Pardon me while I remove my hat

I read a number of blogs, many of which are nice enough to offer up a prompt or writing challenges for other bloggers. These challenges are especially nice on days when you want to write but don’t for the life of you know where to start either for the lack of words or due to the flood of too many.

One of these challenges was simple. Take a picture of a hat and tell the world about it. Except, I am not all that big on hats. Sure, I’ll wear them in the winter to cover my ears, or while at a horse racing themed party, but they aren’t really my thing. I certainly don’t have many pictures of me wearing one.

Years upon years ago, my family piled into an RV and drove out west. After sitting in the RV’s cab for days, we decided to change it up by sitting on horseback while descending a side of the Grand Canyon. Mom wanted us all to wear hats for protection against the sun. None of us had one. We entered a gift shop at the top of the canyon and looked around. I eye-balled one on the rack. My sister saw it too. Mom said we could match. I shuddered at the very thought. I told my mom my sister could have the one we both liked. I didn’t need to wear a hat at all, a policy statement I seem to have adopted for life since. Mom noted my opinion, but I wore a hat anyway.

But this wasn’t the hat story that initially sprung to mind when I read the challenge. Instead, it reminded me of another hat on another day even further back. A pastel colored wide-brimmed fabric hat with metal snaps that allowed the brim to be secured to the hat’s sides. It was my grandma’s and she called it her Aussie hat (my apologies to Australians). She and my grandfather had come for a visit and she was looking forward to putting her new hat to use. I remember it was a warm day with blue skies, a perfect day to walk to the park.

We had only barely arrived at the park when a pair of boys rode up on bicycles, one of whom was a friend of mine (a friend I may have secretly had a bit of a crush on). The boys took one look at my grandma as she made her way into the park a short distance away and snorted with derisive laughter. “Check out that hat.”

They didn’t know she was my grandma, and I remember feeling so very conflicted claiming her as such in the face of their critique, and like that, I saw my grandma differently. She was still a lady whose slight stature made me actually feel tall. A lady whose frosted sugar cookies set my standard. A lady who suffered through yet another viewing of Rikki Tikki Tavi (we knew she was terrified of snakes and it amused us to see her squirm) just because she wanted to make us happy. A lady prone to spoiling her grandkids in all the ways the stereotype has it right. That lady. She was exactly the same, but I was different. I was a teenager. (dun dun daa!)

The tagline of my blog is how to appreciate the everyday. I chose it because I recognize now that time is fleeting and how there is a reason to celebrate the little things in life (and the people around us) as they add up to the big things. I try to find something to appreciate today, in order to prevent regret tomorrow. It is a technique that helps with tomorrow’s regret. Yesterday’s can be a different matter.

My grandma and grandpa stopped coming to visit quite as often. Travel became more draining on them or we simply became too busy. There were finals, work, the demands of my children, and colds that just won’t quit. A water crisis certainly hadn’t helped. There was always something.

I considered posting this last week, in time to meet the challenge. I wanted to write about how I’d grown as a person, how ashamed I am for not making more of an effort, but it was Mother’s Day and I told a different story instead… You always think there is more time…

I may no longer be a teenager, but unfortunately, neither are they.

I am sure if Grandma read this, she would think this post barely worth writing. She would say things like how I shouldn’t worry, how she heard all about how I was doing through regular calls with my mom, and how proud she and my grandpa are of all their grandchildren (and great-grandchildren too). She’d said as much during those rare times we’d somehow managed to get together. Too few.

Your opinion has been noted, Grandma. However, I still want to say you will always be my Grandma. I am proud of you too.

43 thoughts on “Pardon me while I remove my hat

  1. Way to crush the prompt! Funny…just yesterday I subscribed to The Daily Post in order to get inspired with prompts and other ideas. I’d like to step up the number of posts I do and hey, we can all use a little inspiration (or a kick in the pants).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The best hat story I’ve ever read. We grow as we go along, but I find that it’s stories such as this one that help measure that growth. Like your tagline says, appreciate the everyday. As often as possible, I’d add. I have no doubt that your grandmother would [will?] adore this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely as often as possible. It really is amazing how much there is to celebrate in the small things when you take the time to look for a reason. Sadly, my grandmother passed a few hours after this was published. I am not sure that she’d enjoy the fact that I essentially had the last word, but I am pretty sure she’d be smiling anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A post not worth writing? I don’t think so. It gave us a fleeting glance into the lives of you and your Grandparents. It may have only been a simple prompt, but it’s produced a lovely post that is a very satisfying read. If only there were more of these types of what I call ‘raw’ posts. They are little gems in the huge world of blogging.

    Thank you for linking it to my recent photography challenge.


    1. This was one of those times I have too much swirling around and your prompt helped give me focus. Thank you for forgiving the a) lack of adherence to the deadline and b) the lack of a photo altogether in a photography challenge. Also, thank you very much for the compliments and reblog. It is people like you out there that make the blogosphere a much less scary place.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No need for the thanks, Ali. If a prompt I publish can produce a wonderful post like this then it does not matter that it was a photography challenge. It’s wonderful that it inspired you to write such a touching, personal and thought-provoking post. I had to share it. It’s a brilliant piece of writing. I read lots of blog posts and these kind of posts are a rare find here on WordPress.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I came here because Hugh reblogged. The story of your grandma went deep because I had the same experience with my grandpa. When he died I was so sorry for the things I did or did not say. He was the only person until he passed away who loved me unconditionally, who understood me and who simply let me be who I was. He went through a lot too including WW2. He was the most humble person. Thank you for sharing your story. Allie 💖

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a wonderful post with a pure and heart felt message. Loved it and the simple message of your blog to appreciate the every day. It’s how I try and live my life as well. Warmest wishes to you Allie. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It seems we all reach that stage at different times in our life. These days I try to think of my grandparents (and, indeed, my parents) as the people they were before I was born. Real people. Like your grandma. I enjoyed your post, thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Indeed. At my grandparents’ 50th anniversary party there were several photos put on display, but the one that particularly struck me was of my grandparents, roughly my age, seated on a restaurant bench surrounded by friends. It was striking in how similar it was to any number of my own photos and I since tried to keep the fact that they weren’t always just my grandparents in mind. Thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. This is such a sweet post really enjoyed reading it. During the teenage years perhaps we do grow a bit distant from the older generation, wrapped up in our own lives and wanting to do things that are seen as ‘cool’ by our peers. That is the circle of life, and you’re right – no doubt your Grandma knew that was the case – and realised that this was not an indication of lack of love or respect but just a step towards your growing up, and becoming an independent adult who can now reflect upon these moments.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How wonderful! Mine were fortunate enough to meet their great-grandma before she passed. They are convinced that she lived at the North Pole and helped out with Santa during the build season.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. What a lovely post, Allie, and I’m sorry to hear of your loss.
    I miss my grandparents so much and wish I could have had more time with all of them. But, like you say, I appreciate the time that I did have.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. awwwwwww, despite the teenage conflict, I loved the ending of this post! Grandma’s are the best. ❤

    However, I am not with you on the hat thing! I love my hats! always have! lol. There are dozens of photos of me as a kid with them on!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure you visited enough. We all think we could have done more, but you know what, we do the best we can at the time. and that is always enough. She loved you anyway ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Hey, lovely lady. This is beautiful. Though I’m at a loss as to what to say so I will just say that I am truly sorry. I’m glad this memory resurfaced and that you were able to write it. Hugs. ((💗))

    Liked by 2 people

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