This year I surprised myself with my New Years’ resolution. My usual resolution is to get in shape, which I never seem to get around to anyway. Instead of the usual self- absorbed approach to the New Year, I decided to start 2003 on another foot. This year I will devote to my family.
I never noticed how frail my grandmotherwas until she came over for Christmas dinner this year. I always thought of her as being so strong. In my adoring eyes she was the brave woman that had survived a terrifying occupation in World War Two, and a narrow escape with her husband and child from Soviet soldiers hunting them down in the 1956 Hungarian uprising. To me she was a courageous refugee who worked as hard as she could to build a promising future for her daughter here in Canada. She was so strong – when I was young and she was well into her seventies we still played tag together. But it startled me how fast her condition had changed. She was even having trouble getting up stairs. She had lost a lot of weight too. She looked frighteningly frail. My mother explained to me she is lonely and depressed all alone in her apartment and had lost her desire to eat.
Last night my grandmother came over for dinner. Instead of saying a quick “hello” to her when she came in and then burying myself in the waste of life that is MSN Messenger, I asked her how she was doing and I hugged her and hung up her coat for her in the closet. While she removed her boots I told her about my day and enquired about hers. She seemed more and more happy as the minutes I spent with her accumulated. After she got her boots off she pulled the pants she hemmed for me out of her purse and asked me to try them on. She wanted to see if they were the right length. I ran upstairs to try them on. When I came back down again to the living room I modeled my new pants for her with the pleasant hum of Strauss in the background. She made quite the fuss about how I asked her to hem my pants too long. She said she would have gotten the strap if she came to school in such slovenly garb. I giggled and said she would have gotten the strap for merely coming to school in pants. She laughed and said if her skirt was as short as my pants are long she would have got it for sure. I tried to convince her that with shoes they would be short enough to be socially acceptable. After a few minutes of this fuss making we noticed how silly we were being. She changed the subject by mentioning that the music was lovely to dance to. So I shuffled back a few steps and did my best silly impression of a stuffy Victorian man and asked her if she cared to dance. She mocked me by gracefully accepting. She took my hands in hers and we twirled around the room together laughing and joking. As we swirled around she began to appear as I preferred to think of her – strong and filled with a passion for life. It occurred to me how much I care about her. I’d like to build our once strong relationship up again. I’d like to call her more often. I know how happy it makes her when I do. She has no one other than my mother and I. My goal this year is to have a sense of peace knowing that if she suddenly passed away she will do so happy and content.