Of the many ways in which I've been blessed, one is the fact that all four of my fabulous grandparents are still living and kicking around in various parts of Minnesota. Grandma Katie, my paternal grandmother, celebrated her 80th birthday yesterday. My roommates and I serenaded her with an off-key rendition of that good ol' birthday song before she and I had a very enlightening conversation.
For the record, the relentless conquistador does read this blog... so here's your feature, Gran!
I was telling Grandma about how much I love Cape Breton and how happy I am here, and she said, "You know, Maggie, I think Augie's going to be a major letdown for you in the spring. Other than when you were running that new student orientation stuff, I've never seen you this happy at college."
That's kinda all I said. "Huh. Yeah."
Now, I have a confession to make, and Gran, I apologize for this. I'm one of the younger cousins on either side of my family. Growing up, I always felt slightly overshadowed. The older, funnier, cooler, braver (cockier) cousins did the cool stuff like college etc. first, and so I didn't think my milestones were as exciting to my grandparents. I only realized recently that all four of my grandparents see me as an individual, not just one of a grab-bag of grandkids.
Grandma Katie knows me. She knows that I'm different from my siblings and my cousins. She knows my favorite things and remembers what I was like as a child. She knows ME. And thus I realize the gravity of Grandma Katie's words: "You're happier in Cape Breton."
I think she might be right.
I'll be honest with you guys. I've been thinking about staying. Sure, Augie's great. I absolutely adore my professors, I have some fantastic friends, and I was only a few hours away from home. But here...
Here there is a cultural experience that Sioux Falls simply cannot match. Sydney is unique. Halifax is amazing. The school's residential community is loving and inclusive. My professors are funny and challenging. My roommates are incredible. The alcohol attitude is healthy and the campus bar is unbelievably fun. And yeah, so maybe there's this really great guy, too. But I mean it. I am so happy here.
I don't know yet if I'm transferring. But Gran's observation made me think. If my eighty-year-old sharp-witted grandmother, who I see only a few times a year, can pick up on the range of my happiness through blog entries and phone calls alone... well, that's saying something.
Happy birthday, Gran. I love you.