Today, my grandfather would have been 89 years old. While he’s no longer with us physically, his spirit and wisdom live on in everything I do. He’d always get so excited if his birthday (March 13) fell on Friday the 13th! So in honor of him (and his awesomeness), my sister and I have created this list of valuable life lessons we’ve learned from our Pop-Pop.
1. “It’s not for your safety, it’s for the money.” My grandfather often used this quote when referencing red light cameras. But what I’ve taken from this is some things aren’t quite as simple as they seem.
2.”You can’t take it with you.” Yes, saving money is important. But what’s the point if you don’t spend it on the people you love and one-of-a-kind experiences?
3. Dance like nobody’s watching. One time, after he picked us up from school, my grandfather entertained me and my sister with a rousing rendition of the Charleston … with a dining room chair.
4. The best things in life are sweet. My grandfather would (more than) occasionally forget to refill his prescriptions, but heaven forbid if he ever ran out of ice cream! I most likely inherited my sweet tooth from him.
5. To love one another in sickness and in health. When my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, my grandfather took care of her until the very end. Now that’s true love.
6. The value of a dollar. When my sister and I were little, our grandfather would give us a dollar bill for the most menial tasks. But, if we saved enough of them, we could get something really cool later!
7. “High school girls are mean.” My grandfather was generous enough to buy me and my sister the car of our dreams: a Volkswagen Beetle. But there was one caveat, we couldn’t get the convertible one because, well, one of my classmates may slash the roof. *Kanye shrug*
8. Your job does not define you. Farmer. Cab driver. Airline luggage attendant. My grandfather held various jobs throughout his lifetime and he performed each one with grace and dignity.
9. Always remember where you came from. Nothing says summer like a family reunion. My family and I would often travel down South to visit my grandfather’s hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina. It was neat to see where he grew up and listen to stories about his childhood.
10. “If you don’t go to school, you’ll grow up to be a mule.” While he only had a middle school education, my grandfather was by far one of the wisest people I ever met and he often reminded us of the importance of education.
11. Cherish the ones you love. I remember spending an afternoon tracking down a Stevie Wonder album for my grandfather. When we found the one he wanted, he played “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” for me and my sister. Awww…
Thank you, Pop-Pop, for the countless memories, a lifetime of laughs and lessons we’ll never forget. ~Love, L’Oreal & April