Hello world! Today, let me speak on the topic of role models. The picture here shows me and my grandfather at a time when I had just begun questioning life but in a different curious manner then I do now. During this same time, he recognized me by a personal nickname, “Booma.” The nickname was derived from The Flintstones character Bamm-Bamm because I would always try to move furniture or throw things. In my opinion, my grandfather was my first and most important male role model.
When I was younger, my mom would hate how much my grandfather would use “harsh” language and would have probably preferred for him to expand his vocabulary. Unfortunately, his usage of foul language failed to cease and he continued on using his words as a way to verbally spar with people from all walks of life. My grandfather held nothing back. He was confident in himself and his words, despite them being hurtful to the women he encountered throughout life.
My mom classified grandpa as a “womanizer”, which could be supported by his long string of past “loves” and children spread across the east coast. He was a manipulator and emotional abuser who did not possess much remorse for his actions. After being diagnosed with cancer, he began reflecting on these periods in his life to fill time as he laid in hospital beds for months awaiting his next visit from family.
On one of these family visits, my mom asked why my grandpa had left my grandmother to struggle as a single parent while he continued with his escapades. His only response consisted of four words, “she was too nice.” Not the response that my mother wanted to hear so she took the time to dwell on his answer and failed to share a complete thought with him to debate the subject matter.
As you can see, my grandfather had many demons, some that even he did not share with family. However, the ones that he didn’t share with others, he shared with me. Every time I would come back home after school, I would rush to his room and sit on the edge of his bed to watch crime shows that would seemingly always be on. During these moments, we would discuss things that allowed me to see through his inner-demons and witness his inner-child. A boy that never had a father figure to call his own.
My mother was a single parent just like my grandmother and did everything in her power to give our family all that we needed despite living paycheck to paycheck. I lived under the same roof as my grandfather, grandmother, sister, and mother for at least seven years until my grandfather passed and shifted the numbers to only us four.
Living as a collective was difficult because my grandfather was not technically with my grandmother but still stayed with us because it was the most affordable method we had to buy a house that would accommodate everyone. As a child, I loved having my grandfather at home. He would come to all of my award shows and talent competitions, never missing a single one. Sometimes he would even shout embarrassing things that would make the crowd laugh.
For me, he was a role model that taught me how to be supportive and show up for the important life moments because those hold irreplaceable value in one’s heart. Despite him leaving my mother at a young age, he did the same thing for her and never missed one of her sporting events even though he was not present as a real father in her life.
Getting older has made me realize how much his mistakes have taught me. He taught me how not to treat women and how important it is to know the weight of your words. Sitting on the edge of his bed watching television even taught me how the little things matter. Quality time spent with a person does not only have to be going out hiking or going to a club, sometimes just enjoying a person’s presence is all that we need. Grandpa and I could sit in a room for hours not saying anything at all but at the end of the day, I knew that we both enjoyed the time together and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
To be a role model, one doesn’t have to necessarily be a positive figure. In my opinion, someone can be a role model by showing you what not to do in your future. The dictionary definition of role model is “a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated,” however, I would like to personally amend this definition and instead say “a person looked to by others as an example.”
Children learn to imitate those who they look up to and mimic the actions of parents or loved ones. While I do consider this to be true to some extent, I also feel that as we grow in our intellect we begin to understand the importance of all examples and not just the good ones. My grandfather was a flawed man and showed me that it is okay to be imperfect but we must also be open to learning how to improve ourselves constantly.
My true role model is not someone who fits the typical mold of being a “hero” or making drastic changes in the world even though I do have a few of those in mind as well. One of my role models is a man who taught me the importance of recognizing one’s own mortality and enjoying the small moments while making amends for any of your wrongs by letting your actions speak for you. On my deathbed, I want people to not ask me what I would have done differently but instead tell me that I have done everything right.
In the hospital, a few weeks before my grandfather’s death I sat next to him on the edge of his hospital bed and told him of my freshman year adventures. He smiled and would laugh at my stories. I then presented him with my progress report that consisted of nothing of almost perfect grades. He looked intensely at me and had nothing left to say except, “that’s my Booma, I knew you were a genius.”
My last memory with grandpa was telling of not the man he was but instead the man he wish he could have been for his family. And for that, he will forever have my respect. Rest in peace grandpa, you are still deeply missed.
Sorry if this was a sad blog! My mom recently said that she visited his grave and that got me thinking of a blog post like this. Anyways, thank you for reading! If you want to get more of my life thoughts or opinions please follow me. This will allow you to get an email when my next blog post is published. Since I do not have a set time when I upload my post each day, it will be extremely helpful so you can keep up to date. If you enjoyed this, do not hesitate to check out my other content.
Have a great day everyone!