Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thankful for... a lifetime of memories

Last night, while at my book club, one of the other girls mentioned oplatek.  For those unfamiliar (which is most people) this is a sheet of holy bread, the same thing Catholic Communion host is made from, used in a Polish Christmas tradition, one my family has done for more years that I have been alive (seriously).  You break bread with other people, wishing them good tidings for the Christmas season and the new year to come.  It is really a beautiful tradition, one that was passed to us from my Grandparents, who were full blooded Poles.  In case you have not figured it out, being Polish figures into my identity a great deal.  I have always been a Polish Princess, and I always will be.

As I talked to my friend about this, she was excited to learn that my family engages in many Polish holiday traditions.  After I left book club, I got to thinking about the Polish Christmas Carols we always sing.  I, sadly, do not know the words to any, and I really should learn them.  I looked some up on YouTube, and this is what I found:

This is my absolute FAVORITE Polish Christmas carol.  We used to sing it every year, and I remember all my aunts, uncles, and cousins crowded into my Grandma's tiny living room singing their hearts out, though most did not really know the words.

I cannot hear this song without missing my Grandma.  Because she lived across the street from us, I spent a lot of time at her house, just like my sister's kids have done with my parents.  She made sure that these traditions carried on in our family.  My strongest memories of her revolved around these traditions.  She was so proud of where she came from, and in return, she made us all proud as well.

My grandma was in her 90's when she passed away.  By this time I was an adult, living in Pittsburgh.  While I wish she had lived long enough to meet Hubby and watch us get married, I know she was there in spirit.  And I am so thankful that I lived close enough to her to form a lifetime of memories, ones that helped forever clinch my status as a Polish Princess.