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In honor of my spirited grandmother

By Christy MunsonPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 days ago 3 min read
Top Story - March 2024
Photo courtesy of Christy Munson (author)

Gma shows me how to fold paper napkins, fives, and socks into the brown paper bags we bring to the park to leave for the forest of sleeping bags.

She teaches me art. Black, Brown, Red, White, Yellow. She shows me the beauty in the glorious complement.

She gives me a blank canvas. Brushes and paints. Tells me to go to town.

She is a work of art who refuses to get hung up, and certainly not on the small stuff.

She trains me to whistle when the pot starts calling the kettle black.

She places books in my hands and makes me balance them on my head.

She teaches me to balance the books, too, and how to make a killing.

She teaches me how to curtsey, and never to lower myself for anyone.

She teaches me to read words, and silence, shoulders and throats, symmetry and asymmetry. From her I learn to differentiate laughter from laughter, eyes that smile from smiles that don’t.

She teaches me to count numbers, street signs, the hands of time, the ways she loves me, and the ways she expects me to love me, too.

She lifts my chin that I might lift my eyes to bottles in rivers, tires in forests, oil in water.

She presents me with nickels, dimes, and quarters for bottles and cans I find while hunting seashells, easter eggs, and sunken treasure.

She takes me for a ride, teaches me a variety of ways to cycle, and recycle, and how to stand on my own two feet.

She sees smoke signals circling the clouds and reads the tea leaves.

She sees to it: my cup is never empty.

She encourages me to dance, because life is a song and if you’re happy dancing, it makes no difference how many chairs remain when the music stops.

I learn from her what it means to count endless blessings, like poverty and adversity, absence and recovery, strength and strategic patience, a sense of humor, confidence, and perseverance wherever light retreats.

She is the lullaby I sing. The endless shore I seek. She buoys me when my tiny sail slips below the horizon, bobbing and weaving my way to anywhere new.

She is a veritable beacon of light and strength in a tide of indifference. Bystander apathy, be damned.

She is a million contradictions and contraindications, and she’s perfect in her imperfection in tiny white sneakers.

She brings me home. Her voice is a siren song, and I am powerless to its beauty.

She is the garden planted and tended and tilled, until she can no longer weather another season.

She whispers, “Tag, you’re it. Plant your soul. Let it take root.” She takes a long slow drag and makes me swear I never will.

She advises, “Invest time, energy, beauty, imagination. Spare nothing.”

Such endless love she gives. “You are my world,” her parting gift, whispered.


Her path is her own.

She knows I seek to follow, every footfall, every failure, every choice, every misdirection. I choose never to be separated from her. But our paths diverge.

She walks ahead, with tenacity and grace, never looking down, or back.

She walks ahead, and elsewhere.

Eyes opened or closed, I cannot see her. But I feel her presence everywhere. In the shadow of trees. In the company I keep. In the losses I endure. In the triumphs I pay forward.

I owe her so much--thanks for the water--and everything else, and then some. I owe her all.

She leaves, not because I can stand on my own now, although because of her I can.

She leaves because her path and mine are not the same.

She showed me the way.

Now I walk this path alone, but never on my own. She walks beside me and within each breath.

She understands what I have yet to comprehend.

“Diamonds only shine after pressure does its duty.” She told me once when I palmed her wedding ring. A magic trick she taught me long ago.

She willed it to me. And from this day forward, its mettle lives deep beneath my skin.


Copyright © 02/27/2024 by Christy Munson. All rights reserved.

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About the Creator

Christy Munson

My words expose what I find real and worth exploring.

Check out my Welcome! article 👋🏻 for nav assist & for recs on Vocal creators

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Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  3. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (12)

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  • Denise E Lindquist20 days ago

    Wow! So powerful, so lucky to have a Gma so wise❤️ Congratulations on your well deserved to story🎉🎉🎉

  • Oneg In The Arcticabout a month ago

    The way you played with language in this poem just elevated an already elegant and impactful woman. Brilliant job

  • Joe O’Connor2 months ago

    The first sentence shows so much about her already, and I love how the use of present-tense and “forest of sleeping bags” feels like you’re a child again. Brilliant writing Christy. You manage to cram a lifetime’s worth of memories into this piece, and it’s beautifully written too.” She whispers, “Tag, you’re it. Plant your soul. Let it take root“ 🙌🏽

  • John Cox2 months ago

    This is an absolutely wonderful essay. Deeply moving and meaningful. It never ceases to amaze me the impact a wise and loving grandma can have on a child. It is certainly evidenced in the quality and lyricism of your writing. Thank you for sharing it with us and congratulations on Top Story! Well deserved.

  • zulfi bux2 months ago

    Amazing story !!! Well explained

  • Phil Flannery2 months ago

    A wonderful story of a life lived and shared.

  • Natalie Wilkinson2 months ago

    Wonderful tribute. Congratulations on top story!

  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Caroline Craven2 months ago

    This was so good Christy. Your grandmother sounds awesome and this was a beautiful piece about her. It's funny how much easier going grandparents are than parents!

  • Jay Kantor2 months ago

    Dear Missy~Christy - This 'Effervescence' has me Bubbling all over - Your ReachBacks are the BestEver - Jay, Jay Kantor, Chatsworth, California 'Senior' Vocal Author - Vocal Village Community -

  • Test2 months ago

    Christy your tribute to your grandmother is incredibly touching and beautifully written. It's evident that she has been a guiding light and source of wisdom in your life, shaping you into the person you are today. The way you describe her teachings and the impact she has had on you is truly moving. It's clear that her love, strength, and resilience continue to inspire you, even as your paths diverge. Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt tribute to your grandmother.

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