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How This Great Grandma is Breaking the Mold

Originally written for the Huffington Post

We celebrated her 80th birthday last November, but she does not look 80, nor does she act 80.

Her vibrant red hair, strong sense of self, and the smell of lipstick follow her wherever she goes. She travels the world with friends and family - riding elephants and trekking through long dark water tunnels, square dances with spunk and spirit, plays a mean game of Mahjong like it’s nobody’s business, and maintains an eventful social life with an effortlessness to be desired.

She acts as if she isn’t as good as other people because she stayed home to raise her four children instead of pursing higher education, but we all know that she is smart as a whip and knows how to do everything. She has seen so much, and has all of the answers.

She’s finding love again, or whatever version of love you can find after losing your husband. After tragedy and loss, she picked herself up again and carried on. She said it was like being on merry-go-round ride and not being able to get off, but I think she finally found her way. A piece is always missing, but she has worked hard to build around it.

She can recommend a good book, get out any stain, plan an elegant party, write in beautiful calligraphy, organize any disaster, find a coupon for anything, sing a song for any occasion, and talk her way out of any argument.

Do not cross her, try to over-charge her, deny her of a diet-coke, or bring out her food order wrong. Let me just tell you now, this woman means business.

Once, when I was very little, I answered the phone when she called. She said, “Hi there, it’s your favorite Grandma!” I was immediately horrified because I thought my mom spilled the beans and told her my secret. I felt bad for my other Grandma.

She’s been there as long as I can remember. Shopping trips, dance recitals, graduations, piano performances, birthday lunches, holiday dinners, sleepovers, family BBQs, hospital visits, new babies, celebrations, catastrophes, unpacking moving boxes, and phone calls. Whatever it is, she’s always there.

And not just for me. For all of us.

There’s 11 grandchildren, 8 great- grandchildren, and one more on the way.

She’s a mother, a grandmother, and a great- grandmother, but she wears her age well. In fact, so well that I hope I get her jeans (both literally and figuratively). Literally because her fashion sense is (and always has been) on point. And figuratively because at 80 years old she is strong, healthy, active, opinionated, and adventurous.

She’s feisty, she’s charming, she’s smart, and she’s busy.

So if you want to hang out with my Grandma, you’ll need to book her a month in advance.

And you’ll need to wait in line behind me.

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