G is for Grandmothers

9 Apr


My mother and I had a conversation recently about grandmothers.  My mom maintains her grandmothers are two of the greatest women to ever walk the earth, icons in the field of human beings, angels amongst mortals.

I feel the same way about my grandmothers.

Does everyone?

Grandmothers are unique in that by the time they are ours, we get the benefit of all their years of experience.  We get the wisdom and the calm that comes with age.  I didn’t know my Grandma Lynda at 25 or 18 or 14 or whenever when she was making her big, impulsive mistakes and showing off a big, impulsive attitude.  I’ve only known her as adult who appreciates life.  Who’s figured out what makes her happy.  Who loves to quilt and texts like a teenager and goes to Del Taco every single day.

Sometimes people ask me which parent I’m like and I don’t really know what to say.  From my mother I get my passionate feminism and my love of books.  My father passed on his never-ending need to be alone.  But honestly?  I’m probably the child they would say is most different.  The one that no one quite knows where I came from.

Whenever I get confused or wonder where I fit in, though, I remember my Grandma Lynda.

When I was about 10 years old I spent a few life-changing days with my grandma.  We went to the grocery store and read celebrity gossip together, my first real bout in the world of superficial news, and I remember thinking, “This is the best thing in the world, why don’t I do this every day?”  We got Egg McMuffins for breakfast and watched soaps in the afternoon and took a lot of naps and somewhere along the way I realized that this was me.

Those little things?  I loved them.

I love them still.  The McDonald’s.  The dramatic plot lines.  The celebrity make ups and break ups.

And when I remember this I breathe a little easier.  Because I know where I come from.  My grandmother showed me.

How much do personalities get handed down?

How much do they skip generations?

One day I will write the stories of the women in my family–the truth and the fiction, the good and the bad and all of the beautiful ugly.  I will write the stories of the women who never met me, but shaped the women who shaped me.

I’ll write about my great-grandma who snuck out of her house at 15 and eloped just because the guy had a great car.

I’ll write about my grandma who collects lovely things and lovely people.

I’ll write about my mother who went from tomboy to mother extraordinaire in a teenage whirlwind and never looked back.

I’ll write and write and write and write because these women’s stories deserve to be told.

The other day after I published my celebrity encounter blog post, I got a text from my Grandma Lynda, bringing all of these thoughts full circle.

Grandma: Just read your blog post.  Who was the celebrity? I’m dying to know.  What are your chances he will call?  He wanted your number?? I’m so impressed and excited and scared for you etc etc etc.  I have fun living my life through your eyes.  Haha?

Jill: Hahaha his name is —-.  He was on Mad Men.  Look him up, he’s cute.

Grandma: Ohhhhh my heck!  A little bit of Utah coming through.  —- is breathtaking.  Of course Google showed him shirtless.  I need to catch my breath.  Hope he calls??  Good for the soul to be noticed by a hunk.

And then I laughed.

Yes, whenever I wonder where I fit in, I only need to look at my grandma.

My 70-something grandma who needs to catch her breath after looking up the hunk I met the other day.

She’s where I should look.

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3 Responses to “G is for Grandmothers”

  1. Rachel G April 10, 2014 at 4:43 am #

    🙂 Wow–sounds like you’ve had some awesome grandmas. How blessed you are to have them in your life!

    • Rachel G April 10, 2014 at 4:43 am #

      (And the texting story is hilariously wonderful.

  2. Rosie Amber April 11, 2014 at 1:03 am #

    Lucky you, I only knew one of my Grandmas and she became ill when I was 7 or 8. My own children have two very different Grandma’s, one that is very busy but used to be there for us, still is if we need her, and the other who parents from afar.
    I’ve given your blog a shout out from my letter J today, keep blogging! http://rosieamber.wordpress.com/

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