Wednesday, April 1, 2009

great-grandparents are great

Yesterday Ben met his Great-Grandma Hebbert for the first time. My father’s parents have had a huge influence on my life and I am so grateful Ben was able to meet them both. My grandmother is a former art teacher and has always encouraged us to be creative. When we were little she would roll butcher paper down her long hallway and we would trace around one another and create portraits and murals. Grandma would let us paint with her acrylic paints on canvas and sketch on fancy paper using charcoal pencils or pastels. She wanted us to eat healthy and would get us to eat vegetables by cutting them into different shapes so we could make self-portrait salads. My grandma was known as an eccentric art teacher and artist, she knew everyone had an untapped creative mind, and she regularly encouraged us to explore our own.

Grandpa Hebbert is a more grounded and serious man when compared to his wife. He plays banjo and piano quite well and spends time repairing, collecting and playing instruments. For Christmas one year he gave each of us grandkids a banjo and later, when I graduated from college, he gave me a piano. They are both so important to me. Grandpa and I have also had many conversations about frugality and rural life. Although he seems a bit excessive by today’s standards, he values thrift and discipline like no one I’ve met. He has had virtually no debt throughout his life and still managed to travel and own his own home and other real estate in Bolivar. I admire his sacrifices although I know I cannot possibly maintain his level of penny-pinching. On his coffee table he had a paperweight which read, “The poor get poorer by acting rich, and the rich get richer by acting poor.” He gave me this paperweight and it is one of my favorite reminders of his value of frugality.

I hope I am able to encourage Ben’s creative, artistic, and musical sides in the same way my grandparents encouraged me. I also want him to understand the importance of being responsible with money and why stuff is so much less important than people.

This weekend Ben will have the opportunity to meet his great-grandparents on my mom’s side of the family. He will also see his only great-great grandmother to celebrate her ninetieth birthday. I have plenty of great memories with them as well and I look forward to writing about those this weekend.

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