In the summer of 2017 I decided to go to Europe with my kids for almost 3 months. I wanted the kids to practice Italian and spend some time with their grandpa and their grandparents and meet all of our extended family in Italy and the Canary Islands.
While we were visiting the Canary Islands I often wasn’t sure if my decision to travel so far for so long was the right one. I was missing Utah, our home, our friends, our activities and our life. Then one day my grandma called saying that she had fallen off a chair and broken her tail bone. Sufficeth to say that in that moment I immediately recognized that my trip to a remote island had not just been a coincidence.
I ended up spending a lot of our time going to visit my grandmother almost on a daily basis. I would cook some meals for her. Visit with my grandpa. But my fondest memories came from the time I would spend sitting by her bedside talking.
It was a time that allowed for her to teach me what she had learned from looking back at her own life. During those days we were able to talk freely about a lot of things that had happened during our lives and I was able to learn a lot from my grandmother.
I remember telling her at times that in the United States I feel lonely at times. Other times I struggle with friendships. I remember when she taught me that I am never alone because my children are there with me. I have learned from that to seriously draw from strength from my children’s presence when I need it. Those days when I feel overwhelmed with the house work or life I have sometimes let them know and they have been my guiding angels with their hugs, comforting words, and joy.
She also taught me not to feel like I need to rely on others too much because ultimately my family is what is most important. They are my friends and my number 1. That is something that I try to balance still, but I see where she was coming from. I think sometimes as moms it can be tempting to spend all afternoon chatting with other friends or neighbors while the kids run wild. That is usually what my kids will do. I have learned that at this time of my life, I still need some girlfriend time, but it has to be structured, timed, limited, so that I don’t neglect my own kids. I often like to go out with friends almost without kids so I don’t neglect them while talking to someone and end up with messy, crying kids, and a distracted conversation.
One other teaching that stuck out to me was to not be too forgiving of those that hurt us. And what that means is that we can still forgive others, but we don’t need to be so nice that we allow room for those same people to come into our lives over and over again and hurt us just because we feel we need to be extremely nice. Because letting others hurt us emotionally can be extremely disruptive over time. We can forgive and be polite, but we can politely move on and choose not to be involved with those that poison our souls and hurt our thoughts.
I have also loved learning more about why I am the way I am at times. My mother past away when I was young, so I often times find myself doing things a certain way and remembering what I learned as a child, but having my grandmother teaching me how she taught those same things to my own mother, reminds me of how certain things can really be handed down from one generation to another and that there is a deeper connection then we think.