My grandmother is 88 years old and sometimes doesn’t remember the things she says, but she used to give me nuggets of advice.
When I was a kid, she’d expect us grandkids to come to the farm to help with the chores and whatever else she could find to put us to work doing. You never knew if you’d be in the barn, the house or working on the landscaping. One day you could be on the wagon helping with straw and the next weeding the raised flower beds.
As I was outside weeding the other day, I thought about one of the things she’d tell me. A lady is measured by her garden. Like I said, she’s 88. She grew up in a different world than I did and isn’t shaped by today’s conventions. She was very much the housewife and took care of the children. She didn’t leave the farm much and took a lot of pride in her house and landscaping.
I’m guessing she learned about keeping a neat house from her mother. I don’t remember my great grandmother because she died when I was four. But I could see her being very meticulous about her gardening.
My grandmother was right–to a degree. I mean, if you have a neat house, it’s noticed. If you don’t…it’s noticed. I don’t know that it’s the measure of a lady, but it does show that you take pride in what you have. If you’re willing to work hard to make the garden, house or whatever the best you can make it with what you have, then that’s something. I think that’s what she meant. It’s not about having the best or newest or whatever. It’s about taking care of what you do have.
I have taken her advice to heart ever since I started my writing career. If the book isn’t up to snuff for me, then I’ll work to make it so. That might not please everyone and some might see my book as not being great, but I tried and did my best. That’s enough. Do the best you can do. So maybe I’m not measured by my garden, but I’m trying. That’s what she asked of me and I’ll do it.
My grandmother’s been through a lot in the last year. My grandfather passed away a year ago on Sunday. It’s been tough. He was the cornerstone of the family. He laughed loudest, stood mostly the tallest and was just an all-around wonderful guy.
One of the things she says to me often and has since his passing has been patience. It’s hard. I know. Patience with others, patience with yourself. Patience. I’m horrible with patience. So I asked her, okay, why be patient? Sometimes isn’t it good to be pushy?
Her answer: sure, there are times to be pushy, but there are times to just wait. It’s tough to wait, but you never know what will happen next. You might wish you hadn’t rushed. You might realize you missed something awesome because you rushed. Plus, when you’re patient you get to experience things you might not otherwise.
In the last year, I’ve tried to be more positive. I know I haven’t always succeeded. I get frustrated and it’s hard. But I try to be a positive force. I try to realize the people here right now might not be tomorrow. I can attest to that being tough. In the last three or so days, I’ve lost one member of my graduating class. I don’t know what happened, but she’s a great person and at least she’s in Heaven walking with Elvis, her idol. In these last three days, a guy I had a major crush on and was friends with–he taught me how to fight. He said, if you’re going to defend yourself, then do it right. I’ve never forgotten what he said. He was killed in a car crash. My heart hurts for both people. It’s been too fast. Too soon.
So my complaining about patience and not wanting to wait for a response from someone is truly small potatoes compared to what the families of these people are going through…what my grandmother is going through.
So yeah, patience. It’s tough, but it’s important. I’m glad she’s trying to club me over the head with this point. I love Grandma. ❤
My grandmother used to say if you tear it down, I’ll help you build it back up. It’s funny. I haven’t thought about my great grandmother in a while. Sounds terrible, but I’ve had a week. I happened on a photo of her and the memories of going to her house, playing and rolling down the hill in the back yard came to mind.
My great grandmother was the type of person who loved disorder.It might not seem like a good thing, but when we went to her house, the grandkids were encouraged to have fun and make a mess. Want to play in the sink? Have at it. Want to build with the blocks, then knock it down? Let me help. Want to dig in the dirt? Spin on the swing? I’m right there. That’s the kind of person she was.
She loved to read my books, too. She had every one that was in print. Loved them. She’d tell me there was no shame in reading romance. “If there’s a fire in the oven, then there’s no crime in stoking it.” Coming from my grandmother, it was a little strange, but knowing her…I got it. She liked to live like it was her last day. She’d have fun, embrace life and enjoy what she was doing.
She’d help us build back up after things crumbled. She taught me to stand on my own and to have fun. Don’t get caught up in small stuff and bogged down. Do your own thing and be your own person. If there’s a disaster, help build it back up. Help build everyone around you up. Don’t be afraid of what might happen or what could happen and experience life.
I’m all for that. Life doesn’t last forever, so I’m here to embrace what I can. ❤
I can’t be the only one whose grandmother (or someone else in their life) reminded them to finish their dinner. In my case, it was my grandmother. We’d sit down for family meals and she’d remind everyone to eat what’s on their plate. My grandfather had a saying, if you don’t like it, don’t take it…but that’s for another post. Grandma was adamant. You’ve put it on your plate, so you’d better eat it.
I won’t lie. When I was a kid, it drove me crazy. Not because I overloaded my plate, but because she’d ‘add’ things to it. Like the beets I never did enjoy or the mush. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand mush. Blech. But I ate what was on my plate.
This motto has translated to my writing career, though. Food and writing? Are you confused yet? Don’t be. I’m one of those people who tends to take on more than I should. I agree to a lot and try to accomplish as much as I can. If it’s on my plate, I do it. I’ve been told I have a healthy work ethic. I don’t know if that’s true. I just know when I have something to do, I do it.
I’m helping with a small author event in my local town. It’s going to be a nice event, but every time I think I’ve accomplished something, another task pops up. It feels like I’m not getting anywhere. But I keep going. I keep trying. I’m still trying to finish what I put on the plate and what was added for me.
Grandma was on to something. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. Know what you’re getting into, and don’t be shocked when it’s a lot.
What about you? Got any advice? I’m all ears. 🙂
The holidays can be a tough time. So many people to see and places to be. The spring tends to be easier, but not always. I know, because of DH’s schedule, what holidays I can attend and which ones we won’t be able to because there isn’t time. Or because we’ve decided to have just our family, not the extended one. It happens. One year we might be able to make it to all the big gatherings and the next…none. It’s not fun. My grandfather passed last year and it’s getting close to the anniversary of that, so I do want to be around the extended family. But it’s not always feasible.
My grandmother used to say (and still does), just tell the boss your grandmother wants you to be there and to give you the time off. If that doesn’t work, then cry. If that doesn’t work, then let me cry and I’ll get your boss to let you have time off.
I love my grandmother, but crying doesn’t always get the job done. Sometimes you’ve just gotta bite the bullet and do the job. You’ve got to go to work. I get her meaning though. She wants us to be there. It’s not the same without all the cousins around. Plus, you don’t know how long you’ve got to have those people around. It’s tough.
Some days I get frustrated. I know she’ll say she’ll volunteer to talk to the boss so we can be there. Some days it’s funny. Other days, it’s frustrating. But I understand. I’m going to be a grandmother some day (I assume) and I’ll probably be the same way. But who knows.
Considering it’s almost a year since my grandfather passed and I’m sure this will be tough for my grandmother, I just might have to find a way to be at Easter after all.