Does your Grandma talk about you behind your back?
Both of mine are up in heaven, but before they left us - I know for a fact that they were using us grandkids as juicy fodder to share with their friends during their daily gab-fests.
Here’s the thing about Grandmothers: Most rarely withhold their thoughts when it comes to the issues they care about most, and they are impeccable at making their honest opinions sound much more like scientifically proven facts. (How DO they do that?!)
Have you ever noticed how their certainty grows when it comes to the REALLY important issues like hair styles and dessert preferences? Do not mess with that shimmering golden blonde or the perfect ice-cream-to-soda ratio in a homemade Coke float, my dears.
My theory is that the expertise stems from a magical combo of years spent on earth and time invested in the people they love. Makes a lot of sense when you think about it!
The blessed truths that I’ve learned from seeing the world (and myself) through my grandmother's eyes have become some of the clearest sources of confidence in my now-adult-life.
(They’ve also collectively been the clearest sources of sugar cookies and backscratches, but I think that’s a different Pepper Letter altogether.)
My Meema & My Nana were both incredible women with stunning souls… Each was compassionate yet quick-to-laugh; feisty but faithful with their unconditional love. The treasured life lessons that I learned from each one are more valuable than any strand of freshwater pearls or hand-carved antique than I could possibly have inherited.
From my Nana: Family comes first, but friends are forever. People express themselves most earnestly through their personal style choices… A compliment can be the quickest way to connect with a new soul-sister. Wearing the perfect shade of lipstick feels just as good when when you’re 93 as it does when you’re 19.
From my Meema: Love everyone, no matter what. Make people feel the most welcome in the world when they’re in your own home. Be doting, be generous, be affectionate. You are the most glowing version of yourself when you go out of your way to serve others. Most every form of heartache can be healed with hugs and homemade pumpkin pie.
Because I believe so fully in finding confidence in truth, it seems fitting that many of my deepest gifts have been impressed upon this heart by two of the most honest women I’ve known.
One of my favorite concepts to work through in my brand + blog strategy sessions is learning how to assess and present the value of someone’s work to their potential clients. Here is the question that always elicits the truest response is:
What does your Gram say when she brags about you to her friends around the bridge table? Which of your accomplishments and characteristics would she be most proud to highlight?
We’ve already agreed that most Mimis hold little back when it comes to sharing about their offspring, so it makes sense that seeing ourselves through their eyes gives us quite a generous lens.
Whether you've never met your Nonna, or the Grammy head-count in your fam is many (I know someone with eight!*), I’d like to invite you to play along with the pondering and think about your best bits as seen by someone who loves you most.
One last note: I know not everyone has a strong relationship with their family, so feel free to conjure up a stand-in, if you’d like! Perhaps it's a favorite teacher, your best friend’s mom, the woman across the street from where you lived growing up or even the gracious presence of a divine power will do the trick.
You know you're always welcome to share your response with me here, and at the very least, please write them down to save for when you next need a boost!
Just so you know - I see you through a lens that shows nothing but precious souls...
XOXO - Jessie Pepper
Ps. - I'm lucky to have a handful of sassy extra grandmother-ly figures in my life, and I couldn't help but include a few extra tidbits of truth... Grammy: A full fridge is the fastest way to say I love you, and serving fancy snacks should be treated as a true art! Bonnie: The brother-sister bond is one of the strongest human connections ever created - Cherish and protect each other no matter what! Betty (who reads my love-notes... everyone say, HI BETTY!): Inviting everyone you know over for hundreds of homemade tamales at Christmas gives the terms "extended-family" & "holiday meal" entirely whole new meanings.
*The brilliant joys of a blended family… imagine all the baked goods! (My cheeks hurt just thinking about all the pinching.)