Blowing kisses to Teta
My 'teta' (the word for grand-mother in Arabic) and I have a special bond. As a single mom, it wasn't always easy for my mom to raise me and take care of me. But, she had help from my Teta Yvonne.
Teta's always been there to fret over what I ate, when I ate and if I had eaten...she worried about if I ate well, if I ate good food.
Teta took care of me when I came home from school. Making sure I (well, you guessed it) ate delicious food and did my homework.
Teta's a strong woman and stubborn a times.
Teta's now bed-ridden, unable to walk, dependent on people to move her on a wheelchair. She is sick with cancer. As her cancer grows, her appetite shrinks. Now, it's a fight for my mom and I (and my aunts) to make sure she eats -- something, anything.
Now, it's my turn to fret about what she eats as I try to spoon feed her soup. She swallows a spoonful and looks at me with disgust. She refuses to let the second spoonful of soup come anywhere near her lips.
"Kefaya" (enough in Arabic) she yells. "Mesh 3aiza" (I don't want any) she insists.
"But Teta, its good for you, it will keep you strong," I say as I try to bring one more soup-filled spoon to her lips.
She yells: "No, no, no, no!"
"Ma3lesh habibi" (it's ok my darling in Arabic) I say as I put the spoon back down in the bowl and kiss her forehead.
I try to make Teta smile again.
I do this by playing a "blowing kisses" game.
I bunch my fingers together, kiss them a few times and blow the kisses her way.
She catches the airborne kisses with her fingers and gently taps her fingers on her cheeks.
Then, she - in turn - bunches her fingers together, brings them to her lips and kisses them many times in a rapid succession and blows the kisses away at me.
I catch the kisses and make them land softly on my cheeks.
We blow a few kisses back and forth.
That's officially my new favorite game and one I'm convinced is better medicine than any of the many pills she has to swallow.
Blessed are the mothers and grand-mothers who take care of us and who we also care for.
Such is the circle of life.