Still, I do have something meaningful to write about today. It's about tomorrow. March 2nd.
Last year on March 2nd, Yoav turned one month old and I was starting to figure out what being a mom really meant. Back in 2008, four years before my son was born, I lost my first grandparent. I write extensively on my Dad's parents because they're easy to write about. I'm a lot like my Bubba (grandmother) and, at times, I'm more like my Zeidy (grandfather). I rarely write about my Mom's parents. Not because I don't love them or because I didn't know them - I did - but it's harder for me to put my feelings about them into words. While my Dad's parents didn't ask a lot from me, my Mom's parents did. In no way is that a complaint - I loved it - it just made my relationship with them a lot more complicated. They also took care of me in ways that my Dad's parents didn't.
So, on March 2nd, 2008, I experienced the death of my grandfather - my Papa. I dream about him often and the dreams feel very real. Each time, he tells me he's OK. If I'm too open about that, I'm labeled the crazy one in my family. But my Gram gets it. She still talks to his picture - and so do I.
I used to call my Papa for advice when I first moved to Israel. I used to ask him how he acclimated to the US in hopes that it would help me acclimate to Israeli life. His words gave me comfort ... aside from the time he told me to break Kashrut (Jewish dietary law) and open up a Taco Bell because I'd make millions. That was less comforting.
Now that I'm a Mom - with another one on the way in August - I wish my Papa was here. I wish he could see that my son has the same reddish blonde hair that I had at his age, which came from my Papa's side of the family. I wish he could see how my son eats. He used to tell me that I was never an adventurous eater - but I want to show him that his love for food is very apparent in my son. I wish he could see the blue eyes that my son has - they're around the same color of my Papa's eyes. And I wish he could hold Yoav.
I'm thankful for the memories I have of my Papa. He taught me to be an animal lover and that is one of my favorite traits passed on to Yoav. My Papa would get a kick out of Cecil and Sparky (but I think he'd love Cecil more).
There's not a day that goes by where I don't miss my Papa and I try to dedicate at least one blog post a year to his memory. Just don't think that March is a sad month for me - it's filled with a lot of joy. There are birthdays galore and, this year, Passover falls in March - which also makes me happy. Why? Because I don't have to eat Kosher-for-Passover cake on my birthday come April. My Papa would be pleased with that fact that his family is living their lives, just as he wanted us to. He didn't want us to be sad - he wanted us to remember him.
So, here's my final memory for you. Imagine you're a pre-teen and you hate Middle School. You'd be me. Nearly every day, I'd "miss" the bus and ask my Papa to come take me home - we lived in the same complex. He'd do it and every day, he'd take me to McDonalds to get an afternoon snack. Every.Day. (It's amazing that I'm not 500lbs right now) This was his way of taking care of me and it's one of my favorite memories. When he asked me to take him to his chemotherapy appointments or his blood transfusion appointments, I did it with a smile on my face. Why? Because spending that extra time with him meant the world to me. And it was my way of taking care of him - just without McDonalds (although I did offer!!) - I cherished every moment with him.