Lessons Learned from my Biggest Role Model

OK – this feels wrong to start a post and not begin with my 44 but I’m going to try.  On the weekend I will share the entire week of Daily 44s.

Mema's 80th birthday party
Mema’s 80th birthday party

For most of my life I was super blessed with the best role model any girl could ever wish for – my grandma (Mema). 

this is how my grandparents posed most of the time
this is how my grandparents “posed” most of the time

My grandmother taught me early on how much fun shopping was.  She was an expert shopper!  During all of that shopping she showed compassion to many people.  No one was ever “beneath” Mema – she treated everyone equally and fairly!!

spring 1998
spring 1998

Mema believed that a woman should always be “put together” and that meant – dressed nicely, hair done and LIPSTICK.  I have probably let her down in this area a lot – I love to be in workout wear and often skip makeup all together!!

even when she lost her sight she still looked at Poppa
even when she lost her sight she still looked at Poppa

Mema was very SOCIAL!!!  She would talk to anyone and everyone about the most personal things.  Many times I remember thinking that the lady at the Bealls counter or the cashier at the Chinese restaurant  didn’t need to know quite so much about me but….

Poppa's 94th birthday
Poppa’s 94th birthday

Mema taught me how to be a “worker.”  I spent many summers with my grandparents and I worked!  I helped in the garden, did chores around the house and worked in the kitchen.  Mema cooked like Paula Deen before anyone knew who Paula Deen was.  If a little butter was good, a lot of butter was better!!!  There was never a bad dish at my grandmothers!!

Even though we worked hard, we also rested.  Every day after lunch we all would find a nice spot and nap (them) or read (me) for 30 minutes – I loved that time!

rest
rest

My grandparents together taught me what true love is.  I don’t think I ever heard either one of them say a cross word at or about the other.  I know they didn’t always agree about things but they knew what was important – LOVE!!!

May 25, 1996 a few special words right before my wedding
May 25, 1996
a few special words right before my wedding

Mema always had time for her family.  I think that family was truly the most important thing in her world and we always knew it!!!  I talked to Mema at least once a week from the time I went to college until the very end of her life.

2000
2000

Mema loved her great grandkids.  I know that even though she understood why we lived in Kansas, she always hated that we were so far away.  I hope that my boys had enough time with Mema and Poppa to know how very special they both were!!!

Mema couldn't see much by this time but she was still studying Hunter!!
Mema couldn’t see much by this time but she was still studying Hunter!!

Mema taught me that you didn’t have to be musical to appreciate good music.  I think I got my musical ability from her (none!!) but I still love to listen to music.  She would have loved hearing the boys play their instruments!!

listening even when she couldn't see
listening even when she couldn’t see

In the last few years of her life, Mema taught me so many lessons!!  She taught me that no matter how hard life becomes and no matter what comes your way, you just have to stay strong in your faith.  

I feel sure that Mema was making sure Poppa was "eating right" (her way!)
I feel sure that Mema was making sure Poppa was “eating right” (her way!)

I think that Mema is the one who taught me the art of making sure that people do things the “right” way!!!  She was good at convincing Poppa to eat certain things or not eat them.  I think really it all just goes back to the complete love they had for each other!!

Mema and Poppa loved to travel and went to many places and many different countries over the years.  Even with traveling though, Mema taught me that home was always the best place to be.  I still feel that way!!

this picture was after Mema had bypass surgery - I went down for a week to help take care of her
this picture was after Mema had bypass surgery – I went down for a week to help take care of her

Losing her sight was hard!!  (She had macular degeneration.)  I know that it frustrated her to not be able to see her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.  Yet, she rarely complained.  In fact, I don’t think I ever really heard her complain even during the last 2 years when I know that she was unhappy because she wanted to be home with Poppa instead of in a nursing home.

always joy!!

always joy!!

I remember watching Mema open a gift and be able to figure out what it was even without seeing it!!!

fun!!
fun!!

Even in the nursing home, Mema tried to show her family a good time.  It wasn’t quite the entertaining that she used to do.  That is another thing she taught me – how to be a good host.  She was an incredible hostess and nothing made her happier than having a large group of friends and/or family to feed and entertain!!

January 2011
January 2011
Mema & Poppa with Aunt Jackie
Mema & Poppa with Aunt Jackie
the last good visit I had with Mema
the last good visit I had with Mema

I was fortunate to have Mema in my life as many years as I did.  I was 41 when she died.  (February 6, 2011)  Thankfully, I was able to go down in late January of 2011 and then I went down again in early February.

2011
2011

I spent the last 2 days and nights of Mema’s life with her and held her hand when she took her very last breath.  I applied some of the lessons she had taught me over the years and just let her know how very much I loved her and always would!!!

2001 (Sam & Stacy's wedding)
2001 (Sam & Stacy’s wedding)

I have missed my grandma every day for just over 3 years.  Today would have been her 88th birthday!!!  Happy Birthday, Mema – I will always love you!!!

I hope that at the end of my life I can look back and be able to know that I made Mema proud!!!

Who is your biggest role model?
What lessons did you learn from them?

Happy Monday!!

Kim

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge