July 11, 2013

8 Things My Nina Taught Me (That I'll Teach My Granddaughter)

Nina and I 
For 21 years now she’s been a grandmother— my grandmother— but despite her more than two decades worth of on the job experience, she still doesn’t view herself as a grandmother. I guess she has good cause not to, as she doesn’t quite fit the stereotypical denture needing, Alfred Dunner wearing, Buick driving, grandmother mold.

In fact, with her 59th birthday quickly approaching (it’s on Sunday) Juanita Nobles, or Nina as she insists me and her other grandchildren call her has done a really good job of preserving her sexy.

I know some people might frown at the idea of having a “sexy” grandma, but from the time I was about 8 years old and realized that my grandma was way different than all my other friends’ grandmothers, I’ve loved the novelty of her. Besides, the fact that my Nina describes herself as “hip,” “sexy,” and “not old” has not changed the fact that she is technically a grandmother nor has it had an impact on her grand-maternal instincts.

For the past 21 years my Nina has showered me with  the love and affection only a grandma could, not to mention passed along to me crucial bits of knowledge that her 58 (soon to be 59 years of living) have provided her with.

While at 21 children, (let alone grandchildren) are the last things on my mind, as my Nina’s birthday approaches I can’t help but reflect on all the things she has taught me, that one day I hope to teach to my granddaughter.

I sat and compiled a list, just to make sure I don’t forget and this is what I came up with:

1)      When all else fails, use vinegar.

If vinegar distillers ever decided that they needed a spokesperson, my Nina would be their woman. Not only does she prescribe vinegar (diluted with water) as the remedy for a sore throat and hoarse voice, but also as a cleaner for dirty windows. I’ve seen her rub the bitter smelling substance on her skin to ease the aches of arthritis and pour it directly onto fabric to remove deep-seated stains. Though she probably won’t ever catch me taking a vinegar bath (it really does stink), I will preach to my future granddaughter the benefits of a $2 bottle of vinegar, the same as my Nina has (and does) to me.

Me in a cheetah print sweater w/ Nina

        2)     Some things (like animal print) never go out of style.

For as long as I can remember, animal print, more specifically cheetah print has been a staple in my Nina’s closet. Whether or not she’s pairing a cheetah print turtleneck with black slacks and red lipstick or walking around the house in her velour cheetah print robe and furry black slippers, she always manages to look oh so chic. I will teach my granddaughter that when done right, animal print will make her look like an effortlessly chic lady.

3)     Take LOTS of pictures, always.

Until recently I could never understand why my Nina can go nowhere without her camera, and before the age of digital cameras, several disposable ones. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I’m getting older and my view on life is changing, but I, like my Nina now love capturing almost every instance of my life on film. In the age of #ThrowbackThursday and #FlashbackFriday, I am also am very appreciative of the fact that my Nina took oodles of pictures of me as a little girl and that I have a seemingly unending supply of pictures from my childhood. I will take tons of pictures of my granddaughter and hope that with age she will realize the significance of capturing those moments. Hopefully when the time comes that she has grandkids, she will do the same.

Nina in her fur coat
         4)     Be a bargain shopper, but every now and then it’s okay to splurge on quality pieces.

If I am a shopaholic, my Nina is a shopping addict. While the majority of her shopping is done at T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, Ross and even the GoodWill, Nina is also known to drop big bucks on the things she really wants. Just this past December she splurged on a floor length fur coat (lol, yes we live in NC and it doesn’t really get that cold). She has always wanted a fur coat, so she finally made it happen. I will make sure I teach my granddaughter to invest in quality pieces to balance out her closet.
A Slim Nina Circa the 80s

5)     A curvy body is beautiful.

Currently I don’t have the curviest of bodies (don’t get it twisted, I’m not a stick either) but if it’s one thing I’m almost certain of, it’s that one day I will inherit my Nina’s curvaceous bod…it’s pretty much inevitable. In high school I went from wearing a junior’s size 3 to a junior’s size 5 and had a bit of a meltdown. At the time, it seemed like the beginning of the end (six years later and I’m still rocking my 5) and when my mother couldn’t soothe my worrying nerves my Nina took her turn. I can distinctly remember her saying “Girl, one day you’re gonna want a little butt back there” – haha and she was so right. If my granddaughter ever has a meltdown over gaining a little weight, I’ll offer her the same advice.

My Great Grandmother on her 50th  Wedding Anniversary
     6)     Love your parents.

Going on 2 years ago now, my beautiful great grandmother passed away. In the years immediately before her death she became unable to do things for herself and required round the clock care. My Nina was and remains the most devoted daughter to her mother and now father. She cooked, cleaned and comforted my grandma Endia throughout her illness. She showed me that you’re never too old to lay your head in your mother’s lap or play with her hair, or give her a kiss on the cheek. Now with her father, who has since developed Alzheimer’s, she dotes on him just the same. My Nina truly loves her parents and it is evident every time she interacts with them. I want my grandchildren to value family and I will teach those values with my actions.

7)     How to make a lemon cake, the right way.

I love cake. My two favorites are red velvet and lemon cake. While I’m still working on perfecting my red velvet cake baking skills, thanks to my Nina I’ve got lemon cake baking down pact. I can’t share with you the secret to a perfect lemon cake, but I will say store bought icing is not it! My granddaughter will know how to make a proper lemon cake.

8)     Break the mold!

Perhaps one of the cheesiest pickup lines there is, is “Baby they broke the mold when they made you,” but if my Granddaddy would have said this when he first met my Nina he would have been telling the absolute truth. My Nina has never been one to try and fit people’s expectations of her and of all the things I have learned from her I think this is the most important, not to mention what I admire most about her. She is strong-willed, confident and outspoken— all traits that our society often frowns upon women for possessing. She has shown me that it’s okay to be different and that old is a mindset. She continues to break the mold with her spontaneity, spunk and attitude. Of all the things I hope to teach my granddaughter, I think this will be the most important! 



  1. What a great post! Thanks for sharing :)

    Thanks for linking up with Friday’s Fab Favorites!

    Lauren xx

  2. oh my gosh, what a great post! such great advice...she sounds like an amazing woman. i hope someday my grandkids will call me their sexy grandma!