Busia (pronounced boo-sha), or the correct Babcia (pronounced babp-CHAH), is Polish for grandmother. I prefer to say and spell it as Bousha, but I might as well be spelling it g-r-a-n-d-m-o-t-h-e-r, for that is gentler on the ego than my biggest fear.
Now, you say, you are already a grandmother. Yes yes — and I love it. Love Love Love it.
But a Bousha makes me think of the little old granny in a babushka and peasant dress digging in the fields and smoking unfiltered homemade cigarettes. The word makes me think of a tough ‘ol chick, weathered and wrinkled and fat.
Which I am starting to resemble.
Now, I know there are grannies that look like fast sports cars (think of Goldie Hawn or Jessica Lange). There are also those who are a little more seasoned but still not half bad at their age (think Hillary Clinton). Then there are those who have filled out and shortened down and wrinkled up and hair that’s turned a boring shade of gray (think of Ma Fratelli in the Goonies).
I’ve tried to avoid mirrors my whole life; it’s not been a horrific sight, but not one I want to look at all the time. But the other night, standing oh-too-close to the bathroom mirror, I saw it all. The pudge, the ruddy skin, the circles under my eyes that never go away, my receding upper lip, my full grey hair that drains all color from my face….I saw it all.
And I ask myself — who is this bousha?
I know I know…my grandkids love me, I love them, live is beautiful, yada yada yada. But somehow, as the song says, “but somehow we missed out, on the pot of gold..” (Styx, Sail Away), and the beauty pot part never really stopped by my house for me to grab and hold onto.
Now fading into the longest third of my life, I see skin I cannot change, eye lashes I cannot replace, and waists that can endure only stretch waistbands.
Is this what happens when you get old?
I’m trying to embrace all this “older and wiser like a fine wine” nonsense. But as my patience runs out more often these days, I don’t feel like doing all the pretending I did when I was younger. The makeup, the fashion sense, the bling and the body and the bounce.
The funny thing is that I never really had that back then, either.
But then, as most of us tend to do, we stop complaining and think.
I never knew either of my grandmothers…I wish I had. My kids never knew my mom and barely remember my hubby’s mom…I wish they had. They all were boushas of one sort or the other; some were Polish (where the word came from), one was Irish, all were great women. Loving women. Kind women. Their looks never mattered…their love did.
I want to make it long enough where my grandkids never forget me. Long enough so they can tell tales of their “granny” who was a fun bousha and whom they loved to the moon and back.
They don’t really care about my ruddy skin or extra tire around my middle. So why should I?
Better to be true to who and what I am and have them love me for it than to pretend to be something I’ve never been and have then disappointed.
Kocham Cię babciu…!