My Grandparents made me the man I am today!
Unlike most who post in this section, I am not a grandparent or even a parent. But my grandparents (my paternal grandparents and maternal grandmother, maternal grandfather died before I was born) were actively involved in my daily life from day one and I loved them as deeply as I did my own parents.
My mom and dad were both Ã¯Â¿Â½only-childrenÃ¯Â¿Â½ and they married young. My dad was 20 and mom was 15 days shy of turning 16 (and nobody was pregnant)! My mom was only 17 when my sister was born and she had just turned 20 a few weeks before she I was born. My dad was very self-involved (spent most of his time playing golf and drinking with his high school buddies, not with his wife and kids), so he wasnÃ¯Â¿Â½t around much. We lived next door to his parents and I spent more time at their house than ours until I was at least 10 or so. My grandma (Nanny Sara) was my best friend from the time I could walk until I was 37 (when she died last year). My sister and I lost our grandfather in 1998.
I loved my maternal grandmother (Nanny Gen), but it wasnÃ¯Â¿Â½t the same type of relationship I had with my Nanny Sara. She lived about two miles away and I rarely went more than a day without seeing her, but her strict religious beliefs and her more stoic personality never allowed us to get quite as close as I did with my other Nanny. She is actually still living and will be 94 in February.
My Nanny Sara was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer in November 2011. She also had severe COPD (never smoked) and the worst case of rheumatoid arthritis that her rheumatologist had ever seen. My sister and I were her caregivers for the last five or so years of her life. But when the oncologist gave her 10-12 weeks to live in Nov 2011, we both took a leave of absence from work and moved in to be with her 24/7. As strange this may sound, it was the most amazing 12 weeks of my life. My dad and step-mom, who had moved away 10 years earlier, even came to stay for the last five weeks with us. It brought us together for the first time in my adult life.
I now help my mom take care of my other Nanny, who at 94 has softened in many ways. She is a handful and can be very frustrating at times, but IÃ¯Â¿Â½m glad to have a closer relationship with her as an adult than I did as a child. Her health is declining quickly and soon I wonÃ¯Â¿Â½t have any grandparents left.
Even though I have no aunts, uncles or first cousins, I feel lucky that I only had to share my grandparents with my sister. My mom, my grandfather (Poppa) and both of my grandmothers made me who I am today. IÃ¯Â¿Â½m far from perfect, but IÃ¯Â¿Â½m still pretty fond of the man I became because of all their love!