Growing up, I was very close to my grandmothers or abuelas as we call them. I saw them frequently and they impacted my life in ways I am still discovering. I loved spending time with them and now that they are not with us, I miss them terribly. In recent years and after becoming a mother, I have come to realize that they left me with very valuable lessons. They are too many to put in writing, but in an effort to honor them, I’ll try to do my best.
To be humble and generous
My abuelas both gave away what they had and what they didn’t have. They always made sure I knew that when you give, you do without expecting anything in return, with joy and bounteously. It didn’t matter if it was a financial contribution, spiritual support or prayer, spending time with someone or inviting them over for a meal, they did it generously and out of love for others.
To work hard
Neither of my abuelas finished high school, but they sure did know how to work hard. One of them had seven children and the other one had three. They raised a family, maintained a home and became leaders in their communities and church. They always had time for me and my cousins. Time to teach us, care for us, cook for us and love us. Juggling all these things was probably not easy for them, but they did it. They worked hard to make sure everyone was ok and that is something that I will always keep in mind when taking care of my own family.
To love my family and celebrate life
I learned to love my family, have fun with them and celebrate life. Like many Hispanic families, family was very important to my abuelas and they loved spending time with us. Every holiday was celebrated, every birthday had a cake and every time I visited them, I knew I was going to have a good time. They were the glue that kept us together and made sure we were seeking each other out and taking care of each other.
To love God
My abuelas loved us but they loved God above anything else. Their faith was strong and they were always making sure we knew how important that was. I will always remember them visiting people that were sick in a hospital or at their homes just to spend time with them and pray for them. They were always reading their Bible, spending time praying or worshiping at church.
Sept. 8 is National Grandparents Day in the U.S. I hope you are able to spend it with a grandparent learning from them and loving them. If, like my abuelas, they are no longer here, I hope that you take some time to remember them.