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Grandmother, thank you for being like a second mother to me. When I was 4 years old and Mom and I moved in with you and Geedaddy, none of us had any idea how long we would stay. I got to know you in a way that not many grandkids get to know their grandparents.

Thank you for letting me snuggle under your electric blanket on cold mornings and for telling 2-year-old me that your name was “Beautiful Grandmother”—and letting it stick.

Thank you for turning every little thing into something special—whether it’s making bunny-shaped pancakes for my children or throwing decked-out dinner parties with flower arrangements and handwritten place cards, everything you do is thoughtful and deliberate.

You’ve taught me to appreciate beauty. The flowers, your paintings, the fabrics in your home, the family pieces—they’ve all shaped the way I view the idea of what “home” is today. 

Thank you for allowing me to feel like I can turn all my ideas into concrete manifestations. I remember those late nights we spent sewing dresses and costumes together over the years.

Lauren Liess (center) at home in Virginia with her mother, Donna (left), and grandmother Patricia (right)
Photo: Jeremy Cowart; Hair and Makeup Styling: Bailey Renee/Directions USA; Wardrobe Styling: Harman Dhillon/Directions USA

Thank you for encouraging me to follow my dream to be an interior designer when everyone else thought it was nuts because I hadn’t gone to design school. You’ve always been my biggest cheerleader every step of the way.

We live in Virginia because I want my kids to have a relationship like ours; I want them to have what we have together. Thank you for being as fun now as you were 30 years ago. 

Thank you for your youthful spirit. You are frequently mistaken for my mother, but more than being youthful on the outside, I appreciate that you’re young at heart.  

I’m sure you’re embarrassed reading this, because one of the only things you don’t do well is take a compliment, but when people ask me who my hero is, I say it’s you.

Lauren Liess is an interior designer and author of Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating (Abrams). Her new HGTV show, Best House on the Block, will air this year. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their five children.