Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lessons from Nana

You may recall that my mother's parents both died earlier in 2010. I feel bad that I wasn't blogging back when my father's parents died in 2002 and 2006--I worry my various posts about Nana and Grandpa this year suggests greater love or greater loss than I felt for Granny and Grandad several years back. But, the wounds are just fresher, of course. I feel especially for my mom this first Christmas without her parents, especially Nana, who followed her husband of 73 years in death much too quickly.

Today would have been Nana's 92nd birthday, and in honor of that fact, I thought I'd share these valuable life lessons she taught us--products of Depression-era thriftiness and her own creative resourcefulness.

1. If you didn't sweat or get your clothes dirty, you can wear them again the next day.

2. You can repurpose empty margarine tubs (or just about anything else) by covering the brand logo with a pretty scrap cut from wrapping paper or a greeting card.

3. If you are getting in the shower immediately after going #1, you don't have to wipe. (I never follow that one, but I think of her whenever I break that rule.)

4. If you don't have any pockets, your sleeve and your brassiere are excellent places to keep a tissue on hand.

5. Everything in moderation. I vividly recall having to pick just one of each color M&M out of the jar. That way, you only ate seven drops of heavenly goodness and had to be intentional about it.

6. Give kids choices. This one is echoed in every parenting book or magazine I read, and I first recall seeing it in action when Nana would ask whether I wanted the white cereal bowl or the red one, the yellow dinner plate or the orange one. (The logic is that if the child has control over some part of the decision, she is less likely to freak out at the parts that are nonnegotiable.)

7. Keep the spark alive. Nana's favorite story to tell about me as a child was how I once saw her putting on lipstick just before going to bed, and I asked why she would do that. "To look good for Grandpa," she told me, and I definitely didn't get it. (This is definitely one I have let slide since Kate was born. Sweatshirts are much more common sleepwear these days than satiny nighties. Alas.)

What lessons did you learn from your grandparents?


Laura said...

Thank you, Jess. I appreciate the
remembrance of my mom's birthday. I really miss her. Mom

Cindie said...

This blog was especially wonderful! First, My grandmother was "Nana" to me, also. And I remember her saying some of those very things to me, too. I asked her one time when I was young if she felt old and she told me you only look old on the outside, in your head you are always young. Now that I'm older, I've found that to be true, too. Grandmothers are very special.


EMU said...

Oh! This is darling. Especially the lipstick part! :)


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