Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Dream Dinner Party

An author friend of mine, Lisa Wingate, recently asked the question, “If you could have dinner with three people living or dead, who would you, choose?”  Lisa wrote about wanting to have dinner with her younger self and her two boys when they were little. She had things she knew now that she really wanted to share with the young mom she once was. The lessons she had learned, basically to stop sweating the small stuff and to spend as much time as she could enjoying her kids when they were small. Luckily, that is something I always did much to the unhappiness of Big Daddy who thought I should spend more time scrubbing my kitchen floor that cuddling my kids and doing things with them. No matter how much time and how many memories you try to capture it never seems enough. My kids weren’t going to remember how dirty the kitchen floor was but that I spent time with them.
I pondered this fantasy dinner party question a very long time. Who would I want to have dinner with, if I could choose anyone? What a dream opportunity! Certainly there are several celebrities and notable people that I would love spend time with. But whose company did I yearn for the most? JFK and Jackie and Maya Angelou?  Three of my favorite authors?  George Clooney, Vin Diesel and Pitbull? The person who I miss the most and would give anything to spend one more evening with would be my mommy.  I am not even sure I would like to share her company. I am positive that she has been chatting up her favorite interesting people in heaven. She was a lover of anything to do with British aristocracy and loved any book about Queen Victoria. I am sure they have had many coffee dates at June’s kitchen table in heaven.  I would share this evening with her grandchildren so that she could see how incredible they are.
 They were almost five and three years old when she passed on January 2, 2000. The Prince was seven months old when she first became ill. To make a long complicated story short, Mommy was on a ventilator for two years and was just a shell of her former self. She was able to talk for only two months before she became too weak. What I miss most is hearing her voice.
I want her to see what an intelligent and independent young woman the Princessa is becoming. God is answering our prayers every day. I want her to see what an amazing young man the Prince is becoming. He looks like her, has her dry sense of humor and words his phrases like her even though he can’t possibly remember hearing her speak.  I’m sure she can see this from heaven, but still I would love to see them interact.
I have so many questions I want to ask her so my children will know why their grandmother did the things she did. I want them to know why she and daddy decided to leave Poland in search of a better life for us and how they did this and how it felt to leave everything and everyone behind. I want to know more about my parents families. I have so many questions about our family I would love answers to. This is another lesson: We should pay attention to all those old stories our parents and grandparents tell over and over again. Instead we stop listening to them after awhile. “Oh no! Not that story again!” One day we will be the keepers of those stories and if we don’t remember them that part of our history is lost. I would do anything to hear one more story of when mommy and her siblings were sent to the country during the war. I want my kids to hear the stories of how life was for my parents and sister when they finally came to the United States.  I want to know how it felt for mommy to be my age and have a six year old (me). How she managed to work full time as a psychiatric nurse and go to college to get her Masters degree in Clinical Psychology when she had a child in grade school and her husband worked in another state?
My mother was independent before her time and she was a champion for young women. She took many girls under her wing and taught them to love and invest in themselves. In the early 1970’s she applied for her own first credit card at Montgomery Ward’s, they sent her one as Mrs. Husband’s Name.  She took it back and told them this was her card, she was paying the bill and that Mrs. Husband’s Name was NOT HER name! She finally got them to issue one in her name, but was still unhappy it said “Mrs.”!
There was no question of our affection for each other. I knew she loved me and was proud of the woman I became and the life I had made with my husband. She knew that I loved her and appreciated everything she did for me my entire life. She was my anchor and my shore.
I would give anything for one more evening laugh and joke with Mommy. I would love to hear her call me darling and tell me she loves me…even if I already know that.
OMG! What would we eat? I don’t remember my mommy having any real favorites except for a good bouillabaisse.  I don’t know how to make that. I think we would have our favorite cucumber and tomato sandwiches on our favorite Lithuanian rye bread. I would also make some of our family recipes to show mommy that I can make them as well (almost) as her’s. Cold beet and veggie soup we called Chlodnik, Kapusta (sour kraut and Polish Sausage), and potato and cheese pierogie.  I’m still working on the dough for that dish, but they are pretty good. Oh and maybe her famous double breaded pork cutlets. She always used corn flake crumbs instead of bread crumbs. I am sure she would be proud!
If you could choose any three people, alive or dead to invite to your dinner party, who would you choose and why? And what would you serve?