Never Enough Time
The three words I say to myself every single time I board the plane and say goodbye to my Nanima.
It never gets any easier.
Whether I’m there for two days or two months or two years, each and every time I kiss her goodbye, those three words spin around in my brain.
Never Enough Time
She’s in good health (knock on wood) and I’m not worried about losing her any time soon. In fact, I’m pretty convinced that my grandmother is going to live until she’s 150. (Mainly because I cannot imagine a world without her).
Still, every visit home just feels like it’s never enough time.
Previously, before I moved to Tennessee, a lot of our time together was spent “parallel playing.” She’d do her own thing. I’d be doing my own thing. We’d be in the same room together so I thought that counted as “quality time” with one another. We’d eat our meals together. And then she’d go back to watching the Bollywood movie on TV and I’d fiddle around on my phone.
But, being so far away from my family and being in a place where it’s not convenient to hop on a plane to visit them has helped me re-evaluate how I spend my time with the people I love.
There will never be enough time with my Nanima. But I can attempt to maximize the time I DO have with her by taking advantage of every moment I spend with her. By being 100% mindful and 100% present.
Quality Time with my Nanima
I love walking into her room, sitting at the foot of her chair, as she counts her medication and vitamins out for the week.
I love laying my head in her lap while she strokes my hair. Her hands have only grown softer with age.
I love lying on the bed next to her. Because it smells like a combination of her shampoo and the lotion she puts on after she showers.
I love that she always asks me to pull my head in closer when she wants to take a good look at my face. Because her vision has deteriorated with time, I have to position myself very close to her face. But she likes to be able to see whether I’m wearing lipstick or earrings or whether my skin has tanned from spending too much time in the sun.
I love my Nani.
I love the way she asks me if I have talked to “the cousins” this week. And I can see the approval in her smile when I tell her I’ve been texting them and/or calling them all week long. Nothing brings her more joy than our close, connected family. It’s because of her that our relationships are strong and have grown deeper and more genuine with time.
I love how, after sitting in silence for 2-3 minutes, she quietly says, “aur?” Which means, “and what else?” This is her way of getting me to share stories with her when all I want is for her to tell me her stories.
I love that, even though I’m now an old married woman, she still reminds me to “wear my sweater when I go out at night” and “pack an extra pair of socks in my purse because it gets cold on planes.” These things used to drive me crazy. Now, I’ve realized that this is how she loves. My Masi once told me, “Your Nani can’t hop in the car and drive you to get ice cream. She can’t help you move in and out of your apartment. She can’t be your buddy at the gym. This is her way of being a presence in your life. This is her way of showing you she loves you.” What a valuable lesson I learned that day. And, though the teenager in me wants to roll her eyes because how dare anyone treat me like a child, I remind myself that I AM a child to my Nani. I am her child.
Never Enough Time
When I think of my time with my Nanima, I am reminded of a line in Amy Poehler’s book.
“You can control time, You can stop it or stretch it or loop it around. You can travel back and forth by living in the moment and paying attention. I took a mental picture of the moment. I noticed every detail. That is the key to time travel.”
There will never be enough time with my Nanima.
But some day, long into the future, I will be able to tell my grandkids the many, many stories of my Nanima. Because I will have been there. With her. By her side. Relishing every single moment I got to spend with her.
Questions of the Day:
- What is your favorite memory with your grandparents?