Connections to Grandparents Nurture Family Tree
March 7, 2023
Baking cookies, playing board games, hiking up the beautiful California paths, painting, and having fashion shows with my sister in my grandma’s closet. What do these things all have in common? They are parts of prominent memories from my childhood that involve my grandparents. I am incredibly lucky to not only have a set of grandparents I am able to see a few times a year, but to have the ones that care as much as they do and have influenced my life in such a positive way. I can say with absolute certainty that the best pieces of advice I have been given have come from my grandparents.
I distinctly remember the moment I learned more about my grandfather, William, and his childhood. It was a hot summer day and we sat together on the porch and he explained to me his life in Syria. He grew up with plenty of siblings to keep him company, and all worked hard to achieve their goals. He told me stories about being ranked number 1 in Syria and explained to me that applying yourself is more important than anything. I have never felt more inspired and believed in than I did in that moment. He inspired me to care and helped me understand that I can do anything I set my mind to. Matthew Sun ‘24’s grandparents have also taught him lessons regarding how to live a full life commenting that “Something that from just watching them in general is just love what you do. Love what you want to do and lead a happy life.” His grandparents showed this to him by “just being present with me when I was little, always having fun and trying to be happy in the moment.”
Academics aren’t the only lesson they’ve given to me. My grandmother is the kindest and most patient person I have ever met. I vividly remember her explaining examples of when she had benefited from being nice to others. She has taught me that being kind is vital, however if that kindness isn’t reciprocated, then I shouldn’t bend over backwards for those people. My grandmother, Mooneen, is an artist and I love thinking about our moments painting together or playing around with loose fabric. Any time she comes to visit my family, she always leaves when I am not home. Her solution to this is leaving little notes around my room for me to find when I get home. How happy these have made me helped me realize that little acts of kindness can drastically improve someone’s day. Kiana Poul ‘24 says that “My grandma is very kind. She’s a very quiet woman so whenever we have conversations or meals together she’s very quiet but any of the stuff that she says is very valuable. So she has taught me that quiet people sometimes have the most important things to say.”
Impact on Life
Throughout my life, I have been so lucky and grateful to have had all four of my grandparents and one great grandmother in my life to look up to and learn from. My Baubie, Zadie, and Big Baubie (on my mom’s side) have lived in Minnesota, while my Nonny and Poppy (on my dad’s side) have lived in Los Angeles for my whole life. My grandparents who live in Minnesota, I am able to see all the time and visit, and my Grandparents who live in LA, I love to visit with. With all five of my grandparents, I have been able to go on amazing adventures and trips while forming bonds and unforgettable memories with them.
My grandparents on both sides advocate for staying close to one another and seeing each other as frequently as possible. Before my great-grandmother passed away this past year, she always said to my family and those around her, “There’s always room for more at the table.” She taught me to welcome everyone with open arms and be kind to all, even when I don’t love them.
Although my grandparents all have taught me to prioritize family above everything else, they have each brought me different memories and lessons that I will always hold in my heart. For example, my Baubie has brought me memories of shopping till you drop, even when I drop faster than her, and my Nonny has brought me and my cousins many laughs on her upcoming ‘grandkids lesson’ on how to “find an appropriate mate.” My Zadie always makes my family smile whether it’s dancing to Johnny Be Good, or him feeding the wild animals on every trip we have been on. My Poppy has inspired me and my family to be fascinated by our family history and learn about different cultures and languages. Lastly, my Big Baubie was a rock to my family, holding everyone together and always telling stories. Some of her famous quotes which I have brought with me throughout my life are “There’s no such thing as sick,” and “You can have a fight and then get over it.”
Molly Seidel ‘24 has a very close relationship with her grandfather, who also has influenced her life greatly. Seidel spends a lot of time with him, whether it is family dinners, watching football games during the season, celebrating holidays together, or talking for large amounts on the phone. She has loved her tradition of celebrating Christmas days with him while eating great food. Seidel has always been “inspired by his drive and umm who he is as a person. I just think he’s a really genuine person and I admire him a lot, so I definitely take him as one of my biggest inspirations.”
One specific memory that Seidel will always cherish was their drive home from school together. When Seidel was in middle school, her grandpa used to pick her up every day from school and drive her home. Not only was that extremely nice of him, but she got to have one-on-one time with him and talk about both of their days while bonding. Although there are no specific objects that connect Seidel to her grandfather, she explains that he gives the gift of his time and support, always being invested in her family’s lives and who is always there for them.
I, as well as Seidel and many others, have learned so much over the years from our grandparents that we will carry throughout our lives. It’s important to cherish every moment that one has with their grandparents and always be appreciative of having such amazing people in one’s life.