I lost both my dad's parents before I was in my teens. They lived in Texas, where we visited them a few times at their conservative little house in Waco, and I remember when they came to Colorado to visit us. But then before I was really old enough to understand all the ramifications of it, they were brought to a nursing home in our town. My grandfather died within months and my grandmother died a few years later.
My mom's parents were a different story. Her father died when I was a baby, so other than through photos, I have no memory of him. Her mother, however, passed away last year just weeks shy of her 95th birthday. She was my Nana.
As opposed to my other three grandparents, I knew Nana. I have memories of her that span four decades. She was a huge part of my life, even though we never even lived in the same town.
But interestingly, all my grandparents were instrumental in my life and in how I became who I am today. They carried on traditions, passed on personality traits, and taught my parents ideas, values, and even bad habits, that now are part of me.
My grandparents, like everyone else on this planet, were flawed people, but through my own parents, they gave me life. But more specifically, they gave me a love for reading and education, a zeal for life, a commitment to family, a love for other people, and a faith in God. Yes, they also gave me a tendency toward arrogance and discontent, as well as quite a few other negatives... but I choose to focus on the good.
My goal is to take the blessings my grandparents passed on to me, and leave that for my children. I can't say I haven't left them some of the negatives as well, but I'm trying not to. That's where self-control comes in.
I don't want to use my grandparents (or parents for that matter) as an excuse for the bad, but as a launching point for the good.
A big thank you to my grandparents - for being themselves. Although they will never be remembered in our nation's history books, they mattered. They mattered to me.
Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes