Today is Grandparents Day. Unfortunately, my grandparents passed before I was born, so I never really got to experience what it was like to have one in my life. So, while I personally do not have anything to contribute, I wanted to acknowledge and honor this day because of the incredible impact I see so many grandparents making in the lives of children I know– my students, my neighbors, and my own children. So, to do this day justice, I asked our very own Ms. Jen to write about her Nanny. Never have I been more touched by the stories of a grandmother and her granddaughter than by the ones Jen has shared with me. Her memories are warm and the love between them palpable. Thank you, Ms. Jen, for sharing with all of us today, and to all the grandparents out there, thank you for the difference you make in our children’s lives.
This grandparents day, I’m remembering and honoring my grandmother (“Nanny”), one of the most influential women I ever had the privilege to know. She was one of my first teachers– she kept me while my parents worked when I was too little to go to school yet. We’d sing country songs together, paint ceramics, and chat on the porch swing. She was a woman of many talents; she kept herself busy with sewing, ceramic-making, hair styling, and constant projects around the house. When it came to her cooking, no one could turn down a country-style home-cooked meal, always complete with a buttered biscuit on the side (a recipe I thankfully inherited). My brother, cousins and I still reminisce about her hilarious accent, from “worshing” dishes, to picking “scup’nins” (scuppernong grapes), to watching her “programs” (a.k.a. soap operas), to exclaiming “oh foot!” (the closest thing to an expletive that you’d ever hear her mutter). She was always thinking of us grandkids. She would send us letters or surprises in the mail, even though we lived nearby, just because she knew what a kick we got out of receiving mail. She continued that tradition all the way through my first years of college before she got sick. My Nanny was the kind of person who didn’t have much, but never let anybody leave her house empty-handed. She had a generous spirit, always putting others first. Even visiting her in the hospital as she battled cancer, I remember her asking me if I was hungry or if I needed anything (really, me?!). She loved us grandbabies with all her might, teaching us by example what love is all about. I still wear one of her rings that she gave me. It reminds me of her– her selflessness, her deep love, and the impact that her life had on mine.
Here’s to all the Nannies out there and all the lives that they touch. Happy Grandparents Day!