15 years ago today, my Nanny passed away. She fought a long, hard battle with cancer and in the end, the cancer won. It was a terrible day in my life for so many reasons and, although I’m sad that she’s missed so many important events like my wedding and the birth of my daughter (her only granddaughter. My daughter is named after her in Hebrew), I’m glad that she’s not suffering anymore.
I was never as close with my Nanny as I am with my other grandmother, but as I get older, I realize I’m more like her than I knew when she was alive. She was a wonderful, warm woman who loved her children and lived for her grandchildren. Plus, she was a mean cook, collected animal figurines out of those Red Rose tea bag boxes (awesome!) and she was creative (seriously. She was an opera singer in her native Canada). She’s a woman I’m proud to call my Nanny and I’m proud that I’m like her. I can’t imagine being like anyone else.
Here are just a few ways her legacy has been passed on to me:
I’m stubborn. My family used to joke that my Nanny could out stubborn a mule. It’s true, too. And I’m just like her. Don’t tell me I can’t do something. The more you tell me I can’t, the more I’m going to try to do it just to prove you wrong. This worked out really well when I was paying off debt. People might have doubted that I could do it but that simply stoked my internal fire to get it done faster.
I’m independent. I hate asking for help. I would prefer to struggle, scream, cry and tear my hair out trying to figure out how to do something before I will ask for help (see above re: being stubborn). Through this I have learned that I am very adept a climbing on counters to reach things in high places and the handle of a spoon is a very effective tool for opening jars.
I appreciate what I have. My grandparents never lived in a house. They lived in a 2 bedroom apartment in Queens until my grandmother passed away. At one point in my dad’s childhood, they were living 6 people in that apartment (and a few cats). I never once heard my grandmother complain or lament that she never lived in a house. While I do hope to have a new house and a freelance writing career, I am grateful for the house and job I do have now. Because I know there are people who have a lot less.
I have an overwhelming need to feed people. My Nanny, like every good Jewish grandmother, was obsessed with making sure we were fed. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, she was always asking us if we wanted something to eat. I do the same. I will bake cookies for fun, and cooking Thanksgiving dinner is actually fun for me. Whenever someone comes to my house, I have to ask if he or she is hungry or thirsty. I’m am Jewish mother. I can’t help it.
Although I miss her, I know that my Nanny is a part of me and now, my daughter. I’m fortunate to carry on the legacy of such a strong woman.
In honor of my Nanny, this month’s Bloggers Give Back donation will be made to my local chapter of the American Cancer Society.