I have to be honest...after a week of early mornings, late nights, all day meetings, speaker sessions, fancy schmancy meals, east coast time change (which definitely affected my sleep), cross country flights, two more flights to get down to where I currently am - in Miami, FL, I kind of feel like I've been hit by a freight train :). I'm not quite sure how I escaped without getting myself sick, but thank gawd almighty - somehow I did and now it's time for some serious R&R and quality East Coast family time down in Miami, FL.
I got right down to business with the R&R with a luxiorous 10 hours of sleep last night! TEN beautiful hours - I cannot express to you how lovely this was or how much my body was needing it! I didn't get out of bed until 9:30 this morning - unheard of in my world lately - my body/mind usually don't let me sleep past 7:30 these days with the constant stream of activities I've managed to create for myself. I could go on and on about how glorious it felt to have nothing to wake up and rush off to this morning and I think I must have smiled in my sleep the whole night long knowing this! What a liberating feeling that I have been seriously missing and am feeling so grateful for having back!
I didn't get to bed though without a lot of catching up with my Grandma, Aunt and cousin. I love my crazy Jewish family out here on the east coast and I just get a kick of out having these crazy Jewish-Japanese roots - I love it! So anyways, yes, we got some serious catching up in over dinner and then after dinner my Grandma and I stayed up until about 11 (I know not super late - but man am I surprised I made it to that hour!) chatting away some more.
It would take a novel to go into detail about our conversation and for me to tell you just how lucky I feel to have yet ANOTHER amazing woman like my grandma in my life, but I'll try my best to give you the cliff notes version.
My grandma has experienced some big life changes in the past year and a half. For 27 years, following retirement (she and my Grandpa owned the neighborhood shoe store in Flemington, NJ-how adorable is that!?), my Grandma and Grandpa lived in their dream world in Boca Raton - they got to play tennis, golf, lounge by pools, eat yummy meals at the country club, join bridge and mah jong clubs and make TONS of great friends along the way. A year and a half ago, however, my grandparents decided to move away from Boca down to Miami because my Grandpa's health was starting to decline. As if that wasn't hard enough, shortly following the move, my Grandma, Aunt and my Dad had to make the difficult decision to put my Grandpa in a nursing home because it was just too much for my Grandma to continue caring for him on her own.
This trip is the first time I've been out to visit since all of this has happened and it has been really great to get to talk to my Grandma face to face about a lot of it. Her perspective on the whole situation absolutely inspires me and leaves me hoping that her attitude is hereditary! I know she very much misses the life that she and my Grandpa had in Boca, but she has adapted and found lots of positive things about her life in Miami. I truly appreciate and respect her flexibility and ability to adapt to life changes at an age where many people seem to become stuck in their ways and ultra-crabby curmudgeons :) if things aren't just as they expect them to be. My Grandma is a very social woman and thrives on having a rich social life and well after her move to Miami, she didn't have a single friend except of course for my Aunt, my cousin and my Aunt's boyfriend and although she is a very friendly person, she can be shy if she doesn't know someone which makes it a little scary to be in a new place without your usual social circle.
My favorite story of last night was this one; Just recently, through a random connection my Grandma found out about a local senior center that offers activites for senior citizens. So you know what she told me she did? She said, "Sarah, sometimes you just have to grab the bull by it's horns and go for it." And you know what? She did exactly that! She headed over to the Card Room at the local senior center where there were games of Mah-Jong going on. She walked into the room and surveyed for a table that had an opening. She found a table where 4 ladies were sitting and she walked up and asked,"Do you all need a 5th?" (Now if that's not a lady with a whole lot of gumption, I don't know what is!) And she said the ladies peered up and seemed to be sizing her up for a minute and then said, "Yes." So, my Grandma took a seat and the other ladies asked if she was a beginner and my Grandma said, "No, no, I'm not a beginner" (because it's true you know- my Grandma knows her Mah-Jong!) and that was that. She's become close with these 4 women and does lunch and local theatre and dinner with them and is building her social life back up again. Not too shabby for an 80 year old (ooops...I mean 39 Grandma :)). She says she was just very lucky to have met these women, but I think my Grandma did a pretty good job of creating her own luck too.
I had to fight back the tears while listening to this story last night - because it's just so inspiring to me to have an example of a woman of her age who is still making new friends continues to "Take the Bull by the Horns." She could easily sulk and lament over leaving the life she had in Boca, but she doesn't, she knows there is still lots of life to be lived where she is and she's got the courage inside of her to go out and find it.
I love you so much for setting this example Grandma and hope that your ability to always seek out life rubs off on Jess, Gregory and I!
Pictures of my lovely Jewish, east coast fam. coming soon!