Saturday, November 29, 2008

Babci lives on

I've been in the U.S. almost two weeks now. Meeting a nephew and experiencing reverse-flipped-repeat-rereverse culture shock seem to have just about completely stumped my ability to blog. The only person I want to portrait is little Des (the nephew), but there are two problems with that: first, you may get bored of me telling cute baby stories; second, if he ever grows up to read my blog I don't want him to get off on a too-embarrassed foot. Actually, make that three problems: third, I'm having way too much fun making a fool of myself with him to take the time out to write about it!

But, meeting Des this Thanksgiving week has been an interesting convergence of factoids. One, it's really easy to be thankful for Thanksgiving with a cute nephew to play with. Not only that, but it's been great to spend time with his parents, too.
Second, with my parents around up until last weekend, it was also a little bit of a family reunion. Almost the entire family, but not quite, on my dad's side was together for Thanksgiving for the first time this year in... no one can remember how long, but at least a decade!
Third, it was our first family holiday without the Babci, one of the most amazing people in the world, around. I didn't call her, didn't go through the brief words of loving encouragement and prayers and tears that I've received from her faithfully every birthday and holiday and other special occasion for years now.
Fourth, I did a double take when I realised that my mom has actually stepped up to the plate and braved the title of Babci for herself! In a strange way, was it God's mercy that the original Babci passed away just two weeks before Des was born, leaving the position open for the new grandmother to take on the title?

(Babci is, at least according to our family's tradition, Polish for grandmother. So of course my mom's the new Babci because she's a new grandma. But in our circle of friends, and especially for my brother, my cousins and me, the label Babci carries with it an enormous weight and the aura of a big personality encapsulated in a frail body...)

Anyway, the fifth converging factor was the day after Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving now has, as far as I have been able to ascertain, a minimum of four titles. Please tell me any titles I may be missing!
1. Black Friday (aka, the biggest shopping day of the year)
2. Buy Nothing Day (seriously. In response to Black Friday: you choose, buy loads or buy nothing)
3. Make Something Day (a response to Buy Nothing Day, apparently)
4. National Listening Day (simply NPR's good idea of a good way to spend a relaxing holiday Friday, I think!)

It's this final one that I really was inspired to embrace last Friday, were it not for the cutest little baby in the world yanking my attention away from the important task of listening. Oh yeah, and all the shopping. But I was really inspired by one of my favourite blogs to not only do some listening, but to record the story I've listened to.

So in honour of the passing on of the Babci baton, I think it's finally time for me to write down some original Babci stories. In her final years she grew quite chatty about her fascinating past, so even though she was no longer around to be listened to last Friday, I hope her stories - and even more than her stories, her wisdom, can live on. For a start, I've already posted some of her story that I shared at her funeral.

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