Reflections Of The Past

Reflections Of The Past

The legacy of my great-grandmother.

I've really struggled with what to write this week. My great grandmother, or Nana-great passed away this weekend at the age of 96. I wanted to write something for her, but had to wrestle with the fact that due to her dementia and aging, I didn't truly know the women that she was. After attending her funeral however, I have realized that I see a lot of Margaret Gilmour in the rest of my family. So while I don't have many memories of my Nana-great, this week I want to write about her legacy.

I have grown up surrounded by powerful women. My mother, aunts, and grandmother are all incredibly thoughtful, independent, courageous, and loving. After hearing my Nana-great described as a "force of nature" at her funeral, I am beginning to realize I see her legacy everyday.

When asked why she got two masters, one in reading, on in special education, Nana-great once said "I just love helping people." I see her love for teaching and working with children with special needs continue on in the teaching careers of my mom and Nona. I see her love for helping others in the way my mom and aunts volunteer their time and have passed on that commitment to their children.

I see the fierce strong-will I have heard described so many times in all of the women in my family. In our passion for our causes, in our arguments, in our determination to succeed. I see the leadership that she used in DAR, teachings and church in my Nona's and Mom's ability to command a room.

I've heard that she never went anywhere without "her face on", including of course, her red lipstick. She taught my Nona how to dress like a debutante and how to make a good impression, and Nona in turn passed on the importance of looking the part when you need to, to her children and later her grandchildren. I see her in my aunts' love of makeup and jewelry and in my sister's fashion sense.

Nana-great was an independent spirit. She raised three children while my great-grandpa served in the military, was an extremely educated woman, had a successful career, and even traveled abroad without her husband. She taught my Nona the importance of a woman being able to take care of herself. I see her legacy in the independent, passionate women that surround me.

Throughout her adult life Nana-great had two great loves. Her family and the St. Lawrence River. I see those loves reflected around me; in my family's loyalty to each other, in my cousins' joy when they go on boat rides, in my Nona's stories of summers on the island and in over a hundred years of family history stored in photo album, ledgers, and journals.

More than I ever have before, I see her legacy when I look in the mirror. Learning more about the woman that my Nana-great was, I see her in myself. I see her in my love of education and books, in my stubbornness that is both a strength and a weakness, in my love for the river, for my family, and for volunteering. I see her leadership and strength developing in myself as I look for guidance to my mother. Her life was 96 years full, and her legacy will live even longer. I hope that my children become the strong, capable, and graceful people that my great-grandmother was.

Cover Image Credit: Peggy Blackmer

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.

Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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14 Things You Relate To If You Grew Up WithOUT Any Cousins

*GASP* "What, you really don't have any cousins?"


It always shocks every person who hears me state that I do not have any cousins. For some reason, this is just hard for people to really believe when it's actually not something impossible. I think we are all just so used to large families that it sounds weird when people say that they have no cousins. Yet, it is definitely a potential reality, and actually impossible if each of your parents is the only child to your grandparents.

Here are 14 things that you can relate to if you grew up without any cousins.

1. Nobody believes you when you say that you don't have any cousins

I'm serious, for the tenth time.

2. Your grandparents spoil you

With no other grandchildren to worry about, it's pretty easy to do.

3. You don't understand when people say that cousins are your first best friends

My best friend was my first best friend.

4. You and your siblings are always the youngest people at family events

This was simultaneosuly a good thing and a bad thing.

5. You get all of the attention at holidays

Since you're the youngest one around, then distant relatives are always doting over you.

6. Everything you do is deemed awesome by your extended family because there is nobody to compete with

It's much easier to be praised when you aren't being compared to someone similar to your age.

7. You don't know how to hold babies

You're never around them so why would you?

8. Family photos are pretty easy to coordinate

The less people, the easier.

9. Other family members spoil you just because 

Afterall, you are the only kid around...

10. The family will make comments regarding the potential for you to have a cousin as a justification for why they aren't doing something for you

When you hear, "I can't buy you too much because someday your aunt is going to have kids and I will have to do the same for them" you cringe and just had to know that all of the attention wouldn't last forever.

11. Birthdays are always a big deal

A perk of not having very many to remember.

12. If your parents' siblings own pets, then you refer to the animal as your cousin

Cat cousins, dog cousins, lizard cousins, and fish cousins can be pretty cool, actually.

13. Sometimes you dream of marrying into a big family

This is to ensure that your kids do grow up with cousins.

14. You appreciate the closeness of your tight-knit fam

Maybe the only thing you would miss if you had a big family is the opportunity to develop such close bonds with the few relatives that you do have.

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