Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Personal Heroes: My Grandma Devine

My Grandma Ann Devine is my hero because she was the first person to teach me about unconditional love. My grandma and I got along very well, like two peas in a pod. She fostered my love of cooking and eating vegetables, real ones like cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, eggplant, artichokes, lima beans, fennel, asparagus, jicama and turnips. She always encouraged me, supported my interests and even once told me she saw a fortune teller that told her I would do great things. When she died in 1981 I was a devastated 16 year old.

There are two memories that I want to share with you that I think illustrate my relationship with my grandma. The first takes place when I am in grade school. I am unfortunately born in the month of August, which means that having a successful child's birthday party is not a likely proposition, what with most kids on vacation with their families or at summer camp. I insisted on having a party despite the unlikelihood that my guests would attend and somehow it was my grandma that became responsible for chaperoning my party. Predictably, only one guest arrived. Thankfully, my grandma made my party a success by spending the entire time keeping me and my guest engaged, entertained and happy. Her presence and participation turned my initial disappointment into a pleasant memory.

My second memory takes place in adolescence. As well as my grandma and I got along, my mother and I did not get along. Adolescence was a difficult time for me, filled with numerous fights with my mother. I started calling my mother a bitch in response to her venomous jabs at me. My grandma asked me about the strife between us and let me talk while she listened with interest. She offered some suggestions, things I could do to deal with the situation, Then she said, "Why do you call your mother a bitch? Why don't you call her a witch instead?" Her comment demonstrated to me that she empathized with my
plight, although she did wanted me to clean up my language.

I have many more memories like these that I think demonstrate how much my grandma loved me. What I don't have are any memories of my grandmother ever being angry or cross with me. Even when she didn't agree with how I was behaving, calling my mother a cuss word, she had a positive way of bringing it to my attention so I could hear what she said without feeling judged or punished. In the sixteen years we had together, I never had a reason to doubt my grandma's love.

There is a poem I want to share with you and I think is a good analogy for my life and how my relationship with my grandma fit into it:
God never promised
A life without pain,
Laughter without tears
Or sun without rain.
But He did promise
Strength for the day,
Comfort for the tears
And light for the way
And for all who believe
In His Heaven above
He rewards their faith
In His everlasting love.
~Author Unknown~
For me, my grandma's unconditional love was my sun, my laughter, my strength, my comfort and a bright light in my life. These are the reasons that she is my HERO.

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