A grandmother's love

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

When my mom moved me to my nana's house during my senior year of high school, I was upset. I felt I was being uprooted from my home and knew that my mom was in financial trouble. Everything in my life suddenly felt in transition; I would be attending college the next year and felt I no longer had a home. I was also 17 years old, which entails its own special kind of turmoil.

But I had Bow Pilla, a security blanket of sorts that had been given to me when I was born. I slept with that pillow every night until it was a little smelly and gross. Even then, I couldn't give it up. It comforted me to sleep next to it; in a way, it had always been a constant in my life.

I'll never forget how I felt when I walked into my new room at my nana's house and found Bow Pilla missing from the box containing my bed linens. I tore the room apart, crying and yelling to my mom for help. She said she didn't know what had happened to it. Though I'm sure she felt bad about it, I couldn't help but think she was glad the pillow was gone.

She had told me I needed to give the pillow up since I started high school and maybe even a little before that. I think she thought I was growing too old to sleep with my equivalent of a baby blanket, as well as finding the pillow itself worn out.

My nana heard all the commotion and didn't say much, though she did help me search. I cried myself to sleep that night, never able to fall into a deep sleep. I had -- and still have -- sleep anxiety, so missing my security blanket really hurt my sleep pattern for a couple of months after that.

I arrived at my new home the next day after school, still not really accepting that Bow Pilla was gone forever. Once again, I searched my room and found the same items that had been there the day before. I cried again.

Nana entered the room and handed me a small pillow.

"I know this can't replace Bow Pilla, but I hope it helps," she said.

She had sewn a new pillow for me overnight after seeing my distress over losing Bow Pilla. I should have been super grateful for that, but all I could think about was how much I missed the original pillow. This pillow, I thought, was too fluffy and didn't have the same bow pattern that my pillow did. This pillow was not my pillow.

When I think back on how I reacted to that act of kindness, I feel sickened. My nana works three jobs and had to be at her day job before 4 a.m. each day but stayed up that night to sew a new pillow for me. She gave up sleep, time and energy to try to make me feel more comfortable at her home, and I was too self-absorbed to even care.

I recently brought this up to her, thinking she'd be upset with me for being so inconsiderate. She wasn't.

"I'm just a simple woman. I don't have very many skills, but I love you," she told me.

I'd have to disagree with that statement. A simple person wouldn't go out of his or her way to help someone. A simple person wouldn't continue to love a person as rude and selfish as I was.

My nana is not a simple person. She is an amazing person, a woman who has lived through more strife than I can imagine while still retaining an open heart. She's funny, kind, open-minded and more intelligent than she'd ever admit. She has helped me understand the importance of helping others when you most certainly won't get anything in return.

She also has a birthday this Sunday, and I plan to show her this column so she knows exactly how amazing she is.

Happy birthday, Nana! I will forever be a better person because of you.

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Samantha Jones is a reporter for the Carroll County News. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com.