Friday, May 12, 2006


I try to call my grandmother who lives in Argentina once a month. I don't always get around to it. Mostly because when I think about it, it's 9pm when my kids are finally asleep and I have a few moments to myself. The problem is that there is a five hour time difference, so it would be two in the morning there. As much as she loves me, I don't think she'd appreciate the wake up call.

But today, I thought about it early enough to check in with her. She was thrilled of course. She filled me in on all the relatives and asked how we were doing here. She told me she got the article in the newspaper I sent her recently. And she reminded me that she will be 89 this year. Wow.

Eventually, the conversation turned to my father as it usually does. My father passed away about ten years ago. He was her baby. To me it's sad. To her, it's devastating. And I could hear the tears in her voice. And, I can do nothing but repeat a few words to console her -- though nothing really can. But after a few moments, she pulls herself together, and tells me how lucky she is. She has a wonderful family, with great grandkids. She has her health. She's lucky.

On my end, I'm thinking, "You're not lucky. You live in a country so unstable that you don't know if your money is worth anything from year to year. You have to fear for your safety everytime you leave your apartment because there is so much crime and poverty. You lost one of your two sons (that alone would be enough to crush the spirit of most women). You only have four grandkids and two were raised in America, away from you. " Of course, I didn't say any of this. I just told her that yes, she's lucky because she's had a good life. And we all love her very much.

Afterward, I sat in my office by myself thinking about her and her wonderful attitude. What a strong woman. To be able to look at only the positive and say, I'm lucky. In this country where we all have so much -- so much wealth, so many opportunities, so much freedom, so much of everything -- so much of the time, we aren't happy. We complain about our lives, rather than looking at what we have and saying, I'm lucky.

I've always admired and loved my grandmother, but I was never sure where the admiration came from. After all, I never got to spend much time with her. A few weeks here and there, when I've visited or she visited us. Not enough to really get to know a person. But through those visits and through phone calls I've gotten a sense of the kind of person she is. Strong, confident, persistant, and most of all someone who looks for the postive in life. Now as a woman who has gotten to know her as a woman, I absolutely know why I admire her so. Everyday, I strive to incorporate some of her traits into myself. One I have to work on is to learn to look at my life and say I'm lucky. Because I am.

I'm guessing most of you are too.

Sorry to get so personal today, but on Mother's Day weekend I wanted to share with you one of the great women in my life who has shaped who I am.

Have a great Mother's Day!!



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