seize the moment
My thoughts are haunted by what could have been...or should have been. I have regrets. If I could go back in time to when she still lived, I would, in a heartbeat. I would travel back in time...a time so long ago when I was young and ignorant. A time when I followed so closely in my mother's footsteps and did what she did and said what she said and thought what she thought. I would go back and unfollow everything. You see, my mom had no patience with her. My father, on the other hand, was the opposite. He loved her, nurtured her, helped her, bathed her, cooked for her, spent her lonely hours with her so that she'd have companionship. He mowed her lawns, made her breakfast, lunch and dinner and called her to check up on her before bedtime.
She was foreign to me and because she spoke polish, I couldn't understand her most of the time. Her broken english was just that, broken. And like my mother, it irritated me. She was like a dinosaur...she wore her house dresses and aprons and support hose that went up to her knees. Her shoes were very black and stern...unyielding, uncomfortable looking things. She had hair on her chin and her teeth clicked when she spoke.
But her smile was warm...and her complexion as soft as a baby's.
And she laughed. I remember her laugh.
I remember the way her housedresses flowed to and fro when she walked.
I remember the old steel gray cooking stove...you could actually stack wood in it to cook if you wanted.
I remember the lace curtains that hung in the windows.
I remember the hollihocks that grew outside near the porch....they grew so tall!
I remember warm summer nights when we would visit and play football on the freshly mowed lawn.
I remember her home cooking...the handmade pierogis and golumpkis...so delicious.
I remember that she tried so hard to speak our language...and I remember that I couldn't be bothered by that.
I remember the day that she called our house looking for my dad, and because I barely understood her, I was short with her....like my mom would have been.
She fell and broke her hip and from then on her days were few. I didn't visit.
The phone call came when I was working my first job...she had died. I was sad but at least it wasn't my "other" grandmother...otherwise I would have been devasted.
How stupid. How utterly senseless. My grandmother...my babcia, traveled here from Poland with her new husband when she was 18. They bought a farm and worked it, but he suddenly died at a very early age. We were all that she had left. She tried so hard to make her life worth living...she gave love. She gave herself.
And I didn't see it. Didn't want to see it. You see, I wanted to be like my mom and I acted accordingly. I did a damn good job.
And then I woke up. Woke up too late, but at least I woke up. After she died, my dad said to me one day..."you know what? She loved you. She always asked about you, always wanted to know how you were." I had no idea.
Many years later my father died as well..at a very young age. 62. Died on a business trip. Never came home. It was May. 1988. Friday. Friday the 13th to be exact, when I got the call.
I never got to tell him that I love him...never got to say "thanks dad, for waking me up...thanks for the football games...thanks for the good things that you brought to my life." Never got to say I'm sorry for being such an idiot. Never got to say thanks for loving me in spite of myself.
Never got a chance to say "thanks for the gift of knowing you"
We all take people that we love for granted....we think that they're always going to be there. Guess what? They won't be. One day you're going to get that phone call and if you haven't said all that you wanted to say, then it will be too late. Sure, you can visit their grave and spill your guts...but isn't it worth picking up the phone or making a surprise visit just to say you love them..or thanking them for all that they've brought to your life? My regrets have turned into a life lesson...so
Do it...now. Tell them how you feel and then you won't have regrets.
Bynote: I do love my mom....she has changed and so have I. I love her dearly.
Babcia,.....grandmother.....I love you with all my heart and I miss you. I just wish that I would have taken the opportuinty to get to know you better. I am so sorry.