Serendipity comes full circle as it spans the globe and 3 generations. When my son Tim was born in ’64, his baby-sitter was often my Bulgarian mother. Being the first grandchild he was, of course, adored. You may say worshipped. He was often called zlaten ,meaning golden, a reference both to his status and his blonde hair.
When Tim’s son Kevin was born in October, 2001, I was sorry that my mother was no longer alive to enjoy this precious great- grandson who was the image of the Tim she knew as a baby.
Fate intervenes. In the same year, 2001, halfway across the world...Bulgaria to be exact...a lady named Dima wins the lottery. The prize: A green card to America. She comes to Chicago and becomes a family caretaker for a friend who works with my son Tim. Although well educated as a construction consultant in Bulgaria, she now works at any menial job in America as her family struggles to support themselves while learning a new language.
With no immediate family in the Chicago area at that time, Tim and Bette Anne hire Dima to baby sit occasionally. Although Dima does not carry a carpet bag nor fly above Chicago with her umbrella, it doesn’t take the Duffy’s long to realize she is the Bulgarian Mary Poppins. Truly, she casts a magical spell on children of all ages, plays with them joyfully, and can quiet a crying baby simply by holding them.
So begins her 10- year love affair with this little blonde boy named Kevin. The first time I heard her singing him a Bulgarian lullaby I realized he would get the benefit of his ancestral culture – what were the odds of that?
Since then Dima has become an American citizen and bought a home in the Chicago area and educated her children while continuing to be a vital part of Kevin’s life on a daily basis.
But there’s more to the story. In May of 2013 all of our family are planning a trip to Bulgaria to attend Dima’s daughter’s (Rosita) wedding at a beautiful resort on the Black Sea. It will be my first trip to my mother’s homeland and it will be wonderful to have a native escort.
After the wedding, Dima will also take me to neighboring Macedonia to see my father’s birthplace and family home.
Although Dima won the lottery, I think all of us came out winners in this serendipitous event.