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heirlooms

Friday, August 2, 2013

I'm like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory - when someone's upset or something's wrong, I think tea will help. If you were over, I'd pull out my favorite Polish pottery set, pour you some tea, or coffee, and we'd sit on the couch. It kind of envelopes you in with it's over sized pillows and squishy down throw pillows all over. Here is where we'd just chat for a while about what's on our hearts.


I also cook or bake for friends who are upset, which I completely get from my Grandma Rose. She used to make a huge spread for breakfast - I'm talking bacon and eggs, French toast, regular toast, pancakes, orange juice, milk, and coffee - the whole nine yards. Once you were fed for the start of your day, you knew she loved you and would catch up with you after her dance classes, her red hat society event, or whatever it was she had on her schedule for the day.


I never grew up in Chicago like the rest of all my cousins and family. We were only five hours away when we lived in St. Louis, but then fifteen hours when we moved to Texas, and now Austen & I are even further being in Vegas. My family used to all come in town for Thanksgiving and on the years that everyone was there, we'd have somewhere around 25 people in our house. Grandma Rose, the aunts and uncles all got our bedrooms while us grandkids were kicked to the basement. Mind you, the basement had only 2 couches and around 10 grandkids sprawled out, fighting for a night on the couch. I think I snuck up to the main level family room couches more than once... We'd have backyard football, canoe rides around the lake, and capture the flag at night. Oh, and of course, way too much food.

When we moved to Texas, it was hard for everyone to come visit. I'm pretty sure in the seven years my family has been in Texas, only half of the family has made it for a visit, and we've only been to Chicago maybe three times? It's not right, but that's life. It makes the times we are together even sweeter, though.


This week has weighed on my heart. My Grandma Rose has been sick for a while now, just with her age, and it's hard being away. Austen & I went to Chicago for her 80th birthday on May 4th, and that time is so precious to me now. Before we saw Grandma, my mom and aunt were filling us in. My mom has always been Grandma's "itsy bitsy". My dad referenced her nickname and Grandma didn't know what he was talking about, and my mom cried. I've always been my Grandma's "K-K-K Katie" from the old song, and had prepped myself for her to not remember my little nickname. At dinner, she walked in and the first thing she said was, "My K-K-K Katie!" and hugged me. There was not a dry eye in the room. I still can't write that without crying.

I've realized this past week how important some things are. I had a feeling deep in my heart the other day that my momma would call me saying something happened to Grandma. That night, I got the text that she was in the hospital again. I think God knew my heart needed a little heads-up this time.


I have thought so much about memories of growing up going to her house, which my uncle & aunt now own. The little things you remember from your childhood, like the big painting of mountains and a house nestled in a valley, or the tub of McDonald's happy meal toys for all her grandkids to play with, and the first time I was told she painted the picture of a fruit bowl that was in the dining room. I couldn't believe my Grandma Rose had that much talent. There's a big, old fashioned grate for the ac/heating in the front foyer, and I remember putting our shoes on it so they'd dry from the snow and be nice and warm when it came time to go outside again. I remember her teaching my sisters, cousin, and I how to speak different phrases in Polish one night as we walked to get pizza. I don't remember exactly what she taught us, or how to say it, but I'm pretty sure it was something like, "Hey you, give me my freakin' pizza now!" (which I'm pretty sure we begged her to let us say in the pizza place, and she laughed as she told us not to and murmured that she was going to get in trouble from our parents). Once, she was telling us about a small flood in her basement and was mentioning how much shit was everywhere. My sisters & I giggled at the cuss word, while my mom was saying, "Ma! They don't know those words!" to which she responded, "Well, they do now!" Or one of my favorites: my freshman year of high school, on Thanksgiving day. We had the whole family in town that year and I had just recovered from my first pacemaker/defib surgery and was taken out of the downtown parade half way through performing with our high school color guard and marching band. I held my tears in until my mom and Grandma pulled up in the mini van. Then, I lost it. When I told them why I was so upset, my Grandma started saying, "I can't believe your coach! I'm gonna go yell at him and kick his ass! Nobody treats my granddaughter like this!" (yes, Grandma taught me how to cuss, both in English & Polish) to which my mom told her to stay in the car (and I'm pretty sure put it in drive and started rolling so she couldn't jump out). Grandma's a little Polish firecracker ;)

So, what kinds of memories do I want my children, and grandchildren to have? I love family heirlooms, and would love to point to a picture and say to our babies, "Your bucia painted this, isn't it beautiful?" and to tell them about the memories I had with her. I want them to know we sing "happy birthday" in Polish and English every year, because the whole family learned "sto lat" just for her 80th birthday and kept the tradition going. I want them to have to thank their bucia for their curls every time they complain about them, and I want them to get their fingers sticky as they braid houska bread for Easter.


So if you can, send up a little prayer for my Grandma Rose & my whole family. Life is hard when you have to watch your loved ones grow old, even harder when someone so full of life has it happen to them so quickly. Harder yet when Austen & I, and my family live so far away from her. I know God has a plan in all of this, and I am so thankful knowing Austen was able to meet her and for such a special occasion.

Life is bittersweet sometimes, isn't it, ya'll?

-- I'm linking up with Rags to Stitches for a coffee date
-- I'm also linking up with Casey Leigh for on your heart

2 comments:

  1. ohhh love I am thinking about you!!!! This was such a sweet post!!

    Also I unfollowed & then refollowed your blog so i am hoping that solved the problem of your posts not showing up!!
    love you doll!!!


    PS when do you get into your classroom??? I want to see pictures!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, thank you so so much, Sarah! You're such a doll :) I don't move in until mid-August. I'm so ready to, and to have my office back since it's currently like a big black hole of teacher stuff. I'll definitely post pictures once I do!

      Delete

I love all ya'lls comments! I will try to either respond to your comment via the post or in email to ((hopefully)) create a more personal conversation.

xoxo

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