Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Things My Grandmother Taught Me

Originally posted April 28, 2008
Grandmother's Garden by Sarah Davis
Grandmother's Garden

When I was growing up I spent a lot of time with my mom's mom. We often went to her house after school. She helped me sew clothes for my Barbies and would let us drink Dr. Pepper which wasn't allowed at home. :)

The only time she worked after she was married was when she helped my grandfather with his hardware store after their daughters were grown (which he bought after he retired from farming). She's well into her 80s now and still hanging in there. She has her share of aches and pains, is dealing with some chronic health conditions, and she sometimes forgets things, but she always looks beautiful and never misses her weekly appointment with the hairdresser. I still love to visit my grandmother. She always tells me that she's proud of me and it means so much coming from her.

She taught me many things, but here are some highlights.

1. Make the bed and the whole room will look better. She was right. I always make my bed first thing in the morning.

2. Quality over quantity: not in time, but in clothing. She wasn't opposed to buying things on sale, but she always inspected the buttons and seams to make sure the garment was well made before she bought it. She told me that she would rather have a few well made items than a whole closet full of cheap things that would fall apart after the first wash. I can't say I abide by this every time I buy something, but I probably should. It's good advice.

3. When in doubt about what to wear, dress up. She said that being overdressed for an occasion was better than being too casual if everyone else is dressed up.

4. Always take care of your appearance. She still never leaves the house without her makeup and hair done, and a cute outfit on. She says that taking care of ourselves shows respect for our husbands and families. She still keeps her nails done too (something which I'm not very good at). My grandfather (who passed away in 1985) was also this way. He showered twice a day, once in the morning and once on returning from the farm, and always had a fresh shave and smelled of Lava Soap.

5. Write thank you notes. To this day I still don't want to get in trouble by forgetting to write a thank you note. :) I try to sit down and get my thank you notes written ASAP.

6. Be on time. This has been a huge struggle for me. Especially when the kids were small we were often late everywhere we went. Once we were late to Christmas dinner at my mother's house and my grandmother really let me have it.

7. You only have one chance to make a first impression. I can still hear her saying this when I meet people for the first time.

8. Go to church. We went to the same church that my grandparents did when I was little and we always sat next to them. Even after I was grown, married and living in a different town, my grandmother would call on a Sunday afternoon and ask "Did you go to church this morning?" She was always happy when I would answer "Yes ma'am!"

9. One of the things she taught me was not by anything she said, but by example. She and my grandfather modeled a wonderful marriage relationship for me. They were both always so thoughtful of one another and loved to laugh and have fun together. He referred to her as his "little roommate". It was their relationship that helped me understand what a gift marriage could be.


Buildeth Her House said...

Those are such beautiful lessons to learn and to pass down to your little ones.

Anonymous said...

please don't make me cry. i am a 41 year old black woman living in covington, ga. my husband and i have 4 kids. this post reminds me of the women in my family. when i am in public and see older women dressed sloppily, i always think to myself, "my mother would NEVER walk around looking like THAT!" she's not even going to market without being dressed nicely. i love watching old movies and tv shows with our children, wishing that, on some issues, we could turn back the clocks to a time when people were polite, mannerly, dressed well; felt ashamed not to go to church; tv, movies and music were safe for kids ears and eyes and hearts and minds; mommies stayed home (and were happy to); people wanted to marry. . . oh the values that we have lost. and in return for what? like i said you are making me want to cry with this post because i often think about things like this and your post just hits home. God bless.


Loretta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loretta said...

Wonderful post! You made me miss my grandmamas, both of whom have gone on to be with the Lord.

Katrina, I appreciated your comments, too, and agree with you 100%. :-)

Loretta in Columbus, GA

PS: I deleted my first comment because I didn't catch Katrina's name until the comment posted, and I didn't want to call her "Anonymous". :-)

Terri said...

Those are wonderful lessons!

Farrah said...

Is your Grandmother in the South? She sounds like just about every elderly woman I know down here!

How wonderful that you have such special memories! I do as well, but of my own Grandmothers.

Extraordinary Ordinary Life said...

This is so wonderful. It is lessons we could all use!

The Southern Housewife said...

Love this one! Great lessons! She sounds like such a classy lady. Why can't all of today's women have such high standards? What a shame.

Dawn said...

Wise advice for any of us. :) Tis true men and women in our day and age have lost the art of presentability when out and about. And it's not just in clothing, it's in actions and words as well. My first 3 minutes in a WalMart store and I am cringing as a woman has verbal filth spewing from her mouth or some teenager talks back and curses her parents...

Oh society...what have we become?

We have lost the art of mannerisms, modesty (not just in dress), and courtesy.

Let's bring it back ladies! :)

Hugs from Texas ~


Elizabeth said...

I loved this post,it reminded me of the lovely women in my family,who are no longer with us.

Anonymous said...

To the Ladies with Children:

It took me many years to be able to verbalize the differences between my Nanny and my mother--for a long time, I just KNEW it was always better at Nanny's house. Now I know what those differences are and they're good parenting tips.

1) Nanny never nagged. She might ask me to do something, but that was it--she ASKED. And she was not in a hurry; sure it could wait until the next television commercial or until my show was over. I was much more willing to hop up and do something for Nanny than my mother, who demanded satisfaction, right that second. Oh, and Nanny had much lower standards than my mother, so I didn't have to do stuff multiple times until it satisfied her.

2) Nanny left me alone to do my own thing. So many parents these days seem to hover (in fact, teachers call them that when they're not around: hover or helicopter parents). But if I needed to talk to her about something or show her something I did or found, she stopped what she was doing to engage with me. (Of course, Nanny and I are both introverts, so that's part of the reason why we get on so well.)

3) Nanny shamed you when you did wrong. She didn't yell, scream, curse or whip. She'd just look at you and say, "Aren't you ashamed of acting ugly like that?" Oh man... you better believe I did! When my mother yelled, I just resented her for it.

4) Nanny realized that stuff is just stuff. If something broke, she'd say, "Well, we'll have to get a new one." My mother would yell and talk like I broke it on purpose and it had been the most dear thing in her life.

Mind you, my Dad says that Nanny's wisdom is the wisdom that comes with AGE and LIVING, and that all parents mellow by the time they are grandparents, and don't worry about things nearly so much.