They Are… my maternal grandparents: Poppop – Jesse and Nana – Janet
My favorite memory is … When I was eleven or twelve, I remember that I was privilaged to spend a few days by myself at my grandparents’ house. My grandmother spend the next few days teaching me how to sew. She first took me to the store to pick out my own pattern and fabric. Then she showed me how to cut the pattern out and use a straight pin. She patiently watched as I fumbled with a sewing machine to create my first pair of overalls. I was so proud of my first outfit I sewed with my grandmother, and I never forgot the few days they showered me with love and patience.
They influenced my life when I was a child by … always taking time to give me personal and individualized attention. When I would visit my grandparents with my family, the time was usually split between my other two siblings and my parents. Whenever they would talk to me or play with me, they would show that they listened to me by asking questions about my personal interests and likes. I always loved dolls growing up, and my grandmother took time to create new outfits for me to dress them in. My grandfather would ask specific questions about my school year or what sport I was into. I was impacted by their individualized attention they showed me, and I will never forget how important they made me feel.
They nurtured and cared about me through… taking the time to invest in me personally. They also spend countless hours with me, from playing to reading to just talking. Whenever we did spend time together, their attention and devotion was focused directly towards me. They took time to learn about what interested me and what activity I was involved in at school. They showed their care for me through respecting me. Even though I was just a child, I always felt just a little bit taller when I was around them. They nurtured and cared about me through making me feel like the most important person in the world.
They made me feel special by … treating me with respect. When interacting with a child, it is easy to treat that child like a child. However, whenever I spend time with my grandparents, even as a child, I never truly felt like “a child.” I always felt like I was a person treated with respect and dignity. I felt years about my age when I was around my grandparents. I felt important because they took time to invest in my life by talking about what I liked. When I received a gift from them, it was somehow tied into my interests at that time. I felt special to my grandparents because they respect me and treated me like an important person, no matter what my age was.
Their influence continues today … Now that I am an adult, my interests and likes have changed significantly. Rather than talking about the latest doll, we discuss what my job was like yesterday. My grandmother sometimes has a hard time remembering the details about my life, and my grandfather is aging as well. Yet, every time I visit them, they impress me by remembering the smallest details about my life. They remember what job I have and what church I’m going to. They ask me how I feel about current events that interest me. Through this, I still feel important to them. They don’t let their old age stop them from taking a profound interest in me. They work harder now to remember what I am doing currently. I am deeply influenced by their love and respect they have had for me from childhood into adulthood.