I must tell you a story. I indulge in my own selfishness quite often. I love fine chocolate, good wine, my yoga mat, DVRing shows so I don’t have to watch commercials… and the list goes on… the spa, vacations, and extreme sports… and as reward for my hard work and dedication to my job and family I feel even a little entitled to them. This post however, is not about me. It’s about a woman in my life that does not and has never.
There are several opportunities in life that when they present themselves, you may stare at them blankly for a moment or two before you realize that there is an actual choice in front of you. Sometimes even the simplest yes or no choices, can make all the different in the world. There lies the story, the story of my Grandmother and a yes or no choice.
Mary Elizabeth Sherman married early in life, to the boy of her dreams. He was charming and cocky and all those things that teenage girls fawn over. It was the late 1950’s in the Italian ran side of Chicago, Illinois. You’ve seen this movie. It’s charmed America’s socks off every time it’s been made. Little bit of Mafia, small slice of apple pie, four children, dozens of dogs, thousands of tribulations, 60 years later they’re still together, and their family is the most important thing in their world. The red, white, and blue flies high in their front yard, politics and religion are debates that can get you chased down the driveway, and by all necessary standards they’re the normal American family.
Being part of a normal American family, Mary spent her life raising children and being the center beam of a strong loving family. Her devotion and selflessness is ever present for her family. She feeds anyone that walks through the door of the house a five-star meal. Her strength of character and determination have been something that have kept me awestruck since I became a mother and began to see the tribulations that come with raising a family.
I’ve never heard her ask for anything. Not once. Not in the 30 years she’s been my Grandmother. Matter of fact, the only thing I’ve ever heard her say repeatedly since I was a child that even had a hint of self indulgence to it was, “If I ever had the chance, I would go to Italy.” Something in this has always resonated with me. I come from Blue collar America. My family all works with their hands for their money and they all work hard for it. They pay their taxes, they feed their kids, and they have BBQ’s on the 4th of July. It’s a great life by every written standard, it is the American Dream. But it doesn’t spend much time in Italy.
Several years ago, I daydreamed seeing her face light up as she was stepping off a plane in Rome. Her one selfish indulgence becoming a reality. It didn’t really seem like a possibility, until now. Until I stopped toying with the idea and realized the only way it would ever come true, was to make it happen. Behind every great idea, is someone daydreaming stuff up, and with my family full of supporters that all want to see that sparkle in her eye as badly as I do, this daydream will happen.
My Grandma got her passport today, the countdown has begun. Italy is going to happen. This trip is not at all about us being able to take her, this trip is solely about her deserving to go.