Last Sunday’s Grandparents Day celebrations began me thinking of my daughter’s relationships with my parents and my relationship with my grandparents.
My grandfather is the inspiration for my company, my lifestyle, and the way that I treat others. He was dedicated, loyal, honest, and an optimist. I had no idea the depth of his good deeds until over 100 people showed up at his memorial service to share about things that he had done for them. I knew very few of them and had heard even less of the stories. He did these deeds not for the recognition but for the reward of helping others. I do my best to ensure that I work hard not to earn more money but to earn more respect because of him and to make a difference.
My grandmother was gorgeous. She was a highly sought-after professional model and exuded confidence and beauty well into her 80s. She was always the center of attention and spared no expense on her happiness and dreams. I spent more time with her at salons than parks. And as a young girl, I was dining on foods that most could not even pronounce. It felt like I was part of a royal family when I was with her. She commanded both respect and reverence from almost every place she entered. My grandfather adored her and I remember longing for a husband who would look at me the way that he looked at her.
My father’s entire world revolves around my eldest daughter. My youngest is only 7 months old so she spends most of her time with me. But my 6-year-old never misses an opportunity to follow her grandfather around to do chores or have some sort of adventure. She idolizes him and never wants to disappoint him. If Grandpa is doing it then it has to be super cool and she wants to be in on it. She runs to him, arms outstretched, every time she sees him…even if it’s only been a matter of minutes since their last embrace.
My mother is the perfect caregiver. She sacrifices everything for the happiness of others. Looking at the woman my grandmother was and the person that my mother is, I am in awe. They could not be more different. My grandmother was…selfish. My mother is the most selfless person on the face of this planet. She puts everyone’s feelings and priorities above her own. My daughter’s room is FULL of toys. My mother simply cannot turn down an opportunity to make her granddaughters smile and create joy in their lives. She lives to please others.
When she and my father owned their own business, she often triple- and quadruple-checked with customers to ensure their needs were exceeded. That led to exceptional customer service and dedicated customers. She was so incredibly successful at what she accomplished. And she’s so humble that to this day, I don’t think she knows how amazing she is.
When I pondered all of this, I smiled at how I took the best parts of my grandparents and built the person I am today. I sprinkled in the aspects of my parents that I respect and admire. And since these individuals were so important to me and I love them so much, I even gave them the ultimate promotion: To pass on the best parts of them to another generation.
I hope that my grandparents are proud of the children I’m raising with lessons that they taught me two generations ago. I strive to make my parents proud of the grandchildren that I’m raising in their image and presence. And I look forward to some day (IN THE VERY DISTANT FUTURE) to watching my children pass on my lessons to their children.
Thank you to all the generations before me that passed their lessons onto their children and grandchildren!