My Gram was a very special person in my life, like a mother to me, and for years we lived together- and she took care of me until I was 18, and after her stroke, I took care of her. I learned a lot from my Gram, and as I get older I find that I recognize that I am more and more like her.
My Gram was a frugal lady at heart- she believed in hard work, and recalled living through the depression. Raised in Canada during the Great Depression, she told me stories of having to use department stores catalogs for toilet paper and Christmases where getting an orange or an apple in her stocking was the highlight of the year. During her first marriage, when my dad was still young- she and my grandpa came to the United States and started life over again in California. The marriage wouldn’t last, but everyone ended up staying in California- and she ended up remarrying later in life.
Though our frugality is much different, in my years of living with my Gram and caring for her, I learned that people should always come first, then money, then things. While the phrase was made popular by Suze Orman, I learned in my time with Gram that being wise with our money allows us to prioritize time with our loved ones. Being a college student on a tight budget while still taking care of my Gram as she aged was a huge challenge- but it taught much hard lessons about putting the ones we love first, and ensuring that our financial choices fall in line with those priorities to make it possible.
She was as frugal as I am, perhaps even more so- but at the core, she always instilled in me that saving money was to ensure you served your family and afforded them opportunities you didn’t have. From her stories living through the Great Depression, I learned to appreciate what gifts she gave me, and knew not to take luxuries for granted. Beyond her stories, her way of living taught me much more- family comes first. For years, she took care of me, and later, when she needed me, I was blessed that I was able to give her my time and return the favor. Living with her made me grow up faster than some, but I am grateful for those days and appreciated that time together, I often miss it now.
I inherited so much from my Gram- my frugality, my love of gardening, her sweet tooth, an obsession with candles and throw pillows and of course- her laugh. Whenever I set up a home wherever I go, I always pick out the same things she did the first time we moved in together- by picking out a candle to make the place smell good, and a throw pillow for the couch to curl up with a good book- then it feels like I’m settled.
Though she’s been gone for a few years now many of the memories of her still make me smile. I realize, as I get older, how much her life has influenced mine. Every Mother’s Day, though I miss her terribly.
One of my favorite memories was a pact we made after she had her first stroke. As you can imagine, waking up to find my Gram, who always started her day early, on the floor of the kitchen in her pajamas, scared and unable to get up, was terrifying. She had suffered a slight stroke and I had to call 911. As we waited for help to arrive, she, in her typical way, made a joke- that we would never wear anything to bed, ever again, that we wouldn’t want the paramedics to find you in.
Though she’s not with us this Mother’s Day- I compiled a few of my favorite gift choices that I always loved to get for her- including a new pair of pajamas, a yearly tradition in our house our pact was made!
We all get things we treasure from our moms, grandmas and mom-types in our lives- whether it is a love of gardening, a keen fashion sense or maybe we just inherited their love of chocolate!
This Mother’s Day, you can find exactly what would make her smile and get great deals at from Kmart on apparel and jewelry and everything else your mom will love. Learn more at kmart.com/mothersday
Much of who I am, was forged my Gram, and even years after her passing, I often see things I wish I could give her on Mother’s Day. I see flowers that remind me of her garden and decorate my apartment with items she treasured. My life is a living testament of her legacy- and while I miss her greatly each Mother’s Day, I am very fortunate that I have many loving mom types to celebrate with this year.
We are each comprised of the loving legacies of the mother’s in our lives. I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Mother’s Day, may you feel the love!