I have BIG news. We're going away for 2 weeks on a trip paid for by my Grandma!
She passed away 4 years ago, but her estate was just settled a few months ago. Family drama.
So thankful I have the skills, tools, strategies and mindsets to NOT get emotionally or physically involved in THAT.
My Grandma was so much FUN. A real hoot. She lived in Oskaloosa, a smallish-town [...]
in Iowa. She went to beauty school in California when she was young (she said "back then" there was only ONE place to go to beauty school...I have no idea how true this is) and cut, styled, and gave solicited and unsolicited opinions on hair and appearance until she died at 88.
One of her clients came in one day and he was wondering about doing something a little different with his facial hair, "What do you think about a goatee?" She let him know that if he wanted to look like a "damn fool" that might be something to consider.
I'm telling you....she was a CRACK UP!
She'd tell me stories of her stent in California. Her Iowa friends would come and visit and she'd take them into a gay bar and NOT TELL THEM they were in a gay bar and just watch their realization unfold for her own personal amusement. EVERY time she told the story she could barely get through without laughing off her chair.
I knew 2 things my Grandma would want, for sure, at her funeral...
1. She would want a closed casket. She DID NOT WANT people to see her with "AWFUL" funeral home hair and make-up. She had lots of opinions about this. When loved ones died she'd march into the morgue with her kit and redo the hair and make-up of the deceased before the viewing. She wanted to spare the family the experience of seeing their sister, mother, grandmother, or daughter not look like herself.
And 2....she would want people to laugh. And, as you can see, she made my job at her funeral that day fairly easy. All I had to do was tell her stories.
The morning of her funeral I decided I couldn't NOT say something. I found a receipt from a recent car repair in the passenger door and outlined my eulogy on the 30-minute drive. It was easy to write.
We laughed. We cried. She got to crack people up one more time.
A lot has changed in our world in the 4 years since her passing. We have a new dog and another child...just to name a few.
I often think about how I would have spent this money 4 years ago if I would have gotten it right away...probably on some furniture or something for the house. She had an eye for design.
But in the years since my Grandma's passing we met our newest family member, Alejandra.
Some of you may remember her being here if you were a client in 2012/2013. She was fresh out of college and had just finished her advanced degree in Architecture in Madrid when she decided to be a nanny for a year in the United States to improve her English.
Alejandra lived with us from the time our littlest was 3 months until she was 15 months. It didn't take long for Eric and I to feel like she was our little sister. She loves our kids like they are her own. We really hit the jackpot in a lot of ways.
I knew how much I needed flexible childcare, but I had no idea how much I needed a little sister.
We tried to find ways for Alejandra to stay in the United States, but it turns out getting a visa is about as easy as falling off the face of the Earth.
We all cried for weeks before and after her departure back to Spain. I might never get the image of Ale crying into the chest of my baby girl at the airport out of my mind.
She left in November last year. So, when my Grandma's check came in the mail this Fall (and I stopped crying) I hopped online and looked up flights to Spain. My Grandma sent me $5000 and the cost of 5 tickets was $4970.
We'll be staying with Alejandra's OTHER family, celebrating New Year's and 3 Kings' Day (the 3 Kings come at night and bring kids presents...sorta like Santa). Her family is being INCREDIBLY gracious and I think they're as excited to have us as we are excited to be there!
It should be interesting as most of Alejandra's family doesn't speak English. My husband can ask for a beer in Spanish....and where the bathroom is...and that's about it ;-) I will be attempting to use the little Spanish I remember from the 5 years I took it in High School and College!
I know my Grandma would be THRILLED that we're using her money for fun and adventure and going on a trip of a lifetime!....and that I'm not using it to take a chunk out of my student loan debt (ssshhhhhh!!! Don't tell Suzy Orman!).
Maybe it's a little wu wu to think, but I can't help but wonder if my Grandma 2 (that's what I called her) played a part in the timing of her $$ arriving. I'm so glad I didn't spend it on FURNITURE 4 years ago!
I hope this Holiday Season brings you closer to the ones you love, gives you that tingly feeling you get when you feel certain there's something bigger than you out there, and you get to watch a child's face light up as they're swept up in their belief in magic.
All of this is in my future. How can it get any better than this?
May you have the happiest of Holiday Seasons,