What is an Abuelita? She is that old woman who bears gifts and treats when you see her, whose eyes are always twinkling with love, and whose gray hair shines like spun silver. She is that solid tree under whose shelter you run when Mommy and Daddy sound too stern to bear. You know she can never say no to your requests. And you cry with so much sadness when you say goodbye after a long or even a very short visit. She is the reason you always pray to God that she will be around for many, many years- at least until you're all grown up, so the pain won't be so great when the final goodbye must be said. You know she has walked many a mile in the scorching heat to bring you the best ice cream she can afford. She always had coins in her pocket for your afternoon snack- those tasty tostadas or mango or cucumber on a skewer, all liberally sprinkled with lime juice and chile powder. And during those long ago dog days of Summer, you could always count on her for a refreshing and icy cold paleta or raspa- meaning popsicle or snow cone. She would set up the washtub and fill it with water, your favorite bath in the world, just so you could jump in for a cooling dunk on those hot days. And during the Winter, she would bundle you up, and make sure there was plenty of wood or coals in the fire to keep you warm.
Fast forward fifty years later. Here I am with two precious Grandbabies of my own. I so want to be just like my Abuelita. And you know what? I think I'm getting there. Now that they've begun to talk, I am relishing every moment I am able to spend with them. The sweetest word to an Abuelita's ears? Grandma! My little munchkins are not bilingual just yet, so they're only able to speak English, but I like the word Grandma so very much! The word Abuelita may have to be learned a little later. The word Grandpa also thrills me beyond words! What is it about these two little human beings that they are able to wrap my heart around their little fingers? When I was growing up I always heard that you love your Grandchildren more than your own children. In my youthful ignorance, I could not understand that. The fact is, you love them just as much as your own, only now there is a sweetness so undescribable in the love you feel. I think it's the aftertaste of wisdom. A wisdom which tells you that they won't always be little and helpless. That soon they will be fledglings- testing their wings and their limits. That time is short and fleeting. And that there is but just enough time to pass on as much love and kindness and goodness that you possibly can. Life gives enough of the other things, Your station and your calling and your duty is to pass on those things which you hope will impact their lives in a positive way. Their parents will too of course, but they have so much responsibility and weight to bear, that sometimes along the way, it's easy to lose track of those things which matter most. It's the same for ALL parents. As Grandparents, I just want us to add even more good things to their lives- a sort of complement and enhancement. I want to do what my Abuelita did. She provided so many wonderful memories, and they did serve a very useful purpose. They helped to soften the blows of life. Through all the difficult times, her love and the memories of her kindness confirmed in me that there really are good people, that God really does love me, and that I came from good stock. A good genetic pool. Oh, maybe not poets or scientists or playwrights- but people with a good heart. I do believe that is what God wants of us, among other things. And I want Elias and Owen to always know that. Already Elias has shown he too has a good heart. He did call me on the phone to tell me "I'm feeling much better Grandma. You want to come to the beach with us?" Not many adults will take the time to let their Parents know they are feeling better when they've been sick so they won't worry. But my precious little three year old nietecito did.