There's a woman who came into my life when I was six. I met her at a restaurant with my family, when she showed up with other people who I didn't know. It was a pizzeria. I was told that she was my Grandmother, and these people were my new Aunt, Uncle and cousins. She was to be called Nana. That was that. No questions asked. I was okay with it. They all seemed fun enough, plus I was eating pizza.
There's a woman who gave me a stuffed dog. Mom told her that Dalmatians were my favorite so that's the one she chose. I named it Dottie because I was seven. My creative side hadn't quite developed yet. The first of many saved gifts, each a treasure.
There's a woman who often threatened to feed me prunes. Indecisiveness would only get me those shrived fruits. It was always "Yes, Nana dear." No was never an option, unless it was the correct answer. Rarely was it the correct answer.
There's a woman who always kept us kids busy. We always made Shake n' Bake chicken and fed ducks at her house. Crafts were my favorite, digging through the chest of supplies to find my next project. She taught us nursery rhymes and old songs that I can recite to this day. My dollhouses and hand me downs still there for the younger cousins today.
There's a woman who taught me to be proud of my heritage. She talked about the crazy family ties that I some how fit into, stories upon stories of the craziness. She'll pinch you if you're not wearing green come March, but happily kiss you just for the luck.
There's a woman who helped me acquire my first real job. Yellow Brick roads and dressing up as a princess, making children stare in awe. Walking goats and having a parrot on my shoulder for a week straight. She told me I'd love it there, and she was right. The inner child in both us still hold our magic memories working there close to our heart. Who knew a place called Fairytale Town could be just as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids?
There's a woman who says I look just like a man she once loved. He was smart, handsome and strong. I am just like him, she says. I admire him, but look to her example.
There's a woman who I aspire to be. She taught me how to be creative, independent, passionate about the things I care about, stubborn when it matters, and to always see the best in people. I strive to make her proud every day. I'm honored to be her grandchild. A woman so kind, intelligent and amazing. I love her. She's my Nana.
You went and lost your phone so I had to write you somehow! Thank you for being one of my biggest cheerleaders. I miss you, but I'll see you in a week. Hoping you get some sunshine. I love you, Nana.
Edit June 5, 2015.
Words cannot adequately describe the feelings of my broken heart after losing this amazing woman on June 3, 2015. I will never be able to explain how much she means to me, how hard I've tried to make her proud, and the amount of admiration I have for her. A 9 year battle, fighting for her life so she could continuously bless the lives of others with her wisdom and grace. I've never met someone so strong and selfless, loved by everyone she met. Those who knew her know how truly incredible she was, and how much she will be missed.
How lucky I am to have you, Nana dear. I will always strive to give you something to be proud of. I have a hard time using the past tense even though you've passed, because as we both know, we'll see each other again. How grateful I am for that. I love you more. xoxo