And so I’m here. Here in this unfamiliar, yet familiar, environment. With my son, his wife and his newborn daughter. I am Grandma once again, or as I am now known “Abuela.” It’s a term I used to shy away from. For years I bragged about not having grandchildren; I would cross my fingers and say, not yet, not yet. Though I had children old enough to be parents, I felt I wasn’t old enough to be a grandparent.
But now I am. Twice over. And strangely, I feel young, and growing younger every day. Could it be seeing new life takes you back in time? Or is it that you feel the need to live longer to provide this new being with the love they need to grow and develop?
I don’t really know as I have no personal frame of reference as to the benefits of grandmothering or even grandfathering. All I ever knew about grandfathering was in relation to a professional process. If the rules changed midstream and you were already in the water swimming, then they didn’t apply to you. You were grandfathered in.
Yes, my parents obviously had parents, but I didn’t get to know them. My mother lost her father when she was seven. The only other fact I know of him is his name. Her mother died before I was school age. I have only one memory of her. Wizened and stooped, she slowly makes her way down my aunt’s living room, touching the wall as she goes, for she is blind by then. Her glistening white hair a halo around her head, she seems only as tall as I am. That reel plays in my head at odd moments.
My father lost his mother before I was born; he would go on to name his youngest daughter after her. Knowing my baby sister bore her name made this lost grandmother alive in some recess of my mind. His father turned out to be my only grandparent with longevity. And though he lived to be 97 years old, he never had a minute for me or my siblings. For him, we did not exist.
I think of him sometimes; I see him as I often saw him, walking tall and proud down the street past our house. With nary a glance our way. I want to be like him, have strived to be like him in that way, carrying myself tall and proud. Or as tall as my height will allow me. But, there are two characteristics of him I don’t want, his aloofness and his longevity.
I don’t want to live to be 97 years old. Yet, I want to be here for my granddaughters and perhaps my future grandsons. I want time enough to break the cycle, start a new tradition for my line of the family. A tradition of loving and living grandparents.
I will have to find a happy medium to reach that goal. Perhaps by making every minute count, every caress matter, every word spoken be loving. Or maybe if I solely concentrate on the moment at hand, and how proud and tall I walk when I think of my children and grandchildren. For they are my sustenance. They are and always will be my yesterday, my today and my tomorrow.