Rachel Dawson won our grand prize in the Legacy Project contest for younger people, who offered a lesson they’ve learned from an elder in our lives. She tells about grandparents with a great sense of humor!
Immediately after graduate school, I had the opportunity to live with my grandparents for a year while I completed an exciting but low-paying internship. Although they lived very simply, they were incredibly happy people — both were in their mid-80s and had been married for 61 years at the time.
In late 2006 and early 2007, one of the biggest cable news network headlines was the paternity of Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter. One morning, I overheard my grandfather shouting to my grandmother “Grandma! GRANDMA! I have something to tell you!” She asked, “What is it, Bob?” He replied, “I’m really sorry…I’m the father of Anna Nicole’s baby!”
At that moment, it was apparent to me that their individual and shared sense of humor had played a significant role in the longevity of their marriage and their six decades of happiness. Rarely had they taken themselves or life too seriously.
I learned a lot that year during my internship, but the most valuable lesson came from them: cultivating the ability to laugh at ourselves and poke good-natured fun at each other is key to weathering the rough times and building a strong, happy life and relationship.