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.

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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.

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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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15 Reasons Your Grandpa Might Be The Greatest Person In Your Life

He loves you so much.
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Grandpa. The goofy old guy who has been with you since you were born. Maybe he lives close or maybe he lives far. Maybe he's quiet and reserved or maybe he's a complete goofball. Maybe you see him all the time or maybe he's up there watching over you. No matter the circumstance, it is important to realize that he's probably one of the best people in your life.

1. He's hilarious

Nobody can make you laugh harder than grandpa. Whether it's a hot take on a sports game or a great story, he's always there to make you crack up.

2. He's smart (and knows more than you've ever known in your lifetime)

You think you know a lot... And then you talk to grandpa. I'm telling you, this man knows everything you know times a million.

3. He raised your mom or your dad well

You may have some pretty incredible parents... Well, guess who raised them? Your grandpa is half of the reason your parent is as amazing as they are... That deserves a lot of credit and appreciation.

4. He lets you eat the good stuff

As a kid and now. As a kid, you'd get all the candy or snacks you wanted and we just kept it between us. Even now, half a quart of ice cream for each of us is a quality snack at grandpa's house.

5. He has shown you what true, beautiful love is

Whether your grandma and his partner in crime is still here or is watching over you, the love they've had for longer than your parents have even been alive is an inspiration. Since you were a child, you've had some pretty amazing role models to look up to.

6. He has however many grandkids and still keeps up with you

Whether you're the only grandkid or 1 of 30, somehow he always stays up to date about what's going on in your life.

7. He's genuinely interested in your life

You never have to feel like you're talking grandpa's ear off about your new job, your school or your relationship. He's all ears because he truly cares about you.

8. And swears to hunt down any person who hurts you

If you haven't got the "I'll kill anyone who hurts you" spiel from your grandpa, I think he's grandpa-ing wrong. You can cross me. You probably can't cross dad, but if you happen to slip through the cracks, you will not cross grandpa.

9. He's been there for all of your milestones

Whether it was your elementary talent show or your high school graduation, he's been there to watch you.

10. His job is just to love you

Grandparents' job as a whole is to love and spoil their grandkids. It makes sense why it is considered the best job in the world... And your grandpa is probably really good at it.

11. And he might be your biggest fan

No one cheers louder or high fives you harder than your grandpa, no matter if you're playing a sport or playing the piano. He is your number one fan and it is important everyone knows it.

12. He's known you your whole life

He's watched you go from a tiny baby to the incredible person you are now. And hopefully, he knows that a lot of who you are now is because of him.

13. He'd do anything for you

Name it and he'll do it. That's what people who love you like a grandpa loves their grandkid do.

14. He always has a smile for you

Sometimes your parents get mad at you and they're not happy to see you. No one is 100 percent excited to see you every time they see you... Except grandpa.

15. He loves you so incredibly much

The biggest and best reason he is so amazing is that he loves you. Unconditionally, always. You don't get a lot of those people in your life, so it is important to cherish them and love them back as strong as you can.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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The Pain And Experience Of Losing A Grandparent Changed Me Forever

It is in those important moments in life, that I take a step back remember, laugh, love, and cry at the memories I have with my grandmother and why I am so thankful that I was blessed to be her granddaughter. And why after almost six years, I finally feel comfortable writing or talking about it.

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I remember the day my maternal grandmother passed away like it was yesterday, even though it was a warm May afternoon in 2012. I was in the seventh grade and was upstairs doing my homework when I heard a shriek come from my mother downstairs. I immediately ran to my sister's room, telling her that something has to really be wrong and we both proceeded to run downstairs as fast as we humanly could. And then it was as if time stood still when I saw the pain in my mother's eyes when she broke the news that her mother and my grandmother had just passed away

I stood still feeling as if I became further rooted in the ground, yet at the same time about to collapse at any second. I turned around and stared at a family portrait in the wall, looking into her puffy cheeks raised when she smiles, her love for color-coordinating her outfits, and just how happy she looked to be with her kids and grandkids. I looked at that picture and for a moment all the pain disappeared and it was as if she was looking at me and telling me that its okay and that she will forever be with me. And in the blink of an eye, I was snapped back into reality and the pain hit and as I looked around the room one thought never left my mind, "Why am I the only person not crying right now?" It was as if the pain I was experiencing couldn't be shown or expressed and it looked as if I was some empty human being with no feelings, but in reality, the shock I was going through hadn't settled and I was in fact just plain numb.

In the coming days and weeks, my life was rattled, my mother left immediately to go to India to attend my grandmothers funeral as well as family matters, my father had just moved across the country and didn't live with us during the week, and my 21-year-old sister had just come back from college and seemingly became my new mother. As a 13-year-old, this was so much to go through, I was finishing my seventh grade, preparing for a cross-country move from Boston to Arizona, and now my mother was across the world and I had just lost one of the most important people in my life.

It felt like my world was shattered yet at the same time I still had to wake up, go to school, study, do homework, and pretend as if nothing had happened. And that is when I mastered the act of pretending, pretending that I am okay, pretending that everything is fine, and pretending like not much is going on in my life. It was this act of pretending or what one of my high school teachers so aptly put it as, "fake it til you make it," that got me through that school year and summer. I did one of the worst things someone grieving could do, I suppressed all my feelings and pretended that it was all okay.

It took one July night, about two months after her death for it to hit me, I was alone in my bed just thinking and reflecting about my life, when every emotion I could feel overwhelmed my heart, mind, body, and soul, and I just sobbed for a good 1-2 hours in my bed. I cried about everything, everyone, and every emotion spilled out of my body faster than I could speak or even breathe. But, it was this moment where I felt free. I was free of the chains that I placed on myself, I was free to feel and experience the pain I had undergone, and I was free to be a human again, and not just a robot pretending to be fine.

That moment was one I have never told anyone about since it meant so much and was so powerful to me. I can say confidently that to this day the loss of my grandmother has never felt real. Yes, it has been six years, but time has helped me to heal my wounds and smile like the proud granddaughter I am every time that I close my eyes and see her smile, every time I feel her with me, and every time that I think of her. I know she would be proud of me for speaking out about what I went through, and I know that I am proud to be her granddaughter.

It took talking with one of my best friends for me to relive all of these emotions and decide that it was time to write about my experience. Losing a grandparent, or any loved one for that matter, shakes you to your core, but it is through these tough times that you come out a stronger and more resilient person. I firmly believe that in the times of tragedy, a whole new person is unleashed inside of you, and it is up to you to take this new strength and vulnerability and use it to succeed in everything that you do.

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