My Sporty Baba
by Landry Simpson
Beside my grandmother’s bed is a portrait I drew of her when I was a young girl. Entitled “The Sporty Grandma,” the drawing is of a young blond wearing sunglasses and a blowing scarf, driving a red sports car. “Baba” has gone through so much in her life, but meeting her you would have no idea of her previous or present struggles. I have looked up to her with admiration for as long as I can remember. We have always had this unbreakable bond since I was a little girl and I am so thankful to have her for the duration. She has been with me through some of the best times and worst times of my life. No matter what the situation is that I’m going through, she is the person I can go to knowing she won’t judge me and will be supportive of me. Baba is not the typical “southern grandmother” that is imagined as a gray-haired, apron-wearing homemaker in the kitchen baking cookies. Just as my portraits depicts, she is an adventurous blonde bomb-shell who is strong, independent, and lives life to the fullest.
I have never thought of Baba as my “grandmother.” She has always been more like a best friend to me. She is the most beautiful, independent, stylish and strong-headed woman I have ever met. She is the coolest lady and has the best sense of style; she could out dress most of the students at Georgia College. She loves animal print, especially cheetah, as well as her high heels. She is always dressed to perfection with hair in place, lipstick applied, and nails polished.
She’s not the usual grandma that enjoys cooking. She is the kind of grandmother that will take you out for an elegant dinner, then take you to the movies and sneak in candy and popcorn. She could live off of cheese and crackers and thinks everyone else could too. She hates to be called “grandma” because it makes her feel old. She is always ready for an adventure and will never turn your request down. Growing up, I remember being a little girl and always wanting to be just like Baba. She would play and pretend with me and teach me different perspectives on life. She convinced me I could be and do anything I put my mind to. I always felt comfortable enough to talk to her about anything because I knew she would never judge me and would just be supportive and there for me. As I grew older our conversations started to change more and become deeper into boys and drama with my friends. I quickly realized that she is one of the few people I can trust in this crazy world. Growing up, girls find out the hard way that some other girls can be really mean and will always find ways to tear you down, but I can always count on Baba to help me pick up the pieces.
She is a clinical psychologist so she always knows the right thing to say and how to say it. She helps people every day with their problems, which has always inspired me to do the same thing. I want to be able to help people and make them feel better about themselves and the problems they have just like my grandmother has done for me. I want to make a difference in people’s lives with my advice just as she has done for me and numerous others. She isn’t judgmental and accepts everyone. Baba is good about seeing both sides of the story and has tried to pass this trait along to me.
Baba is always ready to do anything and everything that sounds fun. Once, at the request of her granddaughters, she went skinny dipping with us in our pool at midnight. If I told her to drive to Atlanta for dinner she would just get in the car and go. For all of her grandchildren on their thirteenth birthday, she takes them on a trip to wherever they want to go. She surprised me on my thirteenth and took me to New York City. I never realized until recently why she takes us when we are thirteen. It’s the perfect time to take us before we grow up and start to act like a real teenager who just wants to be with our friends and do our own thing. The memories of the New York trip, along with our many adventures to Saint Simons Island, will never be forgotten. But the little moments like our long talks before bedtime, watching her apply makeup, and her back massages will forever be with me and firmly fixed in my mind. No matter how crazy and busy my life gets, I will always make time for my grandmother because she is the one who has inspired me the most. Her passion for life is contagious and she is the one that everybody gravitates to.
Baba has shown me what it means to be a strong and powerful woman. She makes everything look so easy, and it makes me want to be just as strong as she is. She has been through some tough times in her life and handled every situation with grace. She went through a divorce during her kid’s teenage years. She not only had full responsibility of three teens, but decided to go back to school to help support them. While her friends were going to lunch and playing bridge, she was running a household, going to school, and studying. Her entire life was turned upside down at the time, but she made the best of it and found a career that she was passionate about. Baba once told me, “Because of what I went through, I felt like I could help so many others in similar situations. That’s why I chose to go into psychiatry and be a marriage and family therapist.” She counseled people with broken homes and marriages for over thirty years, but now devotes her time and energy to her kids and grandkids. Today, she is fighting the battle of lung cancer, and doing so like a champ. She rarely complains and has such a positive outlook. Whenever she is about to leave my house or hang up the phone with me she will always say, “I love you this much all the way around the world and never stopping.” She always knows how to brighten my day and make me feel special and loved unconditionally.
I hope I can live my life like her and always think of things in a positive perspective like she does. Baba will always hold a special place in my heart. I have made some of my most favorite memories with her. I will never forget the things she has taught me and how special she has always made me feel. I hope one day I am twice as great of a grandma as she is, if that is even possible. No matter what this life brings, I am blessed to have had “My Sporty Grandma” as a role model and mentor. She is the true epitome of what a grandmother should be.
Landry Simpson is a sophomore at Georgia College majoring in Mass Communications. She is from Milledgeville, Georgia. She enjoys photography, exercising, the beach, and her dogs, Barkley, Bo, Mason, and Winston.
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