Saturday, August 27, 2011

Learn to Labor and to Start

I was very blessed to have two wonderful grandmothers.  One lived with us most of my life.  I absolutely adored her and have always considered growing up with her one of the greatest gifts my parents ever gave me.  I only saw my other grandma a few times a year.  I didn't truly appreciate her, who she was and how much I am really like her until after she died a few years ago. 

My dad used to tell me a quote once that she used to use when he was growing up.  I was thinking it about it today.  My cousin was also told this quote by her father.  The quote is slightly different for both of us as I am sure my dad and my uncle remember it different from their mother.  This is from my dad:  "It is a misquote from "H.W. Longfellow's A Palm of Life. She quoted it, and I am probably misquoting her, as "Up and at it with a gay and cheerful heart, still achieving, still pursuing, learn to labor and to start".  I am just now starting to know what it all means. 

"Up and at it with a gay and cheerful heart..."  I am a morning person.  I jump out of bed each morning.  Well, maybe not jump but I am ready to start the day.  I think she was too.  And what better way to start the day then with a cheerful heart.

"Still achieving and pursuing..."  My grandma was very educated.  She didn't have a lot of formal education.  But she knew how important education was.  Learning is a life long event.  Learning is more than books and school.  The importance of education was passed down to her sons and her grandchildren.  I know I got my love of learning, my drive and my curiousity from her. 

She was definitely go-go-go, always working on something.  I like to go-go-go.  This leads to my inpatience which I probably got from her too.  My dad told me that the original quote said something about "learn to labor and to wait."  My grandma was a hard worker.  My grandma was not a wait-er.  I am not a wait-er.  I remember when I was about 12, we visited Niagara Falls.  After seeing it from every angle possible, I was ready to go.  My dad told me about his vacations as a kid.  And that I am just like his mother.  They would go somewhere, like the Grand Canyon, look at it and then move on.  That is my favorite kind of vacation.  I like to say we have vacation ADD - we cram as much stuff into 7 days as possible.  Williamsburg suggested staying for 3 days, we would good with an afternoon there.  :)

I'm proud to be just like my grandma.  I am thankful that I can share a bit of her with my children through her favorite quote.  I think she would be proud of all of us too. 

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