All my grandparents passed away 7 years ago or more. I loved them as a kid, but didn’t have a chance to grow into these relationships as an adult. They either lived too far away, were struck by amnesia too early, or died before I was born.

I wished they could stay here longer but understood that it’s how the world works. People grow old and then die, and new generations come in their place. I acknowledged that I won’t be anyone’s granddaughter anymore and moved on.

Then I started dating Artur

Who, very much unlike me, had a full set of all four grandparents still alive. Luckily they all seemed to like me and very soon adopted me as their own.

It was the most pleasant surprise. After all these years, I didn’t expect to have grandparents anymore. Not having any expectations turned out to be the best quality I could bring to a relationship. Seriously. It’s a blessing for everyone involved.

I discovered I can be completely relaxed, without trying to change someone even a little bit. I can let them be who they are, with all their quirks, weird habits, controversial opinions, and inconsistencies. Why wouldn’t I? I already got more than I had ever asked for.

When you have no expectations, everything is a bonus

I never thought I would have a chance to bond with my grandpa over his horror war stories, or travel adventures, or a piece of cake. I never thought we’d sing Christmas songs together. It is all a bonus, wonderful and unexpected, and I appreciate every moment when I’m with Artur’s–and mine–grandparents.

I know they won’t be around for very long. Actually, grandma Ewa passed away soon after I met her. She’s an amazing, cheerful and incredibly wise woman, and I’ll be forever grateful I got to know her, even if just for a while.

But now that I think about it, no one will actually be around very long. I’m taking Artur, my parents, brothers, or friends all for granted, but they could be gone at any time now. I feel and behave as if they owed me something, but it’s always a bonus. I can keep getting upset when they use that voice again, or fight over politics, or leave a mess, or I can put aside my expectations and let them be who they are.

It’s easier said than done. But I know it can be done, and it’s totally worth it.

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