This has been an extraordinarily hard week. For the country, for Orlando, and also for our entire family. This week we said goodbye to the matriarch of my husband’s family, Grandma Johnson. She has been someone I looked up to for almost 20 years, and I am so happy I was lucky enough to get to call her grandma. My older two have long adored their great-grandma, but my heart especially aches for my little one, Grandma Johnson’s mother’s namesake, who was only just beginning to get to know her. Though I can never replace the joy of having her in our lives, I will try my hardest to preserve her memory and carry on her legacy. I have so many things she taught me that I want to be able to share with my kids, so it seemed fitting to pay tribute by sharing the bits of wisdom she has imparted upon me in the two decades I had with her. With that, I give you my list of things I learned from Grandma Johnson:
- Never be scared of a little paint. Go on, paint that mural on your wall if you want to. You can always paint over it again if you change your mind. The same holds true for wallpaper.
- See the wonders of the world. Look for any excuse to travel – while you’re young, when your kids are little, when you get the opportunity to follow your kids on their travels, revisit favorite sites from your childhood, and never, ever stop traveling as you get old.
- It’s never too late. Get braces if you want them, invite your kids to live with you, play with toys if you want to.
- Just take the art class. You never know what doors will open if you go outside of your comfort zone and learn a new skill.
- Know yourself. Be willing to say no when you know something is not a good fit for you.
- There’s no such thing as too many decorations if they all mean something special to you. Surround yourself with the things that you love to look at and you will always keep loved ones and cherished memories close.
- Wear the fanny pack if you want to. Comfort beats high style any day.
- Family is everything. Trace your family tree and really learn your ancestry. Honor those who have passed by sharing their stories and pictures with the next generation.
- Keep on laughing. Life’s too short to take yourself too seriously.
- Don’t listen to naysayers. Their negativity is their issue, not ours.
- Enjoy nature’s shows. Stay up late for the star show, watch that thunderstorm, set a timer for the blue moon, get up early for the sunrise, and never stop enjoying the beauty around you.
- Get yourself a comfortable chair/couch/loveseat and declare a spot as yours. Cover it in a favorite blanket and stake your claim. Life’s too short to mess around with uncomfortable seats.
- Celebrate your uniqueness. The world would be boring if it was filled with bland people, and a house is boring without at least 5 patterns in each room. Eclectic design is in, every season.
- Find a pair of shoes you love and buy enough to last a lifetime. Reebok hightops will never go out of style, right?
- Board games are the best way to end an evening, and they are best paired with something sweet.
- Leave a legacy of love. Spend quality time with your children, your grandchildren, and your great grandchildren and get to know them as individuals. The love you share with them will continue long after your last breath.
We love you, Grandma Johnson.