I had a very quick trip to the New York area this weekend but am now home and relaxing by the fireside.
I went down for Passover with family and we had a lovely time. A few cousins and a 9 month old baby, lots of good homemade food and a very good nights sleep made me feel like a million bucks. I woke early this morning and walked down to the waters edge, so early that I could hear only birds and the sound of joggers feet softly slapping the ground. All the flowering trees were in full bloom, it was so peaceful. Then back to the house to wait for everyone else to wake up and have breakfast, and then I left to visit an old uncle and sick aunt.
While I was having a good time this morning I moaned to my cousin that I wish I haven't made the commitment to see the old folks. She looked at me for a minute and said " you're a good soul". There was a pause and then she said "kinda dumb sometimes but a good soul". We both laughed cause she's right. I do tend to over commit and I would have loved to sit around the house with the family and just enjoy the morning. It's also much closer to drive home from Westchester to my home than it is from Long Island to my home. but I'd committed so I went.
A little family history
This uncle is an uncle by marriage to my husband. Married late in life as he spent his early years taking care of a sister with MS and his aged mother. When his sister died he felt that he could start looking around for a wife, and he'd had his eye on Aunt Josephina for awhile. The two Italian families knew each other from the old country, and they approved, so a wedding date was set. This was back in the early 70's. I remember the hoopla about the wedding as my college roommate (future SIL) had to wear a hideous bridesmaid dress. I also remember catching a glimpse of Tony ( future DH) in a tux with a head of curly hair - woohee - I thought he was cute.
Anyway, the happy couple moved into the first floor apartment of a tiny house that Mario's father had built in 1925 and where he was born. Two bedrooms, one bath and every room tiny, tiny, tiny. His mother lived with them for about 10 years - and in case you didn't hear me, this place is TINY. And they still live in this very same house. I've tried to bring up assisted living or independent living but they won't even talk about it!
Enough family history!
Anyway, here we are 40 years later, and DH's aunt has been in and out of hospitals for the past year for one reason or another but this time seemed serious. Our uncle seems so lost, and keeps saying " I don't know what's wrong with her". I felt it was time for a visit, so planned to visit after Passover. Despite my griping, I knew it was the right thing to do.
So I went down for a visit and you know what? I was so glad I did. I got to their tiny house and Uncle Mario had freshly brewed coffee and coffee cake waiting for me. We sat and chatted and then went to the hospital together. In 5 minutes I had the whole story and now it all makes sense. She's had an awful case of pneumonia and is on a respirator and massive antibiotics etc etc. She's getting better but he can't see it because they're keeping her sedated and in his view she's"asleep". I explained as much as I could to him and he felt better about it. We left after about an hour and we went back to their place.
I learned something about myself this weekend. A large part of me wanted to spend the rest of the weekend with my cousins, or exploring some wonderful NYC neighborhoods. I rarely get to go to the city and would love to be let loose for a day. But there is a large part of me that loves to help out, be needed, and be there for people who need some guidance, especially family. It really helped our uncle to have me there and it really made me glad that I took the time to be with him. Yes, it was an extra 3 hours driving in horrible NYC traffic and I wouldn't want to do it every weekend but it was good.
There is much more than personal indulgences to feel that you are doing something good for yourself. I don't feel sanctimonious about traipsing down there for a visit - that's not it at all. I simply feel good about being available for family and being part of a support system.