Many grandmothers hold a special place in the hearts of their grandchildren as they provide so much of that extra love and attention that children adore. The connection between a grandmother and her grandchild can last a lifetime and that rings true with me.
A strong, fearless, happy, loving and a beautiful person who is always looking to help others is my definition of a heroine. These qualities are some that I admire in a person and growing up one woman encompassed all this and more. I called her Avó which means grandmother in Portuguese.
I always wrote about my grandmother, Lurdes, as my heroine in many of my school assignments as she inspired me to be a better person. Even though she lived an ocean away in Azores, Portugal, I still felt such a special connection to her.
I first officially met my grandmother when I was two years old. My parents took me to Portugal to introduce me to my family there. Of course, I cannot recall many of those memories but from what I am told, I loved every minute of it. What I do remember was her love, smile, laughter and all the grandma hugs and kisses. There was just something so very special about her.
After that trip, it took a really long time to go back. However, we always called and every year my grandmother always made sure to call me for my birthday. She never forgot, no matter how many grandchildren or great grandchildren were in her life.
At the age of 17, I managed to save enough money to book a trip to see her again. This time I went with just my little sister who was 10 years old at the time. My sister didn’t have the opportunity to meet our amazing grandmother yet so this was her first time. The beauty of this trip was my ability to remember it.
I was so happy to see my grandmother again and hugged her so tight! We talked as if there was no ocean that kept us apart and I just felt at home in her heart.
On my trip, I remember her telling me how her heart would ache seeing all the children without socks in her village and when I told her that I had brand new socks that I could give, she started to cry with joy. Seeing her with so much joy to be able to help those children felt so great and special. She turned to me and said, “I knew there was something extra special about you!” My heart fluttered with her words as she is the one who inspired me to want to be a better person.
During our whole trip she was so loving, caring, and always made us laugh. Of course, she allowed us to have a little more freedom than we would have had with my parents around. She also made sure that we had the time of our lives, but isn’t that what grandmothers are for! 😉
At one point of our trip, she showed me a doll that I had left there when I was two. I couldn’t believe she kept it all this time and it still looked great! My grandmother then told me that she took really good care of the doll for me. She washed the doll’s hair and clothes to keep it looking new. I told her how thankful I was for her doing that for me all these years and she said, “She is my Melanie and I had to take care of her.” My heart stopped and I told her to keep Melanie. I couldn’t take it away from her as she sincerely enjoyed the doll. She was just SO sweet!
When my trip came to an end, I knew in my heart that this would be my last time to see her. We both held each other really tight at the airport and we both started to cry. She turned to me and said, “It is perfectly ok to cry as we know this might be our last time together but know that I will always be in your heart!”
On September 22, 1999, I was the first one in Canada to receive the call that my grandmother had passed away at the age of 88. I remember that a little piece of me shattered that day as she meant the world to me. But in my heart of hearts, I knew she would always be there. My doll did return back to me as it was my turn to care for her and I call her Lurdes.
I admired my grandmother very much and a quality that I admired most was her compassion and kindness to everyone around her. Everyone that knew her, loved her and always had kind words to say about her. My grandmother was accepting of who people were and she never had anything bad to say about anyone. The love she exemplified was felt by all and she had a way of always looking at the bright side.
She is truly missed by all who she has impacted with her genuine kindness. She will never be forgotten and always remembered for the amazing person that she was.
Knowing the relationship that I had with both of my grandmothers, I know how important it is for my daughter to have those relationships with her grandmothers. I want my daughter to know who her great grandmother was and to be inspired by her own grandmothers’ love.
The impact of my grandmother’s love will last my lifetime as it has helped shape who I am today. Thank you Avó and I know how much you would have loved to have met my daughter and to love her as much as you loved me.
Hug your grandparents a little tighter as they are such special people.
Until next time…Happy Parenting!