We are back in Chicago after a fun week in Atlanta where we spent time with my parents, my grandparents, my in-laws, and my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. We also got to squeeze in a little friend time here and there.
We also attended my best friend’s baby showers, both of which were so special and fun. Well, the official shower on Saturday was not so fun for me because Kaiden was being a stage 11 clinger. But it was nice to see so many old friends.
We played, we ate, we slept (!!), and now we’re back to the grind!
One of the other things I made time for was ‘deep’ conversations with my grandparents. I wanted to take advantage of the one-on-one time I had with them to ask questions about their childhoods, their families, the marriage, motherhood, fatherhood, etc.
To be honest, I think they had more fun with this than anyone else. Their faces lit up whenever I’d ask a question. Makes me wish I had started doing this sooner!
I thought I’d share some of the more interesting things I learned. And hopefully, this inspires some of you to do the same with your grandparents/older aunts and uncles.
My grandmother’s overall message was that when you get to be her age you won’t remember the hard times. Only the love and fun you experienced. And this is coming from someone who’s had her share of not-so-good times. She said she honestly doesn’t remember the bad times in detail because she chooses not to focus on that. “At this age, what good does that do me?” Love my ba!
Growing up, neither my grandfather or my grandmother lived lavish lives. There was always one person in the family who worked and brought home money to take care of everyone else. My grandfather is one of 13, and my grandmother is one of five. However, cousins and other relatives often lived with them too. Essentially, the money coming in had to be stretched to feed everyone. In fact, my grandfather recalled the days where they studied by candlelight. Electricity was a want and not a need in those days!
With that being said, I also learned that ba’s father worked in a fabric mill, and my dada’s father owned a small restaurant in their village.
My ba loved to study, but when it came time to further her education, the decision was made for her that she would stay home to help with the upkeep of the house. Personally, I found this to be really sad because I know how smart my grandmother is. She could’ve done so much if she was born in a different time. I also know from previous conversations with my mom that my ba also wishes they had travelled more. She wanted to see the world, and while they have been to London and different parts of the US, she knows there’s more than just that and wishes she could’ve experienced it.
In that same vein, my grandparents had an arranged marriage. They were introduced through an uncle or something, and while it wasn’t love at first sight, I think they both same something in the other which led them to agree to the union. My ba did say that she didn’t feel like she really could’ve said no if she wanted to because of the way the introduction was made. Again, it makes me so mad that women in that time had so little control over their own lives. GRR!
Even though there is some regret for the things not done, I think my grandparents have had a pretty good marriage. Their marriage advice to me was to compromise and approach my marriage with understanding and patience. If you can do that, you’ll be ok.
They also said to always live within your means. And finally, don’t ruminate on your past because you can’t change it. You can really influence what’s happening right now.
So thankful for the time I spent with ba and dada and can’t wait to see them again so that I can bombard them with more questions!