s ok if you don’t think all babies are cute
·  If you get a tattoo, make sure it means something to you
·  Write things down. If you are going out, have an appointment, need to remember something – write it down!
·  Drink lots of water
·  Never underestimate the power of a good ole’ gospel song
·  Take the time to get to know people. Don’t let age, gender, or place in life deter you from getting to know someone.
·  Make sure grandparents are active in your child’s life
·  Turn your cell phone off at church… and at funerals
·  Take the time to listen & appreciate those around you
·  Don’t let people take advantage of you. Go with your gut. Ask questions and seek answers
·  Age is just a number
·  No matter how old you get, you never lose your sweet tooth
·  It's ok to go to the grocery store 3 times in one week
·  Even though others may think it's dumb, it's ok the buy a new car or house when you are in your 80s!
·  Live it up!
·  Don't let others opinions weigh you down
·  Walk.
·  It's ok to use salt and butter
·  Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. You were created by a perfect God. A God that knew exactly what He was doing when He made you. You are beautiful.
·  We each have a purpose
·  It's ok to not photograph everything. Being in the moment is important
·  Go to family reunions
·  Some call it hoarding, some call it memories ;)
·  Not everything you see on TV/internet is true
·  My faith can and will get me through anything. Doesn’t mean it will be easy.
· Pray. Hard and often.
· The only way to heaven is through our Lord, Jesus Christ

My heart swells with so much love when I think about my grandparents and how much I love them. I will always cherish their advice, listen to their stories, and appreciate their time. I thank God for putting them in my life and for the relationship I have with them.
What have your grandparents taught you!? I'd love to hear from y'all!

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