My Grandparents Shaped Me Into The Unique Person I Am Today, And I'm Forever Grateful

My Grandparents Shaped Me Into The Unique Person I Am Today, And I'm Forever Grateful

Thank you to *Dirty Di and Edwardo* for shaping me into the unique person I am today.

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From the little things as a little kid, like having our weekend sleepovers and going out to breakfast, to the simple, yet so important, things now, like having Edwardo read over every single essay I write, or watching some good lifetime movies with Dirty Di, my relationship with my grandparents, yes my grandparents who I refer to as Dirty Di and Edwardo, has been an amazing thing to have over the years of my life.

As I've grown up, I have always had a pretty great relationship with all of my family, but the one with my grandparents has to be the most unique. When people think about going to visit their grandparents, they usually think of two old people who (sorry) are actually pretty boring.

Me, on the other hand, I think of two people, Dirty Di and Edwardo, who will always support me in anything I do, who will coach all of my sports teams, who will teach me how to crochet, who will cry just as much as me about me having to leave for college.

I mean, that doesn't sound as unique as I made them out to be, but just wait. Along with all of those sappy, generic things I've said my grandparents do, they can also be pretty far out there at (most) times.

When I tell people about Edwardo, who got his name from the TV show, Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends, for that matter, I say the things I mentioned earlier, but I also tell about the insanely corny jokes he tells, that have definitely rubbed off on me; I tell about his bluntness when discussing the most random of things.

I tell about the random time that (for some weird reason) he wanted the Patriots to beat the Eagles in the super bowl, and he wore a red shirt and cut out paper numbers to make it look like a football jersey.

Mara Hashuga Mara Hashuga

When I tell people abut Dirty Di, whose real name is Dianna, but she likes Michael Jackson so I go with Dirty Di, I also tell a lot more than what I mentioned earlier. I tell about all of the funny pictures I have of her, some of which she doesn't even know about.

I tell about the crazy nights when we stay up super late watching our TV shows; I tell about her coming with me for my first tattoo (and how she helped me convince my mom to let me get it) and I tell about some funny stories that she usually doesn't want others to hear.

Mara Hashuga Mara Hashuga

When I tell people about my grandparents, they are usually shocked that I refer to them as Dirty Di and Edwardo, both when talking to them, or about them.

I guess that's part of the uniqueness of our relationship, the fact that I call them that, and the fact that we just laugh about it.

I tell people all of these crazy, interesting things, and they usually just look at me like it's crazy, but honestly, the fact that my relationship with my grandparents is like this and not like your normal, average, boring one, makes me very happy.

Because without my grandparents being the way they are, I would be nowhere near the person I am today when it comes to school, personality, sense of humor, and just about anything else.

So, to my grandparents, thank you for shaping me into the person I am today, and for having tons of fun with me along the way.

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To The Grandmothers Who Made Us The Women We Are Today

Sincerely, the loving granddaughters.
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The relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter is something so uniquely special and something to be treasured forever.

Your grandma loves you like you are her own daughter and adores you no matter what. She is the first person you run to when you have a problem with your parents and she never fails to grace you with the most comforting advice.

She may be guilty of spoiling you rotten but still makes sure to stress the importance of being thankful and kind.

Your grandma has most likely lived through every obstacle that you are experiencing now as a young adult and always knows just exactly what to say.

She grew up in another generation where things were probably much harder for young women than they are today.

She is a walking example of perseverance, strength, and grace who you aim to be like someday.

Your grandma teaches you the lessons she had to learn the hard way because she does not want you to make the same mistakes she did when she was growing up.

Her hugs never fail to warm your heart, her smile never fails to make you smile, and her laugh never fails to brighten your day.

She inspires you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

You only hope that one day you can be the mother and grandmother she was to you.

A piece of girl’s heart will forever belong to her grandma that no one could ever replace.

She is the matriarch of your family and is the glue that holds you all together.

Grandmothers play such an important role in helping their granddaughters to grow into strong, intelligent, kind women.

She teaches you how to love and how to forgive.

Without the unconditional love of your grandma, you would not be the woman you are today.

To all of the grandmothers out there, thank you for being you.

Sincerely,

the loving granddaughters

Cover Image Credit: Carlie Konuch

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There Will Never Be A Home Like Your Grandparents' House

Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go.

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I didn't realize how essential families were to the holidays until I spent the holidays missing someone who wasn't there.

My grandpaMadelyn Neal

On Christmas Day, I went to my grandmother's home in small-town Kentucky to celebrate. I was particularly worried about how empty the house would feel without my grandfather. I couldn't help but think of what I would have gotten him for Christmas, his favorite catch-phrases that I would have heard non-stop, and even what he would have ordered at Domino's (yes, our traditional Christmas meal is takeout).

But despite it all, I had a nice Christmas, and it seemed as though maybe he wasn't as far away as he previously seemed.

Wedding photosMadelyn Neal

In the short weeks after he passed, I kept waiting to "feel his presence" or a sign from him, as everyone always says you will no doubt feel. That said, I realized that it was the things he left behind that really helped me to feel closer to him.

When we sat down to dinner, with his customary seat left open for him, it seemed to everyone at the table that for a moment, he was there with us.

When we made a fire in his fireplace and began to listen to the crackle, I could almost hear the typical accompanying snoring coming from his corner of the couch.

His go-to fishing pole on the deck of his pond seemed as if it was just resting after hours of use.

The next morning, when I went outside to feed his deer their daily cracked cornmeal, I swore they were listening for his whistle that signaled the dinner bell.

There truly is no place like grandmother's house.

Me and my grandmotherMadelyn Neal

There is nothing that soothes the soul better than taking on the task of feeding his deer friends, looking at old pictures and even trying on my grandmother's old wedding dress and mom's old prom dresses.

Wearing my grandmother's wedding dress.Madelyn Neal

In the spirit of New Year's resolutions, find your happy place, listen to the quiet and you'll find both yourself and your lost loved ones there. When the clock chimed at night, I felt the most at peace I have felt in a long time. I can't wait for the next visit to see my grandmother, because I know every time I visit, not only will I enjoy watching our favorite movies, learning how to knit and eating our delicious family specialties, but I'll also welcome the comforting feeling that what we have lost isn't lost, it's just not as visible as we would like.

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