August 23 – my almost centenarian grandma

30/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. My bebe is an awesome grandmother. She is my mom’s mom and is nearing 100 years of age – since I was 17, my bebe told me to get married so she could live to see that day – well, not only has she seen that day but she has lived to see her 14 grandkids get married and the birth of 25 great grandkids. Up until recently due to the sale of a home, she lived on her own in a basement suite in East Van and as long as I have known her, she has always been by herself and lived an independent lifestyle due to crazy family dynamics. As far as I can remember, bebe has always been in Canada but I’m sure she must have immigrated when I was very young. My bebe has always been supportive of me and very good for my ego – every time I’ve been over to her place, I get showered with compliments, hugs and just all around positivity. She is of that generation where meat on your bones is a good thing so anytime I’ve gained a few pounds (which is often), she is ecstatic – sunken cheeks don’t get you far with my grandma. She will try to make me food and if I don’t accept, she is disappointed but I can change her mood by a simple request for chai (especially with Indian spices) and she then sets to work getting it all prepared while conversing with me. She is very proud of the fact that I’m the first of her grandkids to go to university and that I am a teacher. She takes pride in my kids when they visit – I can see her beaming as she looks upon her great granddaughter and great grandson and it makes me happy that she is happy with all my successes. I recall sitting with her when I was younger and the relaying of her life through tidbits: being betrothed at 12, parents emigrating to Canada with her six brothers (some born there, majority in Canada) while she had to stay in India, married at 17, losing a child to disease, escaping during war conflicts and hiding with her kids to avoid the soldiers, keeping her 3 daughters at a time when others sold/disposed of female children, etc etc. I’ve been fortunate as these stories, to my knowledge, haven’t been told to my siblings, cousins or even mom and her siblings – something special I share only with my grandmother. I am disappointed with myself in that I haven’t visited my grandmother as much in the last year due to family politics but as I finish this post, I have decided that I will remedy that. Here’s to my bebe – hoping I continue to see you take pride in me as I do in you for many years to come.


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