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Vandegrift Voice

Oh, how I love thee

Junior Lanie Malone discusses the affect her Mother and Grandmother bestowed upon her as a writer and an individual.

Lanie Malone, Staff Reporter

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My grandmother, mother and I in 2006.

The first person a newborn lays their eyes on is their Mom. Specifically, a girl and her mother have a special bond that is difficult to be tampered with. My two main mother figures in my life include my mother and my grandmother, both of which have shaped my personality and interests. I wanted to pinpoint exactly what it is about them that makes them so special to me, and this is what I concluded.

As a baby, I hated saying goodbye. I would sob and squirm in the arms of anyone but my mother. Because of this, I was never left alone. And just as much as I hated to part with my mother, my mother couldn’t stand to see me go. I was never confused about whether or not my mother missed me or wished I was around. I was her prized possession. Everything I did, my mom boasted about to everyone. She molded me all by herself. Every good quality I have, I attribute my mother. When all the other kids were learning about Jesus, I was learning about cesarean sections and waking up early on Saturday mornings to watch Mystery Diagnosis. The entire time my mom, step dad and I watched, my mother would attempt to diagnose the person by their symptoms, spoiling the ending most of the time.

I remember thinking that she would leave and be gone forever when I was a toddler, I was scared she would go to Arizona, just as my birth father had done. My mom used to say to me, “I’ll always be here for you. I’ll never leave you.” She never let me slip away without a hug and a kiss. My mother was huge on ‘I love you’s,’ as was her mom. I used to feel embarrassed when my mother would embrace me in front of my elementary school friends, but now I know I’m going to do the same to my own children. When you’re a little kid and one of your parents decides not to take care of you anymore, you genuinely will never understand why. If I hadn’t had a snuggle-loving genius for a mother, I might’ve never recovered. I’m going to hug my child just as hard as my mother hugged me. That being said, if I leave to go somewhere without saying ‘I love you’ and goodbye, my mother will call on the verge of tears, worried sick that I’m mad at her.

Mommom, my grandmother, was my second favorite person to my mother. She always wears jewelry, but never fake pearls like the other older ladies. My grandma is the coolest. She wears holiday themed jewelry to express her love for Christmas and Halloween. She dresses her house up as if it were a doll, adhering to every tradition passed along from her mother. I grew up in her arms. My grandmother loves to give, a thoughtful gift giver and the queen of surprises, whether its material or not. She loves blown glass animals, collecting dozens of them and preserving them in a large glass case overlooking her living room. I was the only grandchild she let play with her blown glass treasures. We even began collecting a spew of more durable ones that I could play with every time I came over. The best gift I ever gave my Mommom was a small, blue, yellow and white blown glass seahorse I’d found in Port Aransas, a present that only costed a few dollars. When Mommom saw it, she was so taken aback that she scrunched up her face and smiled at the same time, a look she always does when she’s overwhelmed by joy. “Oh my,” she marveled. “It’s just Darling!” She gave me a big hug and the next time I came to her house, a new addition had been granted into her most precious stain-glass collection.

I’ve spent the night at my grandmother’s bounteous times. Something I’ve always adored about my grandmother is her ability to bond with any kind hearted person. My Mommom got over being timid and shy a long time ago. She has friends everywhere she goes. She is always astonished by how she will never set out to meet people. In fact, she once described herself as introverted. “It’s so odd how it seems like everywhere I go, I know someone. I try to be discrete, to slip in unnoticed, but I always meet someone new!” She has always been one of those ladies who loves to run errands, everyday with the same routine.

My grandmother never treated me like a baby. In fact, she’s the person who introduced me and taught me to write, even before I could read. My grandmother rested upon her wicker chair that left peculiar imprints on her ankles after hours of sitting (she always sat criss-cross-applesauce). The setup was overlooking her chunky, outdated desktop combined with an ample keyboard with boxy keys. Mommom and I spent hours writing The Adventures of Teddy, Ratty, and Blueberry, through Microsoft Word. She taught me that a writer’s work is never finished until it reaches perfection. This became very clear to me as a child as I watched Mommom edit a story about 10 times before leaving it alone. On days when Mommom felt jiggy, she and I would come up with inappropriate versions of our normal stories. The inappropriate versions would have bad words, and my grandma would make sound effects as she transcribed the stories aloud.

Probably the most idiosyncratic characteristic my grandmother and mother possess is their need to consistently care for children so that they never know what boredom or loneliness was. When I would say I was bored, or at least the few times I did, I would receive a 45 minute lecture in response. There was no spoiled-brat talk in either house. I was taught to be grateful for everything that I had. This gave me a lot of time to myself, unable to complain about silly things and finding ways to entertain myself. Even during elongated car rides, I could imagine an entire scene as if I were watching a movie. Colors, people, voices and even props were spawned with only my imagination to guide me.

It is only on my mother’s side of the family the characteristic of loving bad words plagues and blesses me. I love all of the things I’ve inherited. All the words, style tips, the smell of my grandmother’s house on the lake, the feeling of creating something using my imagination instead of focusing on negative things. Without these women, I wouldn’t be as confident and interesting. In fact, I probably wouldn’t even be a writer.

My grandmother and I at lunch over winter break.

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Oh, how I love thee