It’s hard to find a memory of my childhood without my grandmother. She was a part of every important moment in the first nearly twenty-five years of my life. I remember summer days on the beach, late nights at the local church bingo, and more shopping trips than my fingers can count.
My grandmother was one of the most remarkable women I’ve ever known – and not just because she was my grandma. She was, in many ways, a second mother to me. While my own mother worked day and night to provide for us, my grandma would spend her afternoons picking me up from nursery school and tending to my every need. We would paint our nails, try on her extensive collection of shoes, coats, and purses, and parade about in the mall like we just won the lottery.
As I grew, my grandmother became a role model. She showed me what it meant to survive, to be on your own – to make a life out of what the world chewed up and spit out. She was beautiful, compassionate, and hilarious.
No one could tell a funny story like my grandmother, and especially not when my mother, aunt, and grandma were all together late at night, sipping tea, and remembering the trying times of childhood, adulthood, and the life before us.
I got married on my grandmother’s seventy-sixth birthday, nearly five years after her passing. While bittersweet, it was my way of keeping her memory alive.
Michelle Bauer – Chief Operating Officer of the National Committee of Grandparents for Children’s Rights