A Lighthouse

She did not want to be known as "Granny" or "Grandma", but simply as "Nanny". (The other options made her feel old.) Nanny was never afraid to advocate for herself, and from these experiences she absorbed valuable lessons.

Had I not grown up with Nanny for a grandmother, I wouldn't be the person I am today. Her advice has always had a significant influence on me, yet she was never overbearing; she allowed me learn from my own short comings. This caused her to act as a lighthouse steering me clear of the rocks, but forcing me to make my own way through the fog. My lighthouse helped me with decisions, but never told me which turn to take; I did that.

When I was in seventh grade, I decided that I didn't want to go to a large school. As a result, Nanny helped me handle the stress associated with moving two hours north, even if I would be farther away from her. She visited me often, and we went out to breakfast a few times. When I finally settled into my new high school, I then decided to seek early graduation. Although my parents and the teachers were skeptical, Nanny understood my feelings and allowed me to see both sides. It may be a challenging path, but I'm grateful Nanny influenced me to choose the more beneficial option for myself.

Nanny has also helped in the pursuit of my dreams, as she wishes me more opportunities than she had. Since I was twelve, she continuously donated to the “Bug Fund”, and this January I purchased a green Volkswagen Beetle: my passion on four wheels. She has also dedicated an entire wall to my photography, and has been to every fair I've entered photos in. On top of that, she's acted as spectator of countless musical concerts and awards ceremonies, cheering me on and pushing me to accomplish more.

Although I succeed when accomplishing what others say is impossible, Nanny has always believed anything can be achieved. She has given me feedback on how to make my dreams possible, and helped me realize which path to take. Therefore, I can say that Nanny has the most significant influence on me. Everyone in my family has contributed to my tenacity and diligence, but only Nanny has been able to sway my opinions. I've learned from her life and apply these observations to my own. Nanny worked hard to achieve her desires, and that is what I strive to do. She has also learned how to balance work with fun, which is a challenge I'm still trying to overcome. Nanny taught me to open my eyes to others and respect everybody. I'd always tag-a-long on her visits to friends, which taught me that we can have friends with anyone at any age. Because of Nanny, I listen more than I talk, and am convinced that the elderly are our primary resources; they are our tools to reflect on the past. I wish everyone could have the same strong communication with their grandparents that I do. The elderly have an amazing library of thoughts, memories, and aphorisms to share. They are all lighthouses.

Nanny is my brightest lighthouse. From her regrets, I strive to work towards a strong education, and bring kindness to the world as she believes I'm destined to do. I've skipped a grade with her support, and always made it on the honor role. With all of these accomplishments, Nanny has been my cheerleader. When I was accepted for a job at Polly's Pancake Parlor, a place my parents said was too difficult to make it into, she said “I knew you'd do it. You always manage to achieve everything you set your mind on. You're an inspiration, and you bring joy to the world. There's a reason you have that name." Nanny is right. My mother chose "Joy" for a middle name as a derivative of "Joyce"- Nanny's name- and I strive to live up to both connotations.

A lighthouse is a guide that help ships to safety, and mine has proved to be more than that. Nanny inspires me, and is the most influential person in my life.

You can never really live anyone else's life, not even your child's. The influence you exert is through your own life, and what you've become yourself.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt


Update: When I applied to Lyndon State College in October 2012 this is the essay I used with my application. It is also the essay I submitted for the Profile Booster Club scholarship. On June 6, 2012 I was commended by the scholarship board for my wonderful essay, and awarded $500.