Thank You Grandma And Grandpa For Being My World

Thank You Grandma And Grandpa For Being My World

The fact that I put words to our relationship still surprises me.
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Grandma and Grandpa,

The words “thank you,” don't even close to describing the amount of love and appreciation I have for you guys and for everything you have done throughout my 18 years. The song I played for you during the candle lighting ceremony at my Bat Mitzvah best describes how I know you will always unconditionally love me “Eight Days a Week," which also represents our mutual obsession with The Beatles.

I often think about my friends who have to travel to other states in order to see their grandparents, which they can only do during school breaks, and I wonder how they deal with that. I thankfully don't have to worry about that. I just have to call or text you and I know I'll be invited to a gourmet homemade meal that night.

On any given time of any day, I can quickly jump in my car for the 2-minute drive to your house or work to hang out.

I do not for one-second take for granted that fact that we live in the same town. You guys have come to so many school functions and games - in fact, Grandpa is one of the most familiar faces on the fields and in the gymnasium of Hewlett High School.

I also have so many vivid memories of when we lived in your house. Coming downstairs so early on school days where Grandma, you and I would do our best bonding. You sang the best learning songs and taught me so much during those special days - it's definitely because of you that I was able to read so early!

I’ll never forget all of the fashion shows the night before school when Emmie and I would show off what we would be wearing the next day.

Thank you for instilling in me the importance of family and traditions.

You two are most definitely the glue of the family, and without you guys, none of our lives would be the same. I wouldn’t be lucky enough to have my cousins, aunts, and uncles so close to me, and I definitely wouldn’t be considered “1 of 8.”

You never let any little argument between any of the eight of us kids go unsettled immediately, and your encouragement and instilling in us how the friendship and relationship among all of us cousins are more valuable than any friendship we can make in school. And you are right.

I'm sure no other kid has an annual "It’s Not Hanukkah Yet Party," where they get to decorate the Grandparents house and get pre-Hanukkah Presents. I'm sure not many Grandparents are able to sustain the attention of 8 teenagers playing the board games "Who's Smarter Than a Fifth Grader," and "Family Feud." (Well the huge bag of cash for prizes kind of helped too).

Having to make little Thanksgiving Gourmet Treats with our older and younger cousins on Thanksgiving is just another tradition that you make so much fun. Grandma, your insane cooking for every holiday will always be something I cherish for the rest of my life. You never fail to surprise me with the biggest and littlest gifts for all or no occasions at all.

You always have something up your sleeve and always an amazing way of surprising all of us.

You guys have given me the world, literally. Whether it was spoiling our entire crew by vacationing us to the Atlantis twice a year for 14 years or going to Mexico, Hawaii, Disney, Paris, and London, you have shown me everything. So many of our best memories were made on these trips, and there's always a new family joke that comes out of each one.

Losing Ethan in Disney, me clumsily falling in a pool in Hawaii while walking to dinner, leaving Emmie in the bathroom at the Atlantis, the big red tomato van in Arizona, and of course, remember when our flight got canceled?

Thank you for being children at heart and making everything so much more fun for us. Walking into your house is always an exciting adventure since any given dinner can turn into an adventurous night. You have so successfully learned how to keep us kids involved despite the fact that we're getting older.

Whether I’m messing around with you, Grandpa, hitting you and bumping hips, or sitting on the couch and watching some much-needed Law and Order, I can definitely say our relationship is one of a kind.

Grandma, I can always count on you for cutting my hours short at work even when I’m still working! (JK, had to get it out there though). And thanks for ALWAYS being there for me; for my calls when I'm happy, for my facetimes when I'm sad. The best and most frank advice I can get is from you.

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for anything and everything.

To both of you, thank you so much for showing me what true love is and what it should be - 52 years and still going strong! I hope that one day I am lucky and fortunate enough to be in your shoes. You guys have been two of the most important role models for the last 18 years, and I know that you will be forever.

Love you always,

Lindsay Camryn

Cover Image Credit: Lindsay Cohn

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Dear Mom, From Your Daughter In College

Here are all the things our phone calls aren't long enough to say.
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Dear Mom,

Do you remember when I was three and we would play together? It was the age of princesses and carpet that was actually lava, and you were the prettiest woman in the whole wide world. Do you remember when I was in high school and the world seemed too big and scary? You would know exactly when to take me on a mother-daughter date and have me laughing about anything and everything, and you were the smartest woman in the whole wide world. Now, I'm buried in homework and deadlines hours away from you and we don't get to talk as much you want, but you're still the prettiest, smartest woman in the whole wide world.

I'm sorry that I don't call you as much as I should, and you know a lot of what goes on in my world via posts and pictures. Our schedules just seem to never line up so we can have the three-hour conversations about everything like I want to. I know we don't agree on absolutely everything, but I cherish every piece of advice you give me, even though it probably seems like I'm hardly listening. I know that sometimes we get on each other's nerves, but thank you for putting up with me for all of these years. Thank you for listening to me cry, complain, question things and go on and on about how everything in college is. I know I don't come home as much as I used to, but I think about you all the time. After all, you're my first friend, and therefore, my best friend.

