I thank God for my Grandma. Her words can move mountains and her silence could end wars. Her strength, resilience, ever-present wisdom and humility continually leave me in awe. I can’t recall a time when she has vocalized or modeled arrogance. I have never witnessed any self-serving expectations or need for praise— she simply gives love and it organically returns. She exudes confidence, sure of who she is and what she knows to be true. There’s no room for boasting or lacking. Authenticity and realness course through her with such an unpretentious yet visible purpose and grace. Grandma is grace.
The moment anyone meets her, this beauty of hers is so evident. She makes people feel seen and heard, validating your existence with softness while firm and at times a bit sassy in the delivery. Without a doubt she’s both fire and calm—especially when it comes to family. She is fiercely proud of her family and protective, but not in a hovering or meddling way. In more of a, I care about how your heart is treated way. She wants to see us cared for properly by ourselves and by others.
I am thankful that she knows me. Her knowing and way of loving, has helped me know myself in so many ways. When I spoke to her the other day, she reminded me: “I don’t give advice,” leaving space for me to be able to find me. In that space of no advice, she listens. She relates with a story. Looks at you. “Well, figure it out,” she says.
She will ask me from time to time, “Are you happy?”. That question alone gives space for self-reflection. Vulnerability. Strength. Accountability. A mental health check-in for growth. She also reminds me to stay on my “p’s” & “q’s”. True to form, she helps me cultivate my awareness in life and it has translated into motherhood. I do my best to tap into her wisdom. She is a profoundly wise judge of character. She has this ability to see who’s good for you and who means good by you.
I can say with certainty, there’s not one conversation with her that I have walked away from without gaining something. She uses her words wisely, and is intentional even when she’s not. (Those who truly know her, will understand that one.) My grandma will be ninety-five years old next month. She has seen and experienced, and I’m grateful that with me she shares and listens without judgement. She has allowed me to be me. Even as I have made mistakes, she’s looked me in my eyes and made me feel seen not shamed. That’s the art of her loving that I pray I can cultivate with my daughter. Those eyes that speak I know. I get it. Ultimately, that art, her style of love has been a difference maker in my womanhood. She’s instilled in me a power of knowing mistakes will be made, but there’s so much beauty in overcoming and elevating. Her example of grace has reminded me of my own humanity and wholeness. As I’ve gotten older and we find out more of her story, it all makes sense. Her compassion and knowingness and understanding. Throughout it all, love has always been constant, consistent, and felt.
My heart smiles picturing me as a child then as a teenager sitting at the table with her while she made cornbread or spending time with her during that hour or so in between Sunday school and church service, when I’d walk to her house and eat oatmeal and we’d talk while she prepped Sunday dinner before she left for Bethel AME (CBS Sunday Morning could be heard in the background by the way). Or her sitting in the car waiting for me after track practice. She has been a constant in my life. Dependable. A phone number that has never changed even when my zip codes switched up (a lot). She has challenged me when I needed it most and I am better for it. I carry our moments, big and small, -with me every day.
Grandma’s not perfect. Just beautifully herself.
She is a blessing, our blessing.
Simply, I am grateful for my grandmother and just want to give her a few flowers of appreciation today.
Tiffany Reneé is a writer, poet and activist based in New York. She is a free spirit who loves to truly connect with others. She believes that life gives us opportunities to learn and grow daily if we are open to see the beauty in the expansion. Family time, deep conversation, wine, cooking, music, laughter and travel are a few of her favorite things. She’s a soulful dreamer from the Midwest who has always been drawn to the city lights and the possibilities that exist in choosing “more” of what allows you to live a life that you love.