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Baba Teenie

Posted by Deneen Holder on 6th May 2016

We are approaching this Mother's Day this year with some sadness. My husband's grandmother is in the hospital and we are faced with the possibility of losing her soon. She is a beautiful and strong pioneer woman who raised her kids on a farmstead in Dauphin, Manitoba - the Ukrainian capitol of Canada. I met her at her 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration. Curtis and I had just started seeing each other and he was excited to introduce me to his clan, and especially his Baba and Gido. They very graciously welcomed me, a stranger, to their special occasion. I even made it into many of the professional family photos. I was enchanted by his Baba's Ukrainian accent and amazed at the abundance of food she had prepared and had stored in her pantry and freezers ( yes, there were a few) ready to send home with anyone who came to visit. Over the years, we often went to Dauphin for the weekend and we would be sent home with an abundance of pickles, beets, borscht and perogies. Our kids loved going. One summer, we went out to visit one weekend when Curtis' parents were also there. We decided to take a drive out to the old homestead that Curtis' great-grandfather and grandfather had built, and where his mother and uncles had spent their early years. The house was still standing, despite the fact that no one had lived in it for many years. The front wall was missing, and we were able to walk right in and look around. We enjoyed the stories and the tour as Curtis' mom and Baba reminisced about their years spent in that home - their chores, their pets, the difficulties and the joys. It was incredible that we were still able to see the wallpaper on the walls even after many harsh Manitoba winters. The snow would have blown right in. Even more incredible is the treasure that we found in a box that had been packed, but inadvertently left behind. It was a baby book that Curtis' Baba had created when she had her only daughter, my MIL. It was hilarious to read that she had described her baby girl as, "nice and chubby"! Truly, what a gift it was to find it all those years later. I will never forget that day.

Just recently, we traveled back to Manitoba to visit with Baba, and the rest of Curtis' family, realizing that it might be our last visit with her. We were able to talk, laugh, hug, pray and just enjoy being together. We also feasted on a seemingly endless supply of delicious, Ukrainian dishes. Everything was so beautifully familiar. It was lovely to be back.

Unfortunately, a week or so after our visit, Baba fell and broke her femur. She had surgery the very next day, but she has bronchitis and cancer and has been declining in health ever since. It is very touch and go at the moment, and she is never far from our thoughts and prayers. My MIL, is also constantly in our prayers as she has travelled to Dauphin from Winnipeg to care for her mom in the hospital. Curtis and I both wish we could jump back on a plane to go and be with them at this important time. We love them both so much!

Here is a wood sign we made for Baba last year.

The kids (and Monty) with Baba Teenie