17 May 2011

Calling Babcia

I called my Babcia this weekend, like I do twice a week.  She has told me she loves when I call her but I can tell if I call her too often that she thinks I'm worried about her and that it makes her feel bad.  So, for now, I call twice a week.

My babcia has always been such a warm, caring woman.  The sort of woman anyone would feel extremely lucky to have as a Babcia.  She gives pearls of wisdom when you have a stomach ache, can tell you what to eat or drink or do when your teeth hurt, believes in not letting children cry themselves to sleep and affection and attention being top priority toward children.  I love her.

When I called her this time, she was complaining about how the weather in Poland was not great for First Communions.  I told her we had rainy cold weather here as well for the First Communions of the 8 year olds in our Catholic school.

She told me that she remembered on her First Communion, her mother was holding an umbrella over her head because it was raining.  The priest looked at them and said "Don't worry, we will go inside and the weather will turn around for our children."  And sure enough, it became warm and sunny outside right away.

She hoped the same would happen for the children having their First Communions this weekend.

That God looks out for those who love him.

You can't help but love her.

These are the moments I want my parents to share with me, I think.

She also told me about a woman who had recently passed away and who my family knew well.  She had made it to the viewing.  But somehow while waiting for the bus and making it to the funeral, she missed the group.  She arrived at the cemetary, which is very large and wooded, and could not find them.  So, she instead visited the graves of both her and her deceased husband's parents and also my Dziadek, her husband.

I could hear she was sad so I told her what I thought she would tell me.  "Maybe God knew they were thinking of you so you were led to visit them today instead."

She cheered up and started talking about how she thinks of them as well.  Then, the dark cloud of old age settled on her and she said she would be with them soon as well.

In the conversation, I asked her to possibly give me her and my Dziadek's parents names.  I had this information before our move last year but cannot locate it.  My Babcia planned to write me a letter with all of the family names.

She told me that her grandparents had died before she knew them.  From diseases before they could reach old age and that it was very common at the time for that.

My Babcia admitted that she would always get jealous of others when she would hear or see other children playing with their grandparents and here she was with no living grandparents in her life.  My heart ached at those words.  Although my grandparents (except for my mother's father) were all alive for a long time in my life, the long distance and cultural difference had always had me feeling the same as a child.

I told my Babcia that I wished we could have had much more time together in life but that no matter what, I loved her forever.  I had to tell her.  I don't know how much more time I have with her.  And if I will have time with her being aware of what I say.  Alzheimer's seems to be claiming my Babcia faster and faster every day since about two years ago.

We talked about many other things.  The situation in France politically.  The people suffering in Libya and Syria right now.  Reminders that I am her first grandchild.  My comforting her that my brother loves her and that he wants to call and talk to her but fears his Polish is less than adequate.  I have to figure out how to three-way call to Poland to act as translator.

As usual, we hang up the phone with many professions of love and missing each other and warm wishes to the rest of the family and my heart praying that I have enough time to see her again.  So that she can meet her second granddaughter by me.  And sorrow at all the time I lost with her because I was here and she was there and time, money, and distance were our enemy.

I have to wonder whether this is something my husband and his family can understand.  Whether friends can understand.  Or is this what it is to be a grown Immigrant Child?  And how my Babcia must have felt all these years.


lspar002 said...

I love reading your blog. The emphasis that other countries and cultures place on family warms my heart. I wish that is was like that a lot in America. I have been working so hard to instill this in my kiddos. As I get older, I realize how important and lovely family relationships are.
As for the other Polish lady, it's sad that she put so much judgement on you. I think that it is wonderful that you are trying to pass your Polish heritage on to your children. That is something that Tim's dad didn't really do, so we don't have a lot of Italian stories/heritage to pass on to the kids because we just don't know. Keep on doing what you are doing because you are doing great!

Unknown said...

I love reading your posts. They are always so open and heart felt. Your grandmother is a wonderful woman full of love and knowledge. I'm sorry you are so far apart. My heart aches for what you are going through.

Katie said...

I'm a new follower and thanks for linking up last week on my Wordless Wednesday! I am also living on the prairie. Love your blog, your openness and your history. I can't wait to try some recipes too.