Thursday, August 12, 2010
Since I moved away from Cleveland in 1995, I have realized how much my grandparents mean to me. I grew up living no less than 10 minutes from my mom's parents for most of my childhood. I vividly remember my brother and I go over to Busia and Dziadzia's house after school (Grandma and Grandpa in Polish). Busia would pick us up from school at St. Martin's and we would go to her house, watch the Disney Channel and eat fruit roll ups. The Dziadzia would come home from work and we would all eat dinner together until our parents picked us up. For Christmas, we have carried on their family traditions. We break traditional Polish bread and greet each other, eat wonderful Polish food, Dziadzia says the dinner prayer, Busia coordinates the procession of the baby Jesus, we sing Christmas carols, and share gifts. For Easter we would always have Easter egg hunts in their front yards, they would hide tons of eggs for us kids. I always prayed that they would be able to travel to my wedding when it came time, and two years ago they made the trip down to Georgia. My dziadzia, who is in his 80s, polka danced all night with me, his daughters and other grand daughters. Our friends are still amazed at his stamina!
Busia and Dziadzia couldn't be a more perfect couple. He is sweet, empathetic and funny. She is honest, loving and a natural caretaker. They love each other more than most couples do. They have been married for over 60 years and not a day goes by that I don't pray Brian and I have the same fortune they have. They raised 6 wonderful daughters, have 21 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren and many more have married into the family. Dziadzia has a Purple Heart from World War Two. Busia was a stay at home mom, raising their daughters. Dziadzia bakes wonderful treats and homemade breads. Busia cooks fabulous meals where everyone wants the recipes.
My Dad's parents, Grandma and Grandpa, lived about 30 minutes away from us growing up. Grandpa had a stroke before I was born, but that didn't take away his sense of humor or love for the Cleveland Indians. Summer days were filled with Grandpa sitting on his big front porch listening to them on his radio. When Grandma would baby-sit us, she always would take us to McDonald's to get apple pies, a treat we didn't get often. My brother and I remember Grandma peeling potatoes at her kitchen table for every holiday. She makes the best stuffing in the world. Grandpa loved watching his grandkids and he loved laughing with us. Grandma took care of him for years, showing what it means to keep your wedding vows through sickness and in health. Grandpa passed away when I was in high school. He also fought in World War II and shared stories with us. Grandma is a country girl who grew up in West Virginia. She still tells us stories of growing up on the farm. Grandpa's family were coal miners in West Virginia.
Watching people age can be hard and sad at times. I have these remarkable, wonderful people in my life who are having to deal with life and the unfairness of it. They are becoming forgetful, getting frustrated easier, but still taking on life as it is dealt to them. While it is hard for me, I can only imagine what it's like for their children. How do you go about telling your parents they need to move somewhere safer, or they shouldn't drive anymore?
I love all of my grandparents very dearly. Moving here has been a struggle because I realize that my kids may not have what I did growing up by having family so close. But, I am beyond grateful that I did have the opportunity to have them so close to me growing up. I miss them every day and love them more all the time. I cherish my talks with them, and the silly cards my Dziadzia sends me. I love his jokes, my Busia's encouragement, and my Grandma's questions. Simply put, I love them and miss them so, so much...