Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Grandmothers are magic

My paternal grandmother (Nanny) was a terrific grandmother. She always had candy and treats, she spoiled me with my favorite foods, she liked to take me out to lunch, and she taught me to love General Hospital.

She also stepped in to help my dad raise me, and was therefore a mom to me in a lot of ways. She taught me how to clean my room, to always say please and thank you, and to never wear white after Labor Day.

Nanny elevated being gracious to an art form. Some of my earliest memories are of me as a guest in other people's homes. I was taught to respect what isn't mine; in other words - hands off, no matter how shiny. I learned that, even if I didn't have to dishes at home, in someone else's house, I'd better roll up my sleeves. 

She definitely made it clear, as a kid, that these things were expected. But she also managed to get it through the thick head of an overly-privileged, spoiled little girl that it felt good to treat others with respect. She taught me that I'd feel better about myself treating my own stuff well - and treating others the same way. Don't ask me how she did that; clearly, she was magical. 

To this day, I do my best to be a gracious guest - even if I'm not technically a guest. There are plenty of homes that I visit on a semi-regular basis. Enough that those particular family and friends don't consider me "company."

But they're still helping me out - or at least putting up with me (which, I have on good authority, is not exactly easy). So, I do what I can; I never show up empty-handed, I say please and thank you, I accept whatever food they're offering - and I definitely always clean up after myself. 

I know people who don't do the same. Half-empty glasses of water (Some not even on coasters - eek!), dirty dishes and trash from their own cars laying around. Who does that? Who raised these people? How do they respect themselves, if they didn't even learn to respect others?! 

I guess that means this spoiled little kid was even luckier than she realized. 

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