What my grandparents taught me

What is it with me and those random anniversaries and holidays lately? First those  snippets on Sunday  [I still don’t know where they came from]. And then the other day I came across a list of holidays I’d never heard of. Then again it’s not too surprising I wouldn’t know about national holidays in the US. Either way,  there are some that should be celebrated worldwide. Or did you know that September 7th was National Grandparents Day?

They say that boys were looking for a girl who’s like their mum – and girls for a boy who’s like their dad.  While I wouldn’t mind the latter,  either, I hope to find a guy who’s like my grandpa when I grow up [because I clearly am not yet …]. My grandpa is not only a talented craftsman like nobody else I know [he’s well known for those abilities and gets a lot of requests], active .. . Plus he’s the world’s best hug giver and that obviously matters.

And my grandma? Like my mum she’s one if the best listeners and sweetest persons I’m blessed to have in my life. Always there to listen to me, calm me down, teach me how to bake the best cookies ever, … But wait, I meant to talk about something else:

During all the time I’ve spent with my grandparents so far they’ve [uninentionally] taught me a lot about life. So let’s take a moment to thank – and think out loud about – grandparents for the wisdom they offer us.

Thinking-Out-Loud

Life would be boring if all of us looked alike and had the same talents.

This is actually something my grandpa told my sister when she was unhappy about something she’d failed at. And it’s so true: we weren’t all born to be either math geniuses or models. All of us bring their very unique personalities and talents into this world  so in cooperation we can change things and create the world we want to live in. We can learn from and help each other and it’s what ties us together and what makes friendships that much more important.

When you have a dream you don’t let anything stop you.

Though neither of them speaks a language aside from German or Polish my grandma and grandpa are avid travelers.  They’ve spent countless Easter holidays skiing in France, used to drive all the way to Spain for a month every year [my grandpa’s a passionate surfer] and even hopped on a plane to the US. They have trust in things working out in their favour. And these times when it doesn’t …

When life hits you hard, you stumble, fall and take up walking again.

Years ago my grandfather had a heart attack that hit him out of nowhere. All of a sudden he, who’d always been active, out and about and unstoppable had to slow down. Got breathless more easily. It really hurt him mentally, too, and we were worried he’d grieve forever knowing he’d never be able to get his old life back. Fast forward to today: grandpa’s [almost] his old self again. He might have had to give up very strenuous activities like surfing but he found new ones to pursue. We have the ability to turn bad situations around if we choose so.

It’s about the people.

This goes along the lines with be thankful. Like many people from the older generation my grandparents worked hard to raise their children and offer them a good life – yet never complained. Being with family is still what matters most to them to this day. Another part of this is finding happiness in non-materialist ways. The generation of our grandparents usually experienced poverty and didn’t pile up goods. They learned to get by with little and find joy in the little things.

You don’t have to like everybody but accept them the way they are.

The best way they taught me this was in their relationship with their neighours. A slightly … eccentric family. Endless chatterbugs, annoying like no others and obtrusive at times. Yet my grandparents don’t show any annoyance or ignore that family. They taught me that I should respect others – unless they didn’t respect me, either.

Forgive – others and yourself.

Grandparents are some of the least resentful people in our lives. The times we forget to call them back. The times we refuse to let them hug or kiss us during our too-cool-for-everything teenager years. When we approach them again they’ll welcome us back and offer help regardless of what happened. And that’s what they’re conveying to us, too. Just like the fact that we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about mistakes from the past.

I could go on endlessly but I think you caught my drift already and can think of additional ones. Life’s biggest lessons aren’t part of any school’s curriculum. We learn them from the people in ours lives. Especially those we love and who love us.

Another couple of warm socks in the make.

Grandma’s handy work: Another couple of warm socks in the make.

**At first I was also going to include what my grandparents taught me about the relationship with food and exercise is a wholly different chapter for another day …

Happiness-inducing today: The fact that while it’d been really cold in the morning by the time I headed out for a walk in my lunch break it had cleared up and I was greeted by sunshine.

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Your turn: Brag/gush/ sing about your grandparents and tell me what you learned from them.

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4 thoughts on “What my grandparents taught me

  1. Ms.J says:

    International grandparents day..well fancy that! That’s brilliant 🙂 . And it was incredible learning some of the wise lessons passed on to you. While as off right now I don’t have grandparents around any longer – I was blessed enough to partake in the company of one from each side as a kid ❤ . I may not have been ready to soak in any wisdom as a playful brat, but boy it was marvelous to bask in such unconditional love.

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Never underestimate unconscious learning. Just like with picking up a language from our parents and everybody else around us as children I’m convinced we’re not left untouched by the way others – like our grandparents – act and treat others, either. I’m sure part of your kind personality stems from wonderful grandparents. (:

  2. Amanda @ .running with spoons. says:

    Your grandparents sound like wonderful people 🙂 Sadly, I never really got a chance to know my grandparents since they live back in Poland and I’ve only been able to see them on a couple of occasions. I’ve always been kind of jealous when I hear people talk about huge family gatherings or getting together with a cousin or something because, for me, family has always meant only Mom and Dad. And now that I only have one grandma left, there’s really no way to change that 😦

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Sorry to hear you missed out on the grandparent experience for the most part. Family gatherings are truly wonderful – aside from the occasional arguments and not-so-happy experiences. But I’m sure your parents and good friends around made up for all of that.

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