traveling gives you a fresh perspective on yourself, your likes, your dislikes, your neighborhood, your family, your friends, your habits, your life. basically, it will flip your notions upside down. the farther you travel away from home, the knowledge you learn will increase exponentially.*
i was in denver this past weekend. i had the good fortune to be able to swing a last minute visit, which meant i had two and a half days with my mom and maga (my grandmother). amidst the flights and food and christmas cards and conversations and quiet moments, i learned about these people i call my family.
for instance, there is MAGA. she is 89 years and 8 months old. what a trooper she is. she is dealing with the aches, pain, and confusion of getting older, but she manages to put a smile on her face and get out there in the world despite the fact that every morning she wakes up without jobo (my grandfather), she does so with a broken heart. her advanced age means she can’t continue the globe trotting ways of her youth, and so, she brings the globe to her. egypt and india are the only two places she and jobo never visited, so when the king tut exhibit set up shop in the denver art museum, she got tickets for herself and mom and me and we all walked like egyptians.
thanks, maga, for showing me how to retain my sassiness for 89+ years. and for showing me how to bring the world to my doorstep.
for instance, my DAD is a sly guy. he’s not upfront with his emotions, so you have to listen for his declarations of love. i’m glad i now know how to do that. this time, it took the form of him looking up my (ridiculously small windowed) connection in philly. he let me know which gate i’d be arriving at (B14) and which gate i had to get to (C18) in 15 minutes. (i originally had 40 whole minutes, but de-icing a plane + waiting while the pilots shoo a fly out of the cockpit cuts into that.) he gave me specific directions on how to get from one gate to the next (because i am amazingly adept at getting lost). he even emailed and texted me this information because he wasn’t sure which i’d get to first. (side note, i LOVE my smartphone.)
too bad i didn’t turn on my phone until after i landed in boston.
thanks, dad, for giving me a reason to practice letting someone take care of me. i’d kind of forgotten.
for instance, there is my MOM. i had the opportunity to witness my mother as a mother but not while mothering me, which (still with me?) means i was able to objectively watch and appreciate her parenting skills. observing her taking care of her mother was something phenomenal. i felt like i had put on a pair of super-scientific-x-ray-night-vision-high-tech-not-yet-created-but-probably-will-be-soon* goggles and instead of seeing bones or guts or body heat, i could see her patience, her intelligence, her frustration, her sense of humor, her nerves of steel, her love.
growing up, it’s hard to see your mother for all of her sacrifices because, well, you can’t see past yourself. (those teen years are tough on everyone involved.) and even now, it’s still a bit hard to see her objectively because she’s either doing something for me or for one of my siblings and i’m too close to view the situation with any clarity. but denver enlightened me. my mom’s relationship with her mother is (not so) surprisingly a lot like hers and mine. they laugh, bicker, listen, talk, direct, clash, roll their eyes, are grateful for one another. another key fact: they still possess the ability to embarrass each other.
for instance, maga came down wearing a silk scarf tied around her head to keep her ear warm. i thought she looked adorable, however mom couldn’t stop laughing at how maga looked like a babushka. later that night, we were all at the neighbors (maga was sans scarf) when my mom announces to the group, “do you have any grandsons? abby’s available.” yup. thanks, mom.
but you know what? if having them as my role models means i’m going to grow up to be like them, i am ready to grow up.
any day now…..
in the meantime, thank you, mom, for being there for these first (almost, but not quite yet) 30 years. i wouldn’t be who i am today without your guidance, your expectations, your love.
*so says me, the scientific expert.
4 thoughts on “role models”
Awww. Wonderful role models indeed. You are lucky to have such a great family, and they are lucky to have you. :)
Thanks. I feel so lucky that I can recognize my role models for what they are – a good influence.
So sweet Abs! Makes me thankful for our family even though I wasn’t able to be there with you. I can’t wait to see you!
yes, we are very lucky indeed.