Lessons I learned from my Grandmother (… and am still learning)

By Sarah Shuey

This week, my wonderful grandmother Betty Cooper is turning 80. This fabulous woman, the matriarch of my mother’s family, is known and loved by many and is a natural teacher just by the way she lives her life. Her daughters, sons-in-law, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, and every other member of her immediate, extended, and “adopted” family can share countless stories and lessons they gathered, and continue to gather, from their time with Betty. These are just a few stories and lessons I have stowed away and continue to grow upon.

Games (board, card, or others) play an important role in building a healthy dose of competition (or unhealthy… depending on how you look at it). I’ll never forget walking into a store that sold card games with her and seeing her walk up up to the pack of Uno cards, stating “I win by default.” That is an accurate depiction of how much my grandmother loves being competitive. Always a game to win to be the grand champion (specifically Uno)! Don’t let that quiet woman fool you! She’s the most competitive of us all. When watching a sporting event, specifically football (Navy and Redskins), it is okay, and encouraged to yell at the TV. Don’t worry, they can hear you and will adjust accordingly!

Driving — or riding in — a new car is a refreshing experience. When any of us are considering a new car, the first person we check with is my grandmother. She is up to date on current styles and brands and is happy to offer her opinion as long as she is able to go for a ride in that new car. So, if someone in our family could just buy a new Subaru that would be great!

Being a Christian isn’t just about talking the talk. You have to live your faith by your actions every day. My grandmother is a strong woman of faith who reads her Bible every day, prays regularly, volunteers her time, and is involved in the daily life of the church (and not just the building). Jesus is the center of her life and I don’t think there is anyone who can say otherwise. Her faith guides every decision she and my grandfather make. They both offer sound, faith-based advice and guidance freely and willingly to anyone who asks.

Family is everything. For my grandparents’ 40th wedding anniversary, they paid for all of us (twelve in total) to go on a cruise for a week because all they wanted was for all of their family to be together to celebrate. We are a military family (Coast Guard and Navy) so a week where everyone was together and didn’t have to leave mid-week was a rarity. I have such fond memories of that trip! Family, and supporting that family through all situations, is of the highest importance. When you are together, laugh often and love freely!
Above all else, when given the choice, always choose chocolate. Always.

Happy Birthday Ooma!

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