the gold standard

My grandmother left our world two weeks ago today and I feel the space she has left deeply.  Living to be 97, I was blessed that my children were able to not only know their great-grandmother, but to also know the love she showered on all of us.  She lived her life with grace, but also with a quietly fierce determination. Those whom she loved tried to never disappoint her. 

Born 60 years apart, our lives took entirely different paths.  Mine through college and graduate school and finally a career.  She fought to finish high school and had to do so early.  Her father wanted her home to help her mother.  Somehow we ended up in the very same place-caring for our home and family.  Believe me, never in any of my life planning did I think we would share this common thread.  Maybe that is why I don't like calling myself a stay-at-home-mom.  I am a homemaker.  A housewife-just like my grandma.

My grandmother is the gold standard.  I want to share with you a few of things that I learned from her.  Not through her telling me (I don't ever remember her giving me any advice), but through the way she lived her life.

Show your love through small gestures.
My grandmother was the queen of spoiling you in very small ways.  A cupboard in her kitchen stocked with the candy.  (We are talking full size candy bars!)  Sneaking a $5 bill in your pocket when you were leaving.  Meeting you with the warmest hug each and every time you walked into her house.  Never forgetting a birthday or anniversary.  Always sending a card for every occasion with a little spending cash tucked inside.  Standing at the screen door as you left, waving and smiling until you drove away.

Do what you do, well.
She had years to perfect her craft, and what she did, she did almost perfectly.  Hands down, she made the best pie crust I have ever tasted.  When my grandfather was alive, they tended an amazingly huge garden.  Her raspberry jam, made from the berries she grew in her backyard, is my all time favorite.  Even the way she cut strawberries....just small enough to eat with a spoon.  The table was set days before a meal.  The details mattered to her.

Traditions are lasting.
Growing up in an Italian family,  most of our traditions centered around religious holidays and food.  We have our own traditions that we have started with our boys.  And then are some from when I was a young girl.  Most likely, those traditions are from when my grandma was a young girl.  Traditions reaching back to a time much different and living forward into time, seemingly without end. 

Family is first.
There was nothing more important than her family.   While I know she had friends and connections outside our little world, it began and ended with us.  It is an amazing gift she gave.  I thank her every night in my prayers.  I know she hears me. 


  1. Beautiful, Denise. Thanks for sharing. Your Grandma was indeed special lady....and apples don't fall far from trees.

  2. That is Beautiful, Denise. And , yes , thank you for sharing. She is Very proud of you! <3<3<3

  3. Oh my gosh! You have done your Grandma proud. She was such an influence on a lot of us. You know even my friends call her Mama Perry. I feel your loss - it is very deep. Love, Patti


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