When You Give A Girl A Grandmother

When You Give A Girl A Grandmother

You get an OG boss lady and a new generation boss lady.
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Growing up, I have been blessed with many relatives. Most girls get a delicate grandma who loves to bake cookies and crochet. I didn't quite get that Grandma. I did not receive a Grams, Grammy, or G-Ma. I got a sassy, dream-chaser, hard-ass Grandmother.

My Grandmother is one of the most determined people I know. She still chases her goals and dreams as a Great Grandmother, today. My Grandmother has always inspired me to "start now, don't wait until later." She has continued to encourage me even if I don't see her every day.

I could remember being younger and telling my Grandmother about these amazing recipes I wanted to try but I didn't know where to begin. Well, she'd move us to the kitchen, pick out one of her many cookbooks and tell me to start here. We'd spend a few hours trying a new recipe for mashed potatoes. We'd learn from the experience and teach each other a new trick.

I loved to play arts and crafts when I would come home from school. My Grandmother would let me use any office supplies I needed to make whatever that was in my head. There were endless possibilities when you handed me every color marker and any scrap of paper I could get my hands on. She would always compliment my work when it was dry. I like to believe this sparked my future for graphic design.

My Grandmother always talked to me like I was another person. I was not just a sixth grader going through middle school and hating life, I was a person with a voice. She gave me life advice and gave me the truth. She never sugar-coated the truth. I needed that someone who was real with me.

I watched my Grandmother typing and researching facts for years. From before I was born, she was writing and gathering for a history book. My whole life I knew she was working on something important. When I was in high school, the book was published. I remember seeing her hold a copy of the book and seeing the accomplishment in her eyes. Something that I had seen her work on my whole life was finally a reality. I only hope to make a project like that come to life someday.

My Grandmother is not a Grams, Grammy, or G-ma. My Grandmother is not like the other Grandmas out there because she is mine. She isn't a delicate little lady. She is a role model, a rock, a straight-forward woman. I hope to be as laid back as her someday. I hope to encourage my daughters that come after me, like my Grandmother has encouraged me. I hope to accomplish my dreams no matter how many years it takes. I hope to stop and smell the roses like she has. I am so blessed to have a Grandmother.

Cover Image Credit: Peggy Wunder-Moritz

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Dear Mom, I Hope You Know

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.
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Dear Mom,

I hope you know that I appreciate you.

You are the hardest working woman I know, continuously putting your family before yourself. Thank you for doing all of the tedious jobs that no one wants to do like keeping the house in order, cooking the food, and doing the laundry. Thank you for constantly putting up with my siblings and I. Thank you for always supporting us in our interests and hobbies. Thank you for investing in our daily lives and listening to our minor problems. Thank you for always loving us unconditionally.

SEE ALSO: 51 Things My Mom Didn't Think I Was Listening To...

I hope you know I'm sorry.

I know I can be a big pain in the butt sometimes, and for that I'm sorry. I'm sorry for yelling at you, arguing with you, not listening to you, and making dumb decisions at times, but thank you for loving me anyways. Thank you for helping me stand back up, teaching me right from wrong, and pushing me to be the very best version of me.

I hope you know your love inspires me.

You live your life with a love that is contagious. Whether its nurturing love, tough love, friendly love, or romantic love, you have it all and you show it daily. The love you and Dad share is something I hope to find one day and the love you have for your family is evident in the way you constantly put us first.

I hope you know that you are my biggest role model and hero.

Ever since I was a little girl, you have been the person I have looked to in my life. You are strong, independent, confident, loving, supportive, and nurturing-- everything I strive to be as a woman and as a future mother. You give the best advice, even when I don't always take it. Though, I should know better by now because mothers always know best. Without you in my life, I honestly don't know where I'd be.

I hope you know that you are my best friend.

Not only are you my biggest cheerleader supporting me in everything I do, you are the person I talk to about everything, whether it's good or bad. I'm honestly so thankful for the relationship we share because I've had countless screwups and you literally give the best advice. Seriously, thank you for being the person I can count on at all times, at any time of the day or even night to just talk with. I mean we really do have some of the best conversations, best laughs, best cries (when needed), and the most fun watching cheesy chick flicks together or going on crazy shopping adventures.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl With The Cool Mom

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.

I don't mean to make you cry or anything -- even though you probably already are, but I want you to know that when the time comes, I'm going to be there for you just like all of these years you've been here for me. I will be there to support you, talk with you, laugh with you, cry with you, and love you for all of my life.

Honestly, I can't really imagine my life without you -- but it doesn't matter because I wouldn't be here without you, so here's to you.

Thank you for being you.

Love you lots!

Your daughter.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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There Will Never Be A Home Like Your Grandparents' House

Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go.

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I didn't realize how essential families were to the holidays until I spent the holidays missing someone who wasn't there.

My grandpaMadelyn Neal

On Christmas Day, I went to my grandmother's home in small-town Kentucky to celebrate. I was particularly worried about how empty the house would feel without my grandfather. I couldn't help but think of what I would have gotten him for Christmas, his favorite catch-phrases that I would have heard non-stop, and even what he would have ordered at Domino's (yes, our traditional Christmas meal is takeout).

But despite it all, I had a nice Christmas, and it seemed as though maybe he wasn't as far away as he previously seemed.

Wedding photosMadelyn Neal

In the short weeks after he passed, I kept waiting to "feel his presence" or a sign from him, as everyone always says you will no doubt feel. That said, I realized that it was the things he left behind that really helped me to feel closer to him.

When we sat down to dinner, with his customary seat left open for him, it seemed to everyone at the table that for a moment, he was there with us.

When we made a fire in his fireplace and began to listen to the crackle, I could almost hear the typical accompanying snoring coming from his corner of the couch.

His go-to fishing pole on the deck of his pond seemed as if it was just resting after hours of use.

The next morning, when I went outside to feed his deer their daily cracked cornmeal, I swore they were listening for his whistle that signaled the dinner bell.

There truly is no place like grandmother's house.

Me and my grandmotherMadelyn Neal

There is nothing that soothes the soul better than taking on the task of feeding his deer friends, looking at old pictures and even trying on my grandmother's old wedding dress and mom's old prom dresses.

Wearing my grandmother's wedding dress.Madelyn Neal

In the spirit of New Year's resolutions, find your happy place, listen to the quiet and you'll find both yourself and your lost loved ones there. When the clock chimed at night, I felt the most at peace I have felt in a long time. I can't wait for the next visit to see my grandmother, because I know every time I visit, not only will I enjoy watching our favorite movies, learning how to knit and eating our delicious family specialties, but I'll also welcome the comforting feeling that what we have lost isn't lost, it's just not as visible as we would like.

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