I grew up a product of two women: my mother and my grandmother. I am certainly who I am today due in some part to what they provided me as a youth. Three years ago, on November 7, my grandmother passed away at the age of 85. I was particularly close to my grandmother, although our relationship certainly had its rocky moments. She was there for me in some tough stretches. She gave me hugs, mac and cheese, unwanted lectures about my faith, fried chicken, hard times about not bringing a great grandchild into existence quickly enough, and sloppy wet kisses. I feel blessed to have had so much time with her, but it's hard not to be disappointed that she left us only months before the birth of that desired great grandchild.
I want to share something. I feel I need to so that I might finally move past my feelings. To this day, I am somewhat resentful of how my grandmother's memorial service went down. We tried to create something that honored my grandmother, but in doing so, we turned over some of the planning to others. There were people claiming to be close friends that couldn't even pronounce my family's last name. I delivered the most difficult speech of my life, and easily the most meaningful one as well, only to have the person that followed tell the audience that although my grandmother loved me, she loved G_d even more. Just not what you want to hear at that moment. In my opinion, a better choice would have been to let my tribute stand. It was MY grandmother after all. I was the only one who spoke that had a long standing relationship with her. This was my final goodbye to my grandmother, and I feel it was somewhat tarnished.
You know, it feels really good to share some of my frustrations. Thankfully, there were things I will always remember fondly when I look back at that service. There were people from so many areas of my life that found time to attend the service. My cousin and I were reminded of the importance of family bonds. It gave me time to remember the good things about the woman who loved me so. I will always have my memories, good and bad, of my grandmother. I look forward to sharing these with my daughter, when it is time to give her a picture of her great grandmother. We miss you, Granny.
My wedding anniversary is also on November 7. To be honest, I never thought I would be married. I never had marriage modeled for me as a child. Being a bachelor felt right. I lived in New York City after all. But, as I look back on what led me to "the best thing I got going", I now realize that failed relationships have played a surprising role in the success of my marriage. Failure clearly happened for a reason. Due to these failures, I was able to realize much about myself. I needed someone who would truly communicate with me, because honest dialogue is healthy. I needed someone who valued family. I needed someone who had the chops and desire to potentially be a parent. Failure in past relationships helped to create a foundation for my current successful relationship.
I now have that partner. We butt heads. Let's be clear. But, we do so not in a hurtful way, but to create a clearer dialogue. And to uncover the root of an issue. I couldn't imagine a better partner for me in parenting. I couldn't be happier in general.
I love that my wife pushed me to attend grad school. Because of her, I have a masters degree from an Ivy League institution. Pretty cool.
I love that she has supported me in my desire to stay home with our child. Even cooler!
I love that she asks my opinion about things she doesn't need to.
I love how she laughs. And smiles.
I love how I can make her forget a bad day by kissing her neck.
I love that she loves learning.
I love that she doesn't try to change me and let's me be the geeky fanboy and sports fan I need to be.
I love that my blackness is not a novelty to her and that she respects my need to discuss race.
I love that she challenges me to be healthy.
I love that she doesn't like zombies.
I love that she loves things that I don't love.
I could go on and on.
It's wild to think that I am just as in love now as I was that chilly day five years ago. Here's to another five years, and another, and another, and . . .