I’ll never forget the day I called my grandmom to ask if I could move in. It was summer, the sun was out, there were blue skies. I was walking in between classes on Drexel’s campus and decided to call her at work. I stood on the street looking toward her office building as I dialed. For some reason I was nervous at the possibility of her saying no.
After the “hello”s and “how are you”s I asked my favor, was greeted by a silence and, “Um…I’ll have to ask your grandfather.” Another pause. “But I’m sure he’ll say yes.”
A few weeks later I moved a dozen cardboard boxes and a full-sized bed into their basement. It was the most at home I’d felt in years. I knew from that moment that I was so fortunate to have them in my life, but I didn’t realize all that I would learn sitting together at the kitchen table.
The most important thing I learned, gratitude. And I will be forever grateful for every single thing they did when I lived with them.
Grandpop drove me to and from my internship at Comcast every day for six months.
It was always nice, to share a meal or a car ride and talk about what was happening in our lives or the world. Living with them, I shared more about my life than I would have otherwise, but that allowed for them to share their advice and offer guidance, especially at times when I felt lost. Grandmom always reminds me that life isn’t easy, but it will all be okay because there’s a plan, even when it doesn’t seem like it.
My grandparents shared stories with me about what it was like when they grew up, about their families and relatives that I never met or have long since passed. I always love hearing my grandpop’s stories about the family’s old butcher shop. Some of them I’ve heard so many times I could probably tell them myself.
It wasn’t always that great. We had our moments. Grandpop complained when my room was messy for too long. Grandmom told me I was foolish for wanting to go out at midnight for my 21st birthday. Small stuff mostly. But how many people really argue with their grandparents? When you do, it hurts.
There is always so much love in that house. They shared their love with me in a way that can’t be explained. They showed me what it is to make commitment and stick with it. To not let the little things weigh you down and to only worry about the important aspects of life.
When I graduated college, grandpop kept complaining there were too many ceremonies to attend—three separate honors and graduation ceremonies. He doesn’t like to sit still for too long (unless he’s playing checkers on his computer), so these events are not that enticing for him. Of course, he attended, and after my grandparents and my mom had a little post-graduation celebration at their house. I will never forget the tears in my grandfather’s eyes when he toasted me, congratulating my achievement and telling I could call their home my home for as long as I wanted—that part hit me hard. Their basement wasn’t just a temporary place to stay during college, it became my home and we grew to share a special bond.
Living with one’s grandparents is a unique experience. Of course, there’s the opportunity to get closer to them and know them in ways you couldn’t otherwise. They have taught me so many lessons just from observing them over these few years, and for that alone I will be forever grateful. I know I still have more to learn from them both—but living with them was the biggest honor on my part. I will always cherish those memories. Thank you, grandpop and grandmom, for being the best roommates I could have ever asked for.