Winning over Babushka.

During the walk of life, we encounter many individuals with lots of different personality types. Some are gregarious, while others are introverted. Some are generous, while others are selfish. And some people are warm and open-hearted, while others are less trusting and perpetually keep you at arm’s length.

She'll always tack on 'in-law' but I won't take it personally anymore. 😉

Twelve years ago, I was introduced to a woman whose personality was pretty tough to read–and I was forewarned that she didn’t like most people. “A challenge!” I thought. This tough cookie of a lady was Vlad’s grandmother, Baba Lea. (For those of you who are new to the blog, Vlad is my husband.) A former engineer from Russia, Baba Lucia (as the family calls her) is highly educated and well-versed in politics, but when it comes to matters of the heart, she’s not the type to really express her feelings. I was seriously nervous about meeting her for the first time, but from the moment I said “Privet” (hello in Russian) and complimented her pretty dress, she smiled and I’d secretly hoped that I’d be able to win her affections. Over the course of time, however, I never really knew where I stood with her. I mean, we always exchanged hugs and pleasantries in half Russian and English, but her true feelings for me were a complete mystery–something that I wasn’t used to. Between the slight language barrier and the fact that I knew she wasn’t a huge fan of most humans she came into contact with, our relationship kind of baffled me–and insecure thoughts of whether she REALLY loved me would pop into my head every so often. The fact that she’d write “in-law” in marker after the word granddaughter on every card she’d given me didn’t help either!

This year, everything changed. Baba Lucia and I hit a relationship milestone when I opened the birthday card she gave me and read the most heartfelt words she’d ever said to me. And I cried–tears of happiness of course. To know that I’d truly won over this woman’s love, and more importantly her respect (she actually wrote that I was a good wife, mother, and housekeeper!) meant so much to me. When she called this morning to say happy birthday, she wished me good health and happiness and everything under the sun, but what she said next was mind-blowing. She went on to tell me that she loved me like I was her own grandchild. My heart leapt; this was a HUGE and noteworthy admission in Baba Lucia Land. Smiling, I hung up the phone and decided that I just had to write about this. Knowing exactly where I stand with Baba Lucia, and the fact that she’s actually quite fond of me, is today’s crankiness crusher (and a great b-day present!).

My hope for all of you is that you’ll come to know exactly where you stand with someone you love if you’ve been pondering their true emotions. There’s nothing better than learning that they may be one of your biggest fans.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gigi
    Jun 11, 2011 @ 18:22:56

    Who wouldn’t love you Tara…..My Jewish M-I-L likes to sign all her cards to our family: Mom/Sandee/Sasa. Let me explain. She says she’s not my mother, and Sasa is a nickname she uses for our daughter because she says she doesn’t like to be called Grandma, as it makes her feel old (Personally, I’d be proud to be called Grandma). My husband doesn’t understand why she won’t just sign it mom. I’m not Jewish so I always wonder if it’s that she’d hoped for that. But considering she’s not really religious, that’s probably not a factor. I always wonder if she thinks of me fondly enough or not. I think she does, but who knows…She’s kind of wacky anyway. She sends my daughter mother’s day presents and my daughter is three years old.


  2. Tara Rummell Berson
    Jun 11, 2011 @ 20:26:05

    I’m sure she thinks of you fondly, Gigi! You’re a very sweet and attentive person. I cracked up about her giving your daughter a Mother’s Day gift. That’s totally random! Thanks for sharing your story. xo


  3. ilya
    Jun 12, 2011 @ 08:03:52

    Great post


  4. Melissa's Meanderings
    Jun 12, 2011 @ 11:01:33

    I actually teared up reading this:) I’m glad she finally felt comfortable to express her feelings for you…what a wonderful gift! And Happy Birthday!


  5. Michele Busch
    Jun 14, 2011 @ 02:17:10

    winning over any in-law is a good thing. Congrats on the babushka win over!


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