Life Lessons I Learned From My Grandma

Life Lessons I Learned From My Grandma

She taught me that memories last forever even though people don't.

We've all learned a few life lessons from every single person in our lives. Whether their impact was big or small, they had one and they taught us something. May it be a simple "hello" from a stranger that taught you to be more welcoming to people, or the reiterated "don't touch the stove when it's hot" from our parents that we were told when we were young, everyone learns a few things here and there.

However, it's not everyday that someone impacts your life so heavily and teaches you so many life lessons. For me, my grandma was one of the most amiable, passionate life-lesson givers I've ever met. Throughout my years of life, she taught me a few things that I'll remember forever.

She taught me that even though people get old, the stories never do. If there's one thing I'll never forget about her it's her story-telling persona that came to life every time I went to go visit. Whether it was stories from when she was a kid, when she was in college and her dorm, no joke, had a curfew (or so she said), when she met my grandpa and had all their endless stories and adventures of 6 kids, or even stories from just a few years back, I was always open-eared and ready to make mental note of them. Although she aged, the content of her stories never did. Day by day she surprised me with something new, all the memories she had and decided to share.

She taught me that it's okay to have your own opinions about people. We all do it, it happens to each and every one of us. She taught me that even though people all resonate the same meaning, we all have a different purpose and we're allowed to think what we want of someone else's purpose. Whether it be kind, indifferent, or uncanny, the opinions are always there and although we can ignore them, we mustn't forget that they'll always be there somewhere.

She taught me to strut my style and own it. She was a style queen if I ever knew one and she showed me the ropes of fashion as I know it today. I'll forever look up to the style that she owned. It's not every day that one would get to go to their grandma's and tell her a shirt of hers was cute and she'd offer it off to you as if it meant nothing to her. For me it was like that all the time. A lot of my style comes from her, inspiration and article wise, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

She taught me that some people talk through an entire TV show and you're just going to have to move past it. I mean, of course it's kind of bothersome, but once it's gone you learn that you're just going to have to appreciate it when other people do it. Appreciate their opinions, their words, their thoughts, appreciate what they have to say. Remember it, because the TV show is never as important as what they have to say.

She taught me to be a bargain shopper (okay mom, you too, but for the time being). She'd always get her clothes at a discounted price, cheap and chic. She taught me that name brands are just that: name brands, and that there's so much more to fashion than just them. She taught me that the bargain shopping is the key to life, and as a style-guru, she really hit the jackpot on some of the things she owned.

She taught me to always offer your guests something to eat and drink. I swear, there wasn't a time that I'd go over there and she didn't have something ready for me, or anyone else who was there. Common courtesy, of course, but it's the thought that's put into it that matters.

She taught me to always "listen to your mother." God, the amount of times I heard her say that. But of course, everyone should listen to their mother, and so she wasn't wrong about that.

She taught me that no one's cooking was better than hers. She was always making something, and it never stopped. Though her last few years of life she wasn't as quick to get out and make her daily dinner, rather to have a burger from Burger King or a taco from Taco Bell, I'll never forget how great of a cook she was. Her Thanksgiving stuffing, wow. Everyone deserves to try that at least once in their lives.

She taught me that memories last forever even though people don't. It's hard to lose someone; it never comes easy. But most importantly, the times you shared with them will always be memories you get to have and hold. She taught me to cherish them and to never let them go.

And last but not least, she taught me to cherish the people in your life, day by day, because you never know when your last day with them will be.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Graf

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An Open Letter To My Nana

Everyone deserves a Nana like you

Everyone deserves a Nana like you.

You are the sweetest, kindest, most loving person I have ever met and I am so glad God blessed me with being your granddaughter. From the moment I was born you were there, you lived almost 500 miles away but yet you were there every step of the way.

From first steps to first words, first days of school, you were there. Every first that you and Papa could be there for, you were. I didn't know it then but you were destined to be my best friend from the start. All the years you and Pops spent traveling back and forth from NC to PA, just to watch me and my brother grow up. You wanted to be there every step of the way and I couldn't have been more grateful. Looking back I wouldn't change a thing.

Now that I am older and can actually realize the depth your love goes for me and my brother just makes me more thankful. I would do anything for you and I know you would do the same. I would spend every minute of my day hanging out with you if I could and if you didn't live so far away.

