Monday, January 6, 2014

It is my turn...because I want to

Hello.  Happy Día de Reyes.

As I'm writing this I find myself in the ER sitting next to my grandfather.  Today is Jan 6, a normal routine day in many countries, but here in Puerto Rico it is a holiday.

While many families are celebrating together, mine has been taking shifts to take care of my abuelo.  I am writing this post on my Android phone with one hand.  My other hand, he has tightly held in his, as if making sure I am not going anywhere.

Since he got sick on Friday and specially today while my husband drove me here I have been thinking and remembering, and I realized I have been so lucky to have my grandparents in my life.

I was very blessed.  I got to meet my great-great grandfather on my mother's side.  I knew my great-grandfather, he passed away ten years ago.  My great-grandmother who lived 98 years passed when I was in 8th grade.  People could not believe they were still alive.  Most of my friends didn't get a chance to meet or could not remember their grandparents.  So I always wanted my children to be as blessed as I was.  Because you learn a lot about life when you spend time with people from all different generations.

I have such an amazing relationship with my grandparents.  Even today in my late twenties, I go see them everyday.  We have coffee and talk.  I love chatting with my grandad (who I'm keeping company today), even though he no longer knows who I am.  I always ask him, do you know who I am? He say you're Juana (everyone is Juana to him now) or he'll say la vecina (the neighbor).  He cries a lot, I kind of figure that he probably remember but he forget the words and he gets frustrated.

This journey with abuelo BamBam began almost 15 years ago.  But it is in the last 4 years that he has rapidly declined.  Seven years ago when my niece was born, he called her mi chulita (my darling), then my nephew was born and his mind was still here.  I really started to pray.  I asked God to give him a chance to get to know my kids.  That he would have health and some of his mind still there so that he would really know them.  In 2010 I got my answer to my prayers.  My son BamBam was born. 

For the first 2 years of BamBam's life my abuela helped take care of him.  Therefore my son spent a lot of QT with his great-grandfather.  So one day, I asked him if he knew who the baby was.  He said '' ese es el chulito''.  My grandmother used to tell me how the baby had been a blessing for my granfather because he would ask for his chulito all the time.  And when the baby was there, he would sit and watch him all day.  One day he even got the baby out of the cradle and when she walked in, he was rocking him in the chair.

He no longer remembers him.  But I make a point to visit everyday.  I want to instill in my son values of respect and taking care of others, feeling empathy and above all love. I want him to see how much I love being around them.  Maybe one day when it is his time to be a dad, he'll teach my grandkids the same.  He sees me help shower, feed, dress my grandfather and doing everything that needs to be done.  Not because I have to but because I want to.  I cannot think of a better way to honor them.

Bottom line is they took care of me.  Now it us my turn to take care of them...because I want to.

How do you honor your parents?

Above: BamBam with his great grandfather Abuelo BamBam and BamBam when he was one.