I’m writing a late weekend recap from my weekend in Carefree, Arizona with my grandparents. Anyone that is lucky enough to have spent some time with my grandfather knows just how special of a man he is. My grandpa has always been one of, if not my biggest inspirations and role models and I cherish time with him so much. Grandpa Joe and Grandma Aurelia (+ the rest of my amazing family) were the sole reason I went to Chicago for college. Joe is the reason I believe humble is the best thing a person can be and he’s the reason my heart is so soft (if anyone cries more than me it’s Joe). He founded his own law firm (now retired), and he’s the president of the board of St. Catherine’s Hospital in Northwest Indiana (just to name a few things he does) and loved by every person that knows him.
Joe has taught me that no matter the hardship, life will be ok. Through this life, Joe has had leukemia (now in remission) that nearly took his life, has Parkinson’s Disease that makes daily life really hard, he’s lost most of his friends and lost his best friend in the most horrible way possible, and yet never, ever complains. How? How does one do that? Part of me thinks that’s how grandpa is, but the other huge part is the rock of a support system that is my grandma who somehow holds it all together for everyone. She keeps the calendar, the pills in order, the flights booked, the zillions of doctors appointments made, the cards sent, the birthdays remembered, dinner cooked, my grandpa supported, and love spread. A lot of people say they see my grandmother in me- the older I get, the more I see it and I take that as a huge compliment.
(Grandpa Joe, Grandma Aurelia, Me, and Oma- missing our sweet Otta but he’s with us in spirit!)
To say I’m thankful to have had those 5 days with my grandparents is a huge understatement. You never know how many days, weeks, years, you have left with people you love- something I learned after losing my Otta suddenly almost 6 years ago.
As of late I’ve been feeling weighed down by the pressure I put on myself, almost paralyzed with anxiety for wanting to be good enough, successful enough, friendly enough, living life enough, relaxing enough, and I needed this weekend as a step back. Seeing myself through my grandparent’s eyes made my self-critic take a chill pill for just a minute allowing me to just be.
(Lake Michigan walks are my favorite thing with grandpa and grandma back home in Chicago/Ogden Dunes- I visited them about once a month in college)
I flew in Friday, took a super shuttle to their house, ate leftovers and fixed the internet problem. I rewarded myself with some pino grigio and took a little stroll and discovered the sun dial and the pretty walking area around it that I enjoyed every evening at sunset. I watched an old movie with my grandma for the rest of the evening that was actually super great and crashed after a salmon dinner that she lovingly cooked.
I woke up Saturday to have some breakfast and grandpa and I headed out thrift shopping. Of course, both store owners knew Joe and we enjoyed browsing the weird assortment of stuff. I bought a great gag gift for Sarah. Joe tried to convince me that he could use a curtain rod as a walking stick… that’s grandpa for you. We headed back to the house and picked up grandma for a beautiful walk at Brown Ranch .The cacti here are huge! I booked myself a manicure and then came back to have some wine and work on my thesis for a bit. We had pasta I cooked for dinner and then I netflixed my evening away with Grace and Frankie- if you haven’t watched this show its heart warming and so entertaining.
(pre hike lunch plate)
Sunday was church day and we headed out for another walk after a pancake breakfast- my favorite walk of the weekend! This place was called Jewl of The Creek (creek was dry) and I walked the first ½ with grandma and ended up taking a jog for the rest of the loop. It was weird- I HATE running but it felt incredible freeing and good in that moment. We came back home, I took my stroll, made us dinner, did some article reading for class this week, netflixed till bed.
(Grandma has some pretty good iPhone skills!)
(Easy dumpling dinner + ice cream from the carton after)
Mondays are usually my day for LOTS of school work so I still wanted to do something productive but I also wanted to do something different. I took about 3 hours to to Roby’s E-course and really enjoyed learning about hypothalamic amenorrhea and female hormones. I feel so lucky to be her intern- she’s such a wealth of knowledge. In all honesty I was feeling pretty crappy Monday- my period was trying to make my life a living hell so I skipped out on a hike at the Indian ruins and just took a light stroll by myself before getting about another hour of thesis work done at home.
We then headed out for Mexican and some really, really strong margs that in all honesty, knocked my grandpa and I out at a nap by the pool after. I ordered the 1/2 portion of fish tacos and it was the perfect amount for me! This might have been my favorite time with them just enjoying the weird scenery at the restaurant(there is a duck pool?) and having good conversation. Pool time was great too! I finished reading Health At Every Size and I can’t recommend it enough.
I made us some frozen pizza for dinner and I headed in to read some articles for a few hours since I was missing class Monday night.
Tuesday I forgot to take photos of but I made us oatmeal, went to grandpas favorite store to get the paper and donuts with him, and hopped on a super shuttle to the airport to come back to LA and headed straight home to shower and to campus to teach and take class. That was a busy day and I slept like a BABY last night.
Anyways- thanks for reading this novel and I wish all of you could hang with my grandparents. I feel like the luckiest granddaughter.