Thank you for celebrating my successes with me, and not downing me too hard for my failures. Thank you for knowing what mistakes I shouldn't make, but letting me make them anyway because you want me to live my life and be my own person. Thank you for knowing when to ask about the boy I've been talking about, and when to stop without any questions. Thank you for letting me be my crazy, weird, sometimes know-it-all self.

Thank you for sitting back and watching me spread my wings and fly. There is no way I could have known how to grow into the woman I am today if I hadn't watched you while I was growing up so I would know what kind of person I should aspire to be. Thank you for being the first (and the best) role model I ever had. You continue to inspire and amaze me every day with all that you do, and all that you are.

I don't know how I got so lucky to have a person in my life like you, but I thank the Lord every night for blessing me with the smartest, prettiest person to be my best friend, my role model, my confidant, my person and most importantly, my mother.

Love,

Your daughter

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Remembering My Grandma's One-Of-A-Kind Recipe

Like the melancholy candies in Because of Winne Dixie, the infamous orange cake brings more than just a taste. It recalls a timeline of memories that I shared with my grandmother, or at least I think it would…

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Years ago, and hand-in-hand, my grandmother and I shuffled and shaked around the terracotta floors of her beach condominium, baking the most decadent cake, the infamous orange cake.

Her and this cake had a lot in common: The cake was almost as sweet as her. As soon as she or it was gone, you wanted, needed, more. The brilliant zest and orange-scented buttercream could even keep up with her one-of-a-kind flair. These are my memories of Grandma Margie and our cake – two things that are now out of touch but always within reach of my mind.

My grandmother passed away seven years ago from the terrible monster of cancer. As time has continued since her passing, it has become easier for me to swallow my memories of this cake, the memories of her. I can now say that the songs we sang together, the little habits she performed, and pictures that seem to float up from nowhere can pass me on most days and be taken in with a soft smile and a gratitude prayer for all she gave to me. This week, however, my mind and soul are weeping for the memories we made.

It was Sunday evening when I received the phone call from my mother. My early childhood neighbor had been diagnosed with glioblastoma, what is known as malignant "octopus tumors." Together, Nicolette and my grandmother were united by this ravenous disease that invades and overtakes. Immediately, I broke into tears. Remembering my mother's previous texts of the day, mentioning heartbreak, devastation, and sadness, I gasped in all the air I could find to hold back the sobbing. I wanted to be strong for my mother – the same way my grandmother had been for all of us. It was as soon as we said goodnight that the unrelenting flood of emotion overcame me. There was no stopping the tears, even though I tried to remember my grandmother's saying that crying only makes your eyes puffy and your nose red. Sunday night, my looks didn't matter.

At just twenty-nine years old, Nicolette has now had her life taken from her for sixteen months. It was hard enough for me to understand why a seventy-five-year-old woman had to suffer, never mind this young soul. Even in the difficulties I face as I take bites into each new day this week, I must remind myself of the ingredients my grandmother gave to me for a delicious life:

1. There is ALWAYS more to give.

Grandma Margie gave, and gave, and gave. As an in-home nurse, she spent time around the clock giving up her time for the benefit of others. She never came around empty-handed. Whether it be a handwritten card or a present for a milestone birthday, she did this solely for the smile that lit up the room when she handed out her gifts. With her, there was always a piece of advice that you would not only listen to but use. Even in her time of pain, she still had all of this. A tradition that is still carried out in my family today is this: each time there is a celebration for yourself, whether it be a birthday or an achievement, always ensure that there is something for those who are surrounding you. These people are your support. Without them, would you be where you are? There is always more to give to those people – ways to thank them, make them proud, and more. Put everything you have into all you do. Give.

2. Never leaves sour. Always leave sweet. 

It's sort of like the saying for couples: never go to bed angry. But for her, it went beyond this. Grandma Margie ensured that she left each room better than when she entered it. Frowns were turned into smiles. Despair was turned into hope. The list goes on. Through these actions, my grandmother left this earth surrounded by others who saw something in her that I don't think she saw in herself. It was her light that shined, reflected, radiated, and has even grown since her passing in 2011. Choose to make something better.

3. A smile goes further than shedding suffering. 

In her final fourteen months with us, she suffered, daily. Chemotherapy. Radiation. Sterile bed sheets. Loneliness. Inability. But, she didn't see any of this. Instead, Grandma Margie saw the warmed butter croissant she would get at the hospital Au Bon Pain or the newest hat she would find at a local HomeGoods. She would look forward to the presents she could still give her grandchildren and the smile she might bring to the nurse's face with her snappy attitude. Yes, she still had it! My grandmother continued to let her light shine, regardless of her physical pain. She knew, inside, that this is what helped the ones that stood beside her. Whatever the moment had for you, offer something more positive to another.

All I have left is the memory, the taste. Somedays are sour. Somedays are sweet. For all of those remembering their loved ones, I encourage you, as I encourage myself, to remember this when smelling her perfume, hearing her favorite song, or seeing her favorite film: "It crosses your mind, and a smile comes to your lips before a tear to your eye. That's how you know. I promise you; I give you my word, I promise you, this I know. The day will come. That day will come" (Joe Biden, at John McCain's funeral).

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