Initially, I wrote this profile from 30,000 feet - technology is amazing - as I returned to Miami after spending a weekend in Palm Springs, CA, with my grandmother, Tootie. Since I first wrote this, I have made 4 trips out west to see her. Each trip has been more fun than the last and with each visit I learn more about her and me. I'm eternally hopeful that I got her "forever young" gene. At almost 87, she still knows how to have a good time.
No doubt I get my postiive, fun-loving attitude from my grandmother. We both believe in enjoying life and in appreciating and experiencing all that it has to offer. But, Tootie also has taught me about being kind, caring and compassionate. From her I have learned about caring for and helping others - whether it's a loved one or a total stranger in need. She always encourages me when I run a marathon for charity or when I donate my time to a volunteer organization.
Tootie also has taught me about the importance of staying fit, active and healthy. In addition to motivating me to run, she has cheered me on during tennis matches and reminded me to hit the gym to lift weights (seriously, she calls to tell me she did her water aerobics as a "friendly" reminder). Along those same lines, Tootie values appearances. While she doesn't tolerate "high maintenance" types, I am constantly mindful of her advice to never leave the house without looking my best - you never know who you might run into at the grocery store!
My grandmother also taught me the value of an education, of having a successful career, and of being able to stand on my own two feet. She taught me that while money isn't everything and it can't buy happiness, it can make life easier - save accordingly, but don't be afraid to splurge on occasion. And, definitely don't forget to stash some $20 bills under the mattress for a rainy day (or a run on the bank)! Tootie taught me to appreciate, but not to expect, the finer things in life - a gourmet meal, a great bottle of wine, or a handmade designer dress. She also introduced me to the theatre, art, and travel. And, from Tootie, I learned about self-confidence and holding my head high even in the most intimidating situations.
Above all else, though, my grandmother has taught me the importance of family and the true meaning of unconditional love and support.
A trip to visit Tootie would not be complete without her grilling me ever-so-subtly about my love life. She knows I am ambitious and successful in my career and that I hope to find a man who is in the same position. She also agrees that it would be nice to find someone who is willing to try some of my hobbies, though if running 26.2 miles for a cause isn't your thing, at least be willing to support me.
So, where is the man I can take with me on my next trip to visit Tootie?