In Spite of What?

The conversation usually went like this, “But Grandma, I really want to go to McDonald’s before gymnastics, please.”

“I’m sure you do, but we are not going, and I promise that you will live a rich, full life in spite of it.”

A rich, full life in spite of it. She said this to us all the time. Usually when we whined for something or complained and acted like the world was coming to an end if we didn’t get what we wanted in that moment.

As a child, I didn’t really understand what she meant, but it was always game over when she said it. No more negotiating, no more discussion. It wasn’t going to happen, whatever it was; but we were still left wondering how life could possibly be rich and full after such a resounding “No” to our requests. Back then, those words held little meaning for me. Yes, life would go on, but how did I know if it would be rich or full? Since we weren’t going to McDonald’s, I was still hungry, not full, and she wasn’t giving me any cash, so my wealth was not increasing. I didn’t really see her point, but I do now.

That’s what I want this blog to be about. Life is full of funny, wonderful, and difficult moments, but hard times don’t generally last forever, and regardless of the outcome of any situation, you will probably live a rich, full life in spite of it. You know, unless you get hit by a bus or something, but the odds are in favor of the truth of Grandma’s words for many of us.

73 thoughts on “In Spite of What?

  1. My kids have grown weary of this phrase but they will one day find out the words are true and one day will probably use it on their kids.

    • I said it to Maddie the other day, and she rolled her eyes and said, “My Dad says that all the time!” I know I will use it on mine–just another family legacy :)

  2. I have actually never heard this before, and I adore it. I will use it on my teenage daughters relentlessly now! Fresh, good ammo! And, also richly wise. You just ROCK. Glad I found your blog!

  3. Also like that RFL can be rich, full, life OR Rolling on Floor Laughing- because I am almost there after reading your posts!

  4. Nice blog, nice story. On a recent road trip with my daughters, I offered to take the least favored, very back, middle seat between two of my grandchildren. Patrick, 8-years-old, sat in the [window] seat to my left. “Well,” he said, dramatically, “this is the worst day of my entire life…here I am, stuck in the very back…next to my GRANDMOTHER!” I responded that I hoped he’d always look back on this as his very worst day. What are the chances? I hope he remembers!

    • Oh, that is the worst seat! You might be surprised what they remember, and I doubt he will remember it as the worst day of his life. Thank you for commenting!

  5. Loved this! What a wonderful grandmother . . . and a wonderful promise, “a rich, full life!” She sounds like a strong lady and reminds me of my mother-in-law (now almost 94!).
    Her favorite response to life’s “disasters” is “that’s nothin!” Its become such a family joke that now when this expression is said for a truly serious life disaster, it has the power to make us laugh and remind us that better days are ahead!
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed … that’s really somethin!!

  6. I love this story. What a great mantra for a grandmother to repeat to her grandkids! The attitude behind it is so realistic and true. I’m tempted to copy it down and tape it to my bathroom mirror :)

    • Thank you! It means a lot in our family and can shut down whining faster than any other Grandma story. I’m glad you enjoyed it though, and I repeat it to myself a lot.

  7. The older generation lived before convenience and poison were synonymous. There’s not a ton of obese grandmas. Fattys’ sure, but not like these kids and young adults today.

  8. I’m so glad you explained because, immediately after I read the title, which is usually the first thing I look at, I asked that very question. What an intelligent Grandma. And isn’t it amazing that it really doesn’t make sense as a kid, but it does now! Great idea!

    • Hahaha! I’m glad you clicked over for the explanation. It is kind of a weird blog title without the back story. She was one smart cookie, and these words have stuck with me my whole life.

  9. Oh my goodness, you’re comment about being hit by a bus kinda cracked me up, because I was in a train wreck, literally. I have an interesting sense of humor.

      • Well, I was actually in two train issues. But I consider the first more of an accident and the second a train wreck.

      • Well, in the accident, my foot got caught between two train cars and bent in ways feet are most certainly not meant to.
        The train wreck was a sudden stop at 20 mph whence forth I was a tossed about ten feet, through a wine wrack, accross a bar (alcohol bar, not a rod) and then stopped, quite abruptly I should say, by a refrigerator door. Lots of bad things in that one, pretty much scrambled me from the rib-cage up, and a few innards as well. You will be glad to know that the damaged part of my liver has grown back. They think. So, lots of psych, doctors, about two years in hospitals (that is total mind you, not in a row) and many many perscriptive medication and here I am. Alive dang nabbit, and proud of it. Plus, totaly disabled so lots of time to read. Super exciting.

      • Wow, that is crazy. I’m so sorry, but you should be proud. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, and for explaining more about your accident. I’m rendered pretty speechless by the details at the moment. I’m just so sorry that happened to you.

  10. And now I’d like to thank you for my new favourite saying. My Nana used to use a variation of this, and I had forgotten about it. She would say it to herself though. If something happened and someone was showing her pity, she would say “No trouble, I’ll half a good, rich life in spite of it.”. Kind of a “Take that, life. You won’t keep me down for long.”

    I look forward to reading more, and thanks also for linking to my post. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    • Exactly! That’s how my grandma said it too, and I love that she had her own version of this saying.
      I’ve seen so many trash the dress photo shoots lately, and I loved your take on it. I’m looking forward to reading more from you as well, and I’m happy to have found your blog through Yeah Write. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Love this. I am so adding this to my daily dialogue with my own kiddos. Sometimes we don’t always get what we want and yet, while it may be disappointing to us at the time, everything will indeed be alright. All will be well. Such Wisdom. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Hard times don’t last forever , maybe around just 20 years or so. My Grandmother’s saying was always “everything will be ok” After I was attacked and stabbed 21 times my, son who witnessed the stabbing was crying at my hospital bedside and he remembered what his Great Grandma said. He looked at me and said “Mommy everything is going to be ok”

    • Some people get more than their share of their hard times. My eyes are welling up just from this snippet of your story. I don’t know if you write about this experience or have written about it, but I’m off to check your site now. I don’t even know what to say except I am floored that you survived something like that.

  13. Thank you for checking out my blog.. I am just learning and it is not set up professionally as yours is. One of the stab wounds was through my scull and I have a difficult time learning new gadgets .. I am trying to locate someone in my community that is proficient with word press that can guide me to set up my page correctly.. The story of the attack will come soon. Thanks for checking my story out. I very much am enjoying your blog.

    • Well, welcome to WordPress. I just got home from our Thanksgiving trip so I followed as soon as I could get on a real computer, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your work. I can’t even imagine all that you’ve been through. Don’t worry too much about the setup. I’ve tweaked mine over the year that I’ve been blogging. It’s always a moving target, and the themes in WP do most of the work as far as layout goes, but there are so many it can be hard to find the one you like. If there is anything I can do to help let me know.

  14. Rachelle, your granny sounds like someone that had a handle on saying no with cache. If I whined beyond a three count, I’d be practically threatened with a week in solitary. Hey, sorry it’s taken me the better part of an ice age to get over here and return the follow. I’ve been meaning to do so for months, but I’m a bit of a sleepy head, so you know … I was napping. You’re an excellent writer.

      • Around mid-October I did go on hiatus for close to two months so I was not publishing anything new during that period, my first extended break from my site since I started it three years ago this month. Happy to be here Rachelle.

      • Okay, that makes sense, and I’m glad to know it wasn’t just my reader! Happy you are back to your site though, and looking forward to reading more from you.

  15. At such a young age we just cannot appreciate our grandparents’ wisdom but once the realities of life begin to happen it all floods back and what once seemed rather an odd thing to say, suddenly becomes clear. I have enjoyed reading your story my friend :)


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