Hello my beautiful flowers! Happy Wednesday! I hope everyone is having a fantastic week and getting through those dreaded work days (I wouldn’t know, I’m still unemployed).
ANYWAY, in my time of unemploymentness (I don’t think that’s a word, but let’s run with it), I’ve had the opportunity to do lots of things that I haven’t had the time to in the last four years. One of those being, what I’m writing about today, spending an afternoon with the OG zany lady: my grandmother.
You know, I’ve spent a decent amount of time with my grandmother over the years, from tea parties to birthday celebrations to overnight stays at her house; but it wasn’t until a couple days ago, as I sat in her apartment pool, listening to her tell stories about her life, that I realized how similar we are.
First thing’s first, my grandma is a total girl boss. Like, graduated from Georgetown University with a nursing degree, got a job right out of college (must be nice) and had various men fall in love with her over the years of working in the hospital (also, must be nice).
She is so nonchalant about this whole stage of her life. She’ll play it off and say, “it was easier back then” to get into Georgetown, or “of course they fell in love with me, they hadn’t seen any other woman for months”. But I know the truth, and it’s that she is an intelligent, strong, beautiful woman (of course the men couldn’t stay away).
Speaking of those “men”, my grandfather was thrown into the mix of the smitten patients begging for a date. My grandma is so funny telling the story about how they met. He was one of her patients in the hospital, and, like the rest of them, asked if she would go out with him.
“Usually I had no problem turning them down, but he was just so cute!”
But, it was strictly against the rules for the nurses to pursue any sort of romantic relationships with their patients. So, being the rule-follower she is, she told him no way, and went about her job as she always did.
“One day I walked into his room and his bed was empty. I thought, well, he’s either dead or got discharged. Either way, I was upset I didn’t get to say yes to a date with him. He was so charming, and I could see us hitting it off.”
Later that day, when my grandma finished her shift at the hospital, she walked outside to head home, and who did she see?
My charming grandfather, waiting out front, holding his discharge papers.
“I’m not a patient anymore.” He said with a smirk.
They went on their first date a couple days later at a fancy restaurant, hidden among trees, sparkling with candle light.
“How romantic!” I gushed as she told the story.
“Yeah, it was, but not because he was trying to be romantic. He just had expensive taste and refused to eat anywhere less than perfect.”
I started laughing at the thought of that, because it’s so true. My grandfather was always so put together, dressed to the nines, hair combed, cologne sprayed, and would never have been caught eating at a restaurant less than 4 stars.
“The rest is history,” my grandma told me.
Something about my grandparents you should know is that they are the most hard working people I know. He was a journalist for NBC, and she was a full-time nurse. They busted their butts everyday, doing what they were meant to do. They both loved their jobs so much, no wonder I have such large dreams about my future career.
“You both must have worked such long hours,” I told my grandma.
“We did, but we loved it. Every morning he would make me lunch, and pack it in a lunch box for me to take to work. He was always concerned about me, making sure I ate and stayed hydrated during my long shifts. Well, almost everyday I would forget to bring the lunch he made. He would have to come into the hospital and drop it off to me. He started writing me notes so I wouldn’t forget it. I thought, ‘oh how sweet, he’s thinking about me and writing me notes!’ but would still forget my lunch.
One day after he brought my lunch to me, the woman working the front desk pulled me aside, and said, ‘If I had a man that handsome making me a lunch that good every morning, I sure as hell wouldn’t forget it. Many women would die to be in your shoes.’ And I knew that. But I liked when he came to see me at work everyday to bring my lunch.”
“Grandma!” I laughed, “Were you forgetting your lunch on purpose so he would come see you at the hospital?!”
She smiled at me, and denied it, although we both know what the real answer is.
My grandma isn’t just an intelligent, professional woman, and a total heart-breaker, but she’s a writer. She told me a story about while she was still studying at Georgetown, she saw an open position for a copywriter for Hallmark cards. They were trying to recruit writers by having a contest at various colleges. She wrote poetry in her free time (mostly on napkins in cafes– she still does that), so she decided to enter. Of course she won, and Hallmark wanted to hire her full-time to be a copywriter (AGAIN, must be nice). She said she would have loved to take the job, but that her father would have been furious. She needed to finish nursing school and pursue a medical career.
It looks like she made the right decision, because girly didn’t retire from nursing until she was 80. You heard me right!! We all practically forced her to retire, she loved it that much. Man, I hope I love my job that much that people have to force me to retire.
Throughout her nursing career, she continued to write (on napkins, on menus, on toilet paper– wherever inspiration struck). I love that. I love that she passed down a passion to express myself through words.
My grandmother is creative, quirky, mega dramatic, lovely, elegant, intelligent, driven, and hilarious. She truly is the original zany lady. She is still cracking jokes and writing poetry on napkins at the age of 84. I can only hope that I turn out a fraction of the woman she is.
I’m thankful for the time I get to spend with my grandmother as an adult woman, and see the similarities between us. At the end of the day, women are women, regardless of age, regardless of generation, and we are all just trying to find our place in this world. We’re searching for a person or place or career that makes our hearts leap, that make us want to pursue it with everything we have. My grandma found all of those things. I pray that I do, too.