A family member's love can last a lifetime

The Spectrum

You can't turn back time. It's impossible.

There is no technology, no magic potion, no genie popping out of a lamp to grant you one wish.

There isn't a Monopoly-style 'do-over' or 'roll-again' like your parents might have given you when you landed on a space that ran you into bankruptcy.

What you choose to do with the time you are given in your lifespan is something that I thought about as I sat on the couch in my grandma's apartment in Panama City, Fla., last week during Spring Break.

The aroma of fresh garlic and ground beef filled the kitchen as she stirred the metal pot that was filled with her famous sauce.

While this was going on, I contemplated how many times she had made sauce, how many family dinners she had made and how much love she had put into that sauce no matter how tired or how sick she was of making it.

When I was younger, anytime I lost track of what day of the weekend it was, I would simply walk into the kitchen of my grandma's house and smell the aroma of famous sauce.

Instantly, I knew it was Sunday, and we were all getting together as a family. Some of the best times I had were going to my grandma's house and enjoying the company of my cousins and a nice, fresh bowl of sauce and meatballs.

There was nothing better. I loved being around my family and never wanted anything to change.

But being the youngest of five grandkids, my cousins and my two sisters got older and weren't able to be around as much. I started to realize that nothing stays the same.

We didn't meet at Grandma's regularly anymore. Some had taken on more responsibilities with age and weren't able to get together as often.

But still, my grandma would be in the kitchen adding garlic, fresh ground beef and tomato paste into a saucepan, offering an open-door policy.

I thought my grandparents would always be there.

Four years ago, they moved away to Florida to enjoy the nicer weather, get out of the treacherous, depressing climate of upstate New York and be closer to my cousin and his little girl.

The convenience of having them right next door was no longer there and I wouldn't be able to visit them whenever I wanted. I was upset because my grandma and grandpa were the only grandparents I had left; the others had passed away when I was younger.

I felt guilty that I had taken the time I could have spent listening to stories and wisdom from my grandparents and enjoying family dinners for granted.

But thinking about it this Spring Break, I realized this situation was similar to those clich?(c)s of "things happen for a reason" and "absence makes the heart grow fonder." My respect and love for my grandparents became stronger because they were no longer close by.

With every phone call, every conversation I had with them about my future, every time I sought out their wisdom - it made me miss them even more.

As I sat down at the table at my grandma's apartment in Florida, just as I was about to sink my teeth into her famous sauce, she gave me - the baby of the family - a kiss on the head.

I knew that thousands of miles couldn't change the bond between grandmother and grandson.

And in that moment, I didn't need to turn back time. That moment made up for the years I took for granted.

email: joseph.konze@ubspectrum.com