I think anyone who has a grandparent in his or her life is blessed, especially if they are a beacon of unconditional love for their grandkids, like my Grandma Sue. A ripe 102 years old, my grandma—still calling me “little Tasha Lou” even though I’m 44—has always been a wonderful supporter and role model to me over the years (and thinks my kids are wonderful to boot, even when they are acting like complete jackasses).
I had the rare treat of visiting Grandma Sue this summer. She lives a province away and I don’t often get the chance to see her, so I decided to asked her for some advice.
Being 101 years old, having raised 6 children, lived through two world wars, emigrated to a new country and generally spent her time being an incredibly accepting woman, I thought I should take the opportunity to ask her for some advice. As morbid as it may sound, she may not be around next summer to ask.
Tasha Lou: “If you were going to give any advice to girl and boys of today, what would it be?”
Being very British, she started by apologizing for being too old to give advice that sounded intellectual and profound, and then proceeded to do just that.
Grandma Sue: “At 101 years old, I think the only thing that truly matters in life is family. The people who matter to me the most are my children and my grandchildren, and I would tell young people of today, that you cannot go wrong in life if you always work hard at whatever you choose to do, and try to not hurt anyone else intentionally.”
So sweet, simple, and true. The piece I would add to my Grandma’s advice, that I hope future generations of young people (as well as my own future grandchildren) would internalize is this: if you do hurt someone, whether intentional or not, you hold yourself 100% accountable. This means taking ownership of your actions, and working to atone for your behavior. Crappy, sad and tragic things happen to us over the course of our life, but we can’t blame someone else for how we feel. We choose how we show up in this world.
To all amazing grandparents out there, thank you for your love and patience. Without you, your grandchildren wouldn’t be what they are today.