This year, besides being thankful for the obvious – house, family, friends, education, a job, my beloved Siamese (Mao) – I am dedicating my Thanksgiving to my grandma.
This year is a year of firsts. First birthday without her, first Halloween without her, tomorrow is my first Thanksgiving without her, and soon I will be partaking in my first Christmas without her. If there is anything I’ve learned from her passing on, it’s what I am truly and completely grateful to have inherited from her: curiosity. My grandma was the most curious person I’ve ever known and I’m so thankful to have followed in her footsteps. I’m so thankful to have had a grandmother who nurtured my curiosity and never shot me down for asking so many questions about everything. She always praised and encouraged me for it. She knew how to respond in a way that would lead me to see things differently and therefore ask more questions.
I can’t pick just one thing about her that I miss, but right now I’m most missing her emails; her conversations. I would send off a 10-paragraph email and an hour later I would see a response from her, filled with questions. At the time, I took it for granted. It was always a chore (not in a bad way) finding the time to answer every single one, but now I see how it has benefited me. A true journalist would not be a journalist if he/she didn’t ask questions. It is from my grandma that I learned to be so curious and questioning.
It’s kind of a catch 22 in a way. Curiosity is the thing that will help me get to where I want to be in life, but it is also the thing that reminds me of my grandma. I remind myself of her in so many ways and that’s the hardest part about her being gone; it makes it really difficult to move on.
Curiosity is so important in the world. It allows us to grow and learn and understand each other and the world we live in. I feel as though it’s becoming lost in this world, though. Except for my journalist friends, no one else, it seems, is interested in what’s going on around the world (or in other words, what’s not happening in their own lives). It’s my goal, as I progress as a journalist and writer, to connect the dots for people. Make them see why it’s important to see what’s going on in Gaza, for example. I really question sometimes if I would have the inspiration and motivation to do that if I hadn’t known my grandmother.
As part of our Thanksgiving meal tomorrow night, my mom and I will be making creamed onions, my grandma’s favorite. As I mix the onions with the flour, milk, and the butter, I’ll be thinking of her, and the smile that would creep up her cheeks as she took the first bite, pressed her lips together and said “Mm!”