Appreciating sacrifice…

Some things in life require sacrifice. People tend to expect praise for making “sacrifices” that are simply requirements and responsibilities of choices they’ve made. Few of us realize and appreciate the sacrifices others have made in their own lives in order for us to be able to enjoy the blessings we have received. In between loads of laundry and retrieving the toddler from the top of whatever he has decided to climb today, I have to remember to put a pause on my bitching and moaning and appreciate the blessings from the sacrifices of others in the midst of the madness.

About midway through my pregnancy, a few realities started to set in. Once maternity leave was over what on earth was I going to do with the kid? He certainly couldn’t come to work with me and I am super paranoid about day care. With this worry growing, I had a heart to heart with my mom to try to figure it all out.

I remember when I was little, I had my Etta. This woman, to this day, is my other mother. She bribed me with grapes to start walking at 9 months old. She taught me to count by walking up and down the stairs with her as she took care of the house everyday. She was the homework and vegetable dictator. All these early developmental lessons pale in comparison to what she taught me about people. Her influence is responsible for my view that people are people and regardless of origin, colour, creed – all the things that make us different – all people are no less and no more than you. Respect is not a right, it is earned and good manners are a must in every situation. She taught me to stand up for myself (her picture is beside “warmonger” in the dictionary – seriously), but to be humble in the same breath and admit my mistakes. 30+ years later, she is still working with my family and has become my saviour. After that conversation with mom, I approached her and asked her how she felt about another little one being added to the family. Her response was one of the moments that confirmed to me that bringing this little boy into the world would be the best decision I’ve ever made. Today, she is J’s “Nana” and she brags constantly about her grandson.

On this day in particular, she isn’t feeling on top of the world, so she stayed home. I’ve stayed home from work and have the little terrorist climbing all over me as I attempt to do laundry. I started out thinking about the mountain on my desk and the nightmare playing catch up will be when I get into the office. Then I got over myself. She does this everyday. She raised my sister and I, and now as adults, she is still here teaching the same lessons to my son. “Lucky” is an immense understatement when trying to describe how fortunate both myself and J are to have her in our lives. She’s getting older and I’m glad he’s off to school for the better portion of the day soon. He’s a handful and I can see how tired she is at the end of a day.

We quarrel and argue like an old married couple most of the time. “No, you can’t wear that and leave the house!” “What time are you getting home?” “You need to stop at the supermarket and pick up *list* before you come home” and the all important, “Please DO NOT forget my lotto tickets and bring home dessert for after dinner tonight!” 🙂 I try to get home as soon as possible after work everyday just to rescue her from the tyrant. Most of the time, even when I get there ready to romp, they both ignore me. Could be worse 🙂

Safe in Nana's arms...

Safe in Nana's arms...

I am grateful to have the love personified in her taking care of my son when I have to work. I am grateful to be able to help her in any way I can, even if it’s just to take the time to take her to visit her family in Trelawny on a weekend. I have to remind J sometimes that she was my Nana first and does he ever get jealous! Yes, it will be a rough day at work tomorrow, but so what? The important things in life, my family, are so much more important.

Years ago, her choices could have taken her on a different path. She chose us, her children, her family and I speak for all of us when I say that is it difficult to find the words to even begin to express the profound gratitude for the contribution she has made, and continues to make, in our lives.

She is my family and I hope she knows how much I love her.

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