Being able to come hang out with you and spend these last two weeks was the biggest blessing. Learning your "not so secret" family recipes, being able to watch our shows together, baking cookies, shopping, playing slots, and so much more. You have told me this whole trip that I'm not allowed to go back home because you like the company and how much I have helped you and truth be told, I wouldn't leave you if I didn't have to.

One of my favorite memories, that maybe some wouldn't even call a memory, was when I got the tattoo of your handwriting, "Love You Bushels." It is by far my favorite tattoo I have and I know how much you hate them but you always joke with me anyways. I still remember to this day, when I posted a picture of it and told you to go look, you called me spitting Italian like you do when I stress you out, lol.

"Oh my Kayce, why would you do this?" you said.

"Well, I wanted to Nun and now you will always be with me," I replied.

"Well it is beautiful I guess," you responded (still with an attitude).

"So you like it?" I said.

"Well, hun, you know I love your mother and brother just as much as you, but maybe if I love them a little less they won't go putting it all over their bodies," you responded.

I laughed, you laughed because no one quite gets your sense of humor like I do, and no one quite gets mine like you.

I love this time I get to spend with you. The memories we make, the laughs we share, I wouldn't trade this time for the world. I know you will always be with me, even when you are 500 miles away.

Cover Image Credit: Kayce Davis

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Great-Grandma Bartron-isms For The New Year

Phrases and quotes from a wise woman to get you through 2018.

I was on the phone with my grandmother the other day while I wrote last week’s article. We chatted for a while about the New Year. It was during that chat that she decided I should spread the wisdom of my late Great-Grandma Bartron, so my readers could start off the new year with some inspiration.

I was never old enough for this wisdom to be imparted to me directly -- I was eight years old when she passed. These “Grandma Bartron-isms” are still used by my family to this day. This is advice from a woman who grew up during the Great Depression and lived in a world decidedly different than the one we live in now. Yet her advice still remains relevant, which is a testament to her wisdom.

Here are six of her more famous “Grandma Bartron-isms.”

"Smile, agree and do as you please."

This marital advice was given to the women of my family, whether it was prenuptial or thirty years into a marriage. This advice is very contradictory to the marital standards that she grew up with. She encouraged the women of my family to have a say in their marriage, in the way she was unable to. “My grandpa probably thought he was the boss in the relationship,” my mother remarked, laughing. She might not have been outspoken in her marriage, but she still had power.

"If you stay in bed, drink liquids, and watch TV your cold will last a week; if you get up and go to school it will last seven days -- so get going!"

"A walk is as good as a nap."

In the eyes of my great-grandmother, exercise and physical activity was the key to preventing and curing many ailments. She was a very active woman, who went on walks or swam every day and these quotes were her kind way of telling us to get off our butts and stay active.

"When you’re 20, you care what everyone thinks about you. When you’re 40, you don’t care what anyone thinks about you. And when you’re 60, you realize that no one was thinking about you! They were all thinking about themselves!”

Grandma Bartron was known for her brutal honesty, which is represented in the above saying. This is something I think all college kids should keep in mind. It's easy to be self-conscious of yourself when you are doing a lot on your own for the first time.

Yet according to Grandma Bartron, everyone is too worried about themselves to worry about you. I will remember that this semester when I take my oral communications class, or the next time I sleep through my alarm and have to go to class in my pajamas.

"One [child] takes all your time and all your money, and that’s all two or three or four can do!"

This phrase was actually a bit of advice she received from a friend of her husband's, and it resonated with her so much that she adopted the phrase as her own. This is what Grandma Bartron would say when someone claimed she didn’t have enough money to have another child. Grandma Bartron had four children, and she believed that no matter what you were going to be broke and tired -- no matter if you had one child or four.

She herself loved babies and encouraged everyone to have them so she could spend time with them. She worked as a volunteer nurse in the baby nursery when she was 76 so that she could be the person to take the first pictures of my cousins when they were born.

"This too shall pass."

This phrase is not specific to my great-grandmother, but she verbalized it enough to become considered part of her vocabulary. It makes sense that a woman who grew up during the Great Depression would have this mindset. This phrase was used long before her time and will continue to be said for generations to come.

As I try to navigate college, this phrase will stick in the back of my mind. I’m sure she would have said it to me, had she lived to see me off to college.

Cover Image Credit: Ali Schulz

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