My huge Italian family was gathered for thanksgiving in my aunt Cindy and Uncle Gary’s beautiful, self-designed home that sat of 20 acers of impeccable landscape, which was tucked away in the country of Ashland Virginia. I had just turned 21 and was getting ready to go out with my cousins for the first time when my mother presented me with the opportunity to drive Mimi back to Virginia Beach. At first the thoughts that rushed through my head were, no way! That’s four hours of driving, gas money, and I’ll miss out on all the fun.
My mom gave me a look and said, “Nicholas this is your sweet grandmother you don’t get to see her much, trust me. ” Something told me I should listen to her, and I did. Mimi was 86 at the time and had been fighting awful arthritis in her neck and hip and basically all over her body for a few years now and the task at hand was to get her back safely to Virginia Beach. As I was loading Mimi’s luggage into the car I remember having thoughts like, I hope this ride isn’t going to be awkward, I’ve never been all alone with her, especially not for a two hour car ride, I wonder what we will talk about?
Or if she will even be feeling to converse. What kind of music should I play? How funny would it be if she liked rap. I shut the trunk, hopped into the drivers seat, fastened my seat belt, threw the sports car into gear, and headed out of the long driveway that had elegant maple leaf trees guiding us on each side of the path. Mimi looks at me and with great big smile that she is known for and says to me, “Im so thankful to have you as my grandson, I love you, thank you for taking the time to drive me home. I remember looking at her, feeling an overwhelming sense of joy and appreciation to be apart of such a great family and to be in the presence of such a great women. To me surprise, Mimi literally did not stop talking the whole car ride. Who knew a little old lady, experiencing so much pain, would be such a conservationist. And her conversation was rich. She had so many great life stories, she told so many great jokes, and always was able to create meaning in the end.
I remember one story she told was about her and my grandpa who I called “Gramps,” and how they first met. My Gramps was a caption in the navy and my Mimi was a nurse, the classical romance, not exactly. She told me she was set up on a blind date and was not happy about it. Mimi said, “during the date, I hardly said a word, I was kind of rude, and I felt uncomfortable. I remember starring at the clock counting down the minutes until I could leave. ” I asked her, “What did gramps do? ” “Nothing, he just sat there smiling at me, trying to ask me questions.
I thought he was crazy. ” She proceeded by saying, “and the next day he showed up at my house! I don’t know how he found out where I lived, and he introduced himself to my parents and next thing you know he is sitting in the living room with my mom and dad talking for hours. ” I asked, “Where were you? ” “Oh I was upstairs hiding. ” I laughed aloud. I remember thinking to myself how funny it was to hear this story and get this perspective of my grandparents, who would have thought? I curiously asked, “So what happened next? “He kept coming over at least twice a week, just hanging around with my parents. The fourth time I give in and decided I would talk. ” I butted in with much curiosity. “And then? ” with a big grin on my face. She said it with such assurance, “I knew I loved him and would spend the rest of my life with him. I asked, “Why were you so reluctant to talk to him at first? ”
Mimi’s response was, “I was only a young lady getting into modeling, not thinking about the future and he knew exactly what he wanted. I was scared. She proceeded to say, “You know Nicholas, sometimes the things you fear most in life turn out to be your greatest gift or talent. ” I thought to myself, kind of like how I did not want drive my Mimi all the way back to Virginia and miss out on all the fun but the drive turned out to be an amazing experience that I will always cherish. We arrived to Virginia Beach safely, I made sure Mimi got settled into her room nice and comfortably. I remember sitting with her in her living room filled pictures of all her family and loved ones.
I strongly remember feeling a rush of emotion wash over me. It was a mixture of joy to have such a great experience and to be apart of such a great family. There was also sadness that it was ending and that I did not get to see them enough. I did not want to leave her all by herself. As I was thinking this My Mimi held my hand and said, “Nicholas, don’t worry, I will be fine, thank you for your company, and thank you for being my grandson. You are a very special person and I love you. ” My eyes filled up year tears and I gave my Mimi a big hug and told her I loved her very much.
And then departed on my way back to Virginia. On the car ride home I felt a great sense of peace and joy and happiness while crossing over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, gazing at the sunset in amazement. The following week I got a call from my mother, “Mimi passed away. ” I remember the first thought in my head was, thank you mom, I’m so glad I listened to you, I will forever cherish my last ride with Mimi. My suggestion to you would be to give a little more, listen to your mother, and love your family. You never know when the last time you may see them.