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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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.

I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Home For The Summer

Home sweet home.


Now that school is finally over, I packed up all my stuff and finally got to go home and be with my family again. More specifically, I got to see my dog.

Moving out was a hassle. I didn't realize how much crap I actually had. Sure, it started off not too bad when I moved in, but over the course of the year, more and more stuff came into my possession. By the time I was supposed to move out, it was like I had twice the amount of stuff from when I started. It took two days to officially move all of my belongings back home.

Since being home, I've noticed a couple of things.

First of all, my mom missed me a lot. Hi, Mom. :)

It's not like when I went to college, I completely disappeared from my mom's life or anything like that. We talked on the phone often, and she would visit me sometimes to take me and my sister out to dinner or something with our dad. Also, with the number of times I had gotten sick throughout the entire year, it was like every other week I came home.

The first day I came home, she made a run to the store and called me asking if there was anything I needed, and I said not to my knowledge. She came home with a crap ton of my favorite ice cream and snacks, just because.

Another thing she's been doing is cooking every night. My mom works during the week, so understandably when she gets home, she doesn't always feel like slaving away in front of the stove to make dinner. However, for whatever reason, my mom has made it her sole mission to make me gain 20 pounds by the time the fall semester comes around.

She knows I hated the food at school, so whenever she cooks dinner, she mentions that I love being home because I get to have real food. I mean, I'm not complaining. Who doesn't love a homecooked meal?

I can tell my dad is pretty happy about me being home with the new change in the menu.

Second of all, for the time being, I have A LOT of free time.

Now, this will change once I get my summer job, but as of right now, I have nothing to do. Both of my parents work during the week, and I didn't really keep in touch with the majority of my high school peers, so I have no one to hang out with. I mean, I could see some of my college buddies and sorority sisters, but everyone lives far as hell away.

This is kind of difficult for me. Not because I can't just spend time alone; I have no problem with that. However, I'm used to having a full schedule. Aside from just being used to it, I like it. I'm one of those people who likes to keep busy.

When I'm out and about or have a lot of things to do, I feel productive. Now, I just feel lazy because I literally have nothing to do. To try and counteract this, I've resorted to doing a personal project throughout the summer.

I just need something to occupy my time. Boredom sucks.

I'm glad to be home, though. Living at college is great, sure, and you have all this freedom to do whatever you want and you won't get in trouble or whatever, but I don't really care about all of that. Family is very important to me.

My mom, as crazy as she is, is my best friend, I tell her everything. Living away from that can really stink. Makes me wonder if that is why I kept getting sick so much. Like it was my body's way of forcing me to go home and be with my family.

This summer is going to be a much-needed break from school. I'm excited to see where things go.


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