Chutzie, I'm so sorry but I have to cheat on this one. I hope you can forgive me!
I can't possibly pick one person here because there are two very important people who had the biggest influence on my life and who I am today-my grandparents, Joe and Marion Graham. I had a horribly difficult childhood filled with a lot of abandonment, abuse, and neglect because of this, I was a pretty quiet, shy, insecure, anxious, lonely child. My world was books and music and my imagination because the people around me were either being abusive to me, or forgetting I even existed.
Except for my (maternal) grandparents. They were already in their 60's and retired when I was born, so they had slowed down a bit and weren't exciting or outrageously fun, but they were the kindnest, gentlest, most loving people I have ever known. My grandfather never talked much, and I never once heard him say "I love you" to anyone (including me), but he was so gentle and thoughtful-he never yelled, never said mean things, was never unpredictable. If he was upset with you, he would stand up and leave the room until he calmed down. He was not overly demonstrative by any means, yet every year for my birthday, he would take me and my grandma to the Ice Capades and then out to McDonald's for mint shakes. Also, when I was a teenager and had moved away from their hometown, once a month, he would drive the 5 hours to my house and come pick up me and a friend of my choice, then drive us back down to his house for a weekend visit. All I had to do was call and ask and he would come get me, even though by this point he was in his late 70's. He was just that good and that kind. I never heard him say a mean word about anyone in all of the years that I knew him..Thanks to him, I have grown up knowing how to be respectful, how to be kind hearted, how to bite my tongue. By looking at his example, I learned about self control, generosity, quietness and poise. My mother sometimes tells me that I remind her of him, and to me, that is the greatest compliment she could ever give me.
My grandmother was a bit...eccentric, but what a trail blazer! She was born in 1912, but yet went to college (fairly rare for the times). She earned a degree in Latin of all things-she could also speak Greek, French, and Italian fluently. She travelled the world, including to the Middle East and Eastern Euroope. She was so, so smart. Yet she sacrificed all of that to be a traditional 1950's housewife. In some way, this drove her a bit crazy-she suffered from mental illness for most of her adult life and I am convinced that it's because her wings had been clipped by the day and age in which she lived, that and the fact that she had multiple miscarriages before they adopted my mother. I know she had a lot of pain in her life, but despite all of this, she was still so kind and so loving and so open and fun. She wasn't much of a cook, but she loved to bake and every time I would come over she would make me snickerdoodle cookies and we'd snack on them and play card games and Uncle Wiggly. She hugged me and patted my cheeks and when we said the blessing at dinner, she would always get a huge smile and clap her hands and say "aaaaahhhh-MEN!!" Oh, I just loved her so, so much. She had the softest hands and always smelled like powder. She was so good and so loving. She taught me how to be a loving, caring, compassionate person. I did not have the best examples on how to live in my parents, and I know for a fact that I am the mother I am today because of her. She taught me that no matter what life throws at you-no matter what pain and heartache you might experience, or how your dreams might be crushed, you still have to live your life lovingly and with kindness. I will always be grateful to her for this.
So, yes. I can not choose between the two of them. Without either of them, I would not be who I am today. My grandma passed away when I was pregnant with my oldest son, and my grandpa died on Memorial Day, 2007, but I still miss both of them so much. I have many of the things from their house in my house (including a baby grand piano that my great grandmother bought in 1918-I can't play at all, but this is one of my greatest treasures) and I have their pictures up make a point to talk about them with my kids so that their memories can live on. They were such wonderful people, they deserve to be remembered.
Sorry to go on so much, but they just meant so much to me. All the words in the world can not express what they did for me.
Coincidentally, today would have been my grandpa's 96th birthday, so I already had him on my mind. Happy Birthday, grandpa. I love you. Love you, too, grandma.
love and hugs
fibromyalgia, ibs, gerd, anxiety
We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same.~Carlos Castaneda
I wish you all the joy that you can wish.~William Shakespeare
Housework, if you do it right, will kill you.~Erma Bombeck