My grandma and I on Christmas Eve, 2017

I honestly wrote this a few weeks ago after remembering this memory when I was with a group of girlfriends one night. Ironically, as I writing this, I got a call from my aunt telling me that my grandma wasn’t doing so well and things weren’t looking good. I guess the Universe has a funny way of working sometimes. So here’s my own personal shout out to my grandma and finally embracing just one of the many things she taught me.

As 2017 is coming to an end and my 40th (gulp) birthday is looming ahead in the very near future, I’ve really been trying to do a little self-reflection to see if I’ve actually figured anything out over the last four decades. And honestly, despite having over 12 years of marriage and three kids under my belt, which in itself has brought along a whole plethora of learning experiences (trying to be PC here, because well, in reality it feels like a crap ton of bat shit crazy), the same memory keeps surfacing: me as a junior high girl strutting through the mall with my grandma.

How is that so special you ask? Well, my grandma (like probably a lot of grandmas out there) didn’t give a F@! about what people thought of her. When I would say, “hey, grandma, let’s go shopping,” she’d slip into whatever brightly covered wind pants she could find, a mismatched patterned golf polo shirt and last but not least, her favorite, don’t-leave-home-without-it fanny pack. Of course the 13-year-old me was mortified and couldn’t believe she’d be seen in public like that. I mean what would people think?? But we’d proceed to head out for some mall gal pal time in her good ol’ faithful two-door Saturn (which, by the way, she swore ANY shopping cart would just bounce right off making it the best car out there.Insert eye roll here.) We’d walk through the stores together with that darn fanny pack leading the way. Undoubtedly my grandma would let out some (loud) gas and proceed to tell me (even louder) how expensive and overpriced everything was. I would chuckle, do some serious eye rolling behind her back and be on the constant lookout for strangers giving us (well really ME because everything was all about ME as a 13 year old) the stink eye.

My grandma hated shopping so we never lasted long, but she suffered through it for me, just like I suffered being seen with that loud, mismatched, gassy, fanny pack-wearing grandma. Of course the adult me wants to slap that embarrassed teen straight. Because the adult me finally gets it. My grandma not only owned that fanny pack but she owned who she was. She didn’t care that her clothes didn’t match or that someone heard her fart. She was confident enough in herself to be just that: herself. And that, my friends, is what it’s apparently taken me almost four decades to fully understand and appreciate.

While I haven’t quite reached her premium level status in that I’m ready to walk through the mall sporting my very own fanny pack, I’ve definitely reached that point in my life where I’m not afraid of my own opinions and beliefs because that is who I am. I may not like the idea of turning 40 but I do like where I’m headed. Just like my grandma taught me, I’m going to #ownthatfannypack and face the next four decades being proud of who I am. And if that means accidentally slipping out a little gas in public then so be it. At least I’ll be ok with the person that did it.

Me owning my own fanny pack and my other grandma, circa 1990.

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