Lessons I Learned from Nana

My grandmother, my last remaining grandparent, passed away last week at the age of 92. We called her “Nana.” She wasn’t the kind of person who sat around dispensing nuggets of wisdom, but I learned a lot about life just from her example. Hey, if you can’t learn something from someone who’s cleared 92 years, you’re just not paying attention.

Here are just a few of her best life lessons:

sweet+potato+dinner+rolls+22You need another dinner roll: Do you already have a dinner roll? Well, you’ll probably eat it soon, so here’s another one. Just pulled it out of the oven. You’ve already had four? You must really like them. Here’s another one. It’s warm.

Not only would Nana not eat until everyone had food, she literally would not stop serving until everyone was so full they physically couldn’t stop her from giving them more. If you put up a fight, she’d just cram another roll in your mouth. Only when your speech started slurring from mashed potato overdose would she sit down and eat.

Don’t touch anything in the living room: Nana was a person well aware of how much work it took to have nice things. In her house was the den, where family fun and TV watching took place, and the living room, where you had to sit in such a way that the nap of the sofa cushions stayed brushed uniformly in the same direction. If something is worth working for, it’s worth taking care of, and covering with a plastic slip cover, and putting in a room where no one ever goes.

The Braves are probably going to be terrible: My grandparents were longtime Atlanta Braves fans. So long that the period of success the Braves had in the 90’s and early 00’s was a relatively thin slice of their lifetime experience with Braves suckitude. Even in the middle of that period, Nana never took winning for granted. She started every conversation about baseball with, “Are the Braves ever going to win another game?” No, ma’am. Probably not.

Get your hair done every Thursday whether you need it or not: There’s something to be said for taking time for yourself, and being consistent about it. I never saw Nana when her hair wasn’t coiffed and hair-sprayed thoroughly enough to deflect a bullet. However, she still made a point of getting to the hair salon every Thursday. I can’t say for sure, but I might guess that once her ‘do passed a certain point on the Mohs scale, her visits had less to do with hair and more to do with just having a little “me time.” And that ain’t a bad thing.

The kids will be fine: Until my grandfather died a few years ago, my grandparents lived in a house they built themselves with a big porch off the back. On one end of the porch, there was a fifteen foot drop to the ground. There was never a guard rail and never even a discussion about installing one. My sister, my cousins, and I played on that porch, unsupervised, constantly. No one was ever injured. Amazingly, we were all smart enough to stay away from that edge and only jump off where it was close enough to the ground to be safe.

So there you go — just a few life lessons from my Nana. Feel free to take and apply to your own life as needed.

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