Today would have been my maternal grandmother’s 100th birthday. Growing up, she was the hands-off grandma, the intellectual who rarely sat on the floor to play, the subdued one who loved me, but wasn’t “fun”.
But something funny happened when I hit high school, especially once I started driving. I spent several mornings a month cleaning her house, but really we spent a good deal of the time hanging out at her kitchen table talking, and working on the NYT crossword.
Somewhere along the way she became a lot more fun as my interests changed from playing nurse to learning about her decades as a night shift nurse supervisor in an era where many women stopped working once they got married.
She told me her Depression stories and her World War II rationing stories. Very similar to those of my other grandma, whom I never outgrew, but who was a kindergarten teacher and generally bubbly lady. We argued politics and issues, discussed the news, and solved word clues. She fed my intellectual side.
I learned about her childhood, her lost dreams, and the type of person she was, and began to understand why she was the serious one, the quiet one, the not-so-playful one. And I learned that everyone loves in their own way.
Both ladies gave me their unconditional love, they just had different ways of showing it. A useful lesson, especially since my two boys, while similar in many ways, have very different personalities. Not only do they love in different ways, but what they need from me isn’t always the same.
So, to my intelligent, inspiring, amazing, thoughtful, quiet, loving grandmother, whom I miss very much: Happy 100.
Filed under: Gwen Hernandez |