My new year’s resolution is to do more of this. Every day.
I witnessed this way of living early on, from a beautiful, confident, independent woman, my Grandma Janet. Growing up in the same town meant my sister and I were lucky enough to get to spend lots of time with her from a very young age. The stories I hear about her from my dad and aunt and grandpa are truly entertaining and I certainly gathered some of my own.
Laugh. Everything I remember doing with her involved laughter. From watching Hee-Haw and thinking it was the funniest thing we’d ever seen, to performing our own concerts in the car to Ray Charles, to getting to make a fun mess painting ceramics, everyday was about doing something fun. New Years Eve will always belong to Grandma Janet in my mind. That is my parent’s wedding anniversary, so we spent that night with her until we were in our early teens. Every year was a party! Every year we pulled out all of her pots and pans to bang at midnight. Every year we watched New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Dick Clark and sang and danced. And every year we never made it to midnight to bang those pots and pans. But that was okay, she let us do it the next morning. Every year!
Play. Our game of choice at Grandma’s was “dress up”. She had a closet full of clothes and shoes and accessories that were ours to create whatever look we wanted. She had a jewelry box that was pretty much free reign and we got to 18 or 20’s on a regular basis (see "The Point System" to understand this reference). She had one of those mirror trays that held all of her perfume and we invented our own scents. But, the make-up drawer was the best. Filled with eye shadows, blush, mascara, dozens of lipsticks, nail polishes. Well, let’s just say we were always “dolled up” at Grandma Janet’s. We created our own looks and did shows and pretended to be characters for years. It was a creative version of play that I still enjoy to this day! The best part was that she treated it as just a normal thing. We’d get all dressed up and then she’d take us to Sonic or the drugstore or the grocery store and I’ll tell you, that is where I learned to just OWN it. I’m not sure if we didn’t think it was odd because Grandma didn’t or if we knew we were in on some sort of joke, but it was only in the past few years that we told my mom that her daughters were carted all around town in dresses, high heels, more makeup than a pageant queen, and smelling like a perfume factory. That was kind of fun in itself!
Indulge. It was always about a treat at Grandma’s. We got to have those things we didn’t get often at home. Sonic, ice cream sundaes, McDonalds, chili cheese hot dogs, popcorn at the movies, and a few times candy cigarettes. I now know that you can’t live like that. It creates a lot of problems, some of which my Grandma had. But, there is something to be said for the occasional indulgence. It evokes feelings of joy, it’s comforting, and it’s fun. And I’m glad she taught me that. Here’s raising my gin and tonic to Grandma Janet!