The AH-HA moment!

After we are born, we rely on our parents to give us nourishing food, a warm place to live, comfy clothes and a safe environment. As we get older, we find our independence. We feel invincible and able to conquer the world. We no longer rely on our parents as much.

As a teenager I struggled with understanding my parents way of expressing love, compassion and generosity. There were times when they had my best interest in mind yet I felt as if they were smothering me. For instance, my friends would go to the movies and hang out but I wasn’t allowed to go. At the time, I felt they were trying to control me. I felt I wasn’t given the opportunity to grow and mature.

When we get to a certain age, something in our life changes. We get married, have kids, and soon find ourselves living across country. It’s only then that we start to realize how important our parents really are. Or at least I hope we do.

I come from the East coast – New England – and lived there with my parents for the first 35 years of my life. When I married my husband, I was whisked away to Wild Wonderful West Virginia. It was challenging for me because I had left everything I knew behind. From there we moved even further away to the middle of the Pacific ocean. Hawai`i was a tropical paradise but it wasn’t New England. Today, seven years later, we live near San Francisco still 2,400 miles from home.

At the end of January I had the opportunity to spend almost two weeks with my parents. It was just them and me. It didn’t take long for me to feel like a teenager again. I had made a comment about needing another suitcase if I bought too many souvenirs. Because I said this, my folks went out of their way to find me one. They spent the day driving me to the mall and to two different outlet malls. I tried again to tell them that I didn’t need another suitcase and it was only if I bought too much stuff. I began to feel like I wasn’t being heard.

My AH-HA moment arrived.

I was so busy thinking about myself that I didn’t even consider that they were trying to help me. Talk about feeling like a donkey.

There were a couple more situations like this during the two weeks but by the end of the vacation I understood that this trip was not about me. It was about them. I was so thankful to have the time to spend with them. What a precious gift. Although, it took me some time to realize how precious it was.

My dad is going to be 79 this year and my mom 76. I am so grateful they are still here and I can call them when I need them. They are not retired and they are so busy and they do so much for my family, myself and anyone else that may need help. They are the most selfless, loving, compassionate people I know. I can’t think of a finer example for their seven children and eleven  grandchildren.

People really need to consider how precious their parents and family are because they will not be around forever. Just ask someone who has lost a parent, sibling or family member. There is no greater gift in this world than your parents. Cherish every moment and talk to them. Find out what their life has been like. I’ll bet you’ll find it more interesting than you think.

P.S…You can always start researching your family genealogy and compile your research in a book for generations to come. Check out Families Across Time for helpful information on how to do this.

Is it a dream or is it real?

Marie Ange Bertha Jacques 1913-1985
Marie Ange Bertha Jacques 1913-1985

Have you ever had a dream that felt so real? Maybe you dreamt about a loved one or a pet who had passed and when you woke up it felt more like a memory.

I have had several dreams like this.

My mémère (French for Grandmother) Jacques was everything to me. She was a tall women with brown permed hair. Her skin was like porcelain. Mémère had thick bottle-like glasses because she had cataracts. And she only wore dresses – or at least that’s what I remember. She had the warmest hugs, the sweetest French accent, and a most infectious giggle.

When speaking with a French Canadian who’s second language is English, they don’t say things the way we are used to hearing them. Mémère would pronounce “th”, as in thumb or thankful, more like a “t”. Thumb was more like tumb and thankful like tankful. I always loved that about her. She always carried Canadian mints – the peppermint and spearmint flavors. Her spearmint mints were pink so we called them Pepto Bismol mints.

Whenever she would call the house to talk to my mom, I would get so excited that I practically ripped the phone out of her hand. I was always excited to talk to mémère. I remember her coming out to dinner with our family and having her over the house during special occasions.

My most favorite memories were when she watched my younger brother and me at her house.

My uncles hunted and once killed a fox and had it stuffed and mounted. Whenever I would visit my mémère, I would sit in the small living room in the back of the house and hug the fox. When we weren’t watching TV we would sit at the kitchen table and play cards together. Mémère Jacques was so patient when we played cards. She’d often gave us a bowl of ice-cream. I loved her so very much. I miss her every day.

I remember the day she had passed. She had been very sick. I remember my sister staying with her to take care of her during her final days. On December 9, 1985, I was sitting in my 8th grade class doing my work. I looked up at the clock and the time read 3:00 p.m. I knew she had passed away. The story I was told is she had been in a coma for a while and my mother and the nurse were there when she had finally opened her eyes. The nurse told her to close her eyes and rest and then she passed.

It was a sad time but I know I didn’t fully understand it all. At that age I know I didn’t process the loss like an adult could. I remember not being sad right away. It was more like a happy feeling for her. I thought there was something wrong with me because I saw my family members crying from the loss.

It had been many years after her passing that I had this dream. I remember being in a kitchen. It was like a black and white scene that had a soft white haze. We were there along with my father’s mother who had passed three years earlier. They were teaching me how to boil potatoes. There were these huge pots on the stove, restaurant size, with boiling water. We were pealing potatoes to put in the pot. I remember thinking to myself, “is this real?” It felt real. The time that I spent with them they didn’t speak. They both just tended to their work.

After waking up from the dream I wanted to go back to sleep so I could be with them longer. I felt sad because I missed them so. I think it was her way of letting me know she is still with me even though she is no longer a part of the physical world.

What are your thoughts?