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Childhood Teachers

By: Clarissa Constantine Tuesday January 3, 2023 comments


Childhood Teachers


One of the most meaningful gifts I’ve ever gotten was a memory book my dad & his new wife made for me this Christmas. In it were pictures of me with an array of family members. Really, it was a small array, because there weren’t that many of us in our family: me, mom & dad, grandma, and my aunt.

Among the pictures Dad had that I had no recollection of were a handful of my maternal grandmother and me, tilling her lawn. I was probably 12 or 13 years old, lanky as they come, gross & sweaty.


I never cared WHAT we did together, I just loved time with my grandmother. She was a woman ahead of her time. She went to chiropractic college in the 30s, when many women didn’t even graduate high school. Later, she became a nurse. She divorced her husband in the 60s when women just didn’t do that kind of thing. She bought her own home around the same time. She was a no-BS personality. She stood her ground, even when she didn’t hold the popular opinion. She sought the approval of NO ONE.

And I never heard her complain about her circumstances. I never heard her blame anyone or anything for her situation. Not the fact that her mom died very young. Not the horrifically mean step-mother. Not the unfaithful husband. Not the people in the hospital where she worked as an RN.

She took 100% responsibility for where she was in life. And if she wanted something different, she went after it. She rose above when others were trying to pull her down. And she did it without always having support from outside of herself. She had a strong conviction in a higher power, and she knew that her higher power would always have her back.


She is the inspiration for the eagle tattoo on my left forearm. Not only was the eagle one of her favorite birds (the other was the parrot!), but eagles represent expansion, strength, victory, going after your dreams – all things that she embodied. I chose an eagle tattoo in a place where I’d see it every day as a reminder to live as she lived.

Thinking of what she navigated, without much (if any) support around her, I can’t help but wonder what impact a community of other women, other parents, other medical professionals, might have had in her life. And if she’d felt more supported, how could she have supported her daughters even more?


This is a big piece of what drives me to grow The ParenT(w)een Connection. I think many of us underestimate the impact that grandparents can have, especially as kids grow into and through the tween & teen years. But they can play an incredibly powerful role in helping to keep our young adults happy, healthy, and safe. Our goal at The ParenT(w)een Connection is to have a judgment-free zone for all of the adults in the village to support each other, learn, grow, and thrive. The more we do, the more our kids will, too.

Clarissa Constantine

About the Author: Clarissa Constantine