El Amor De Los Abuelos

It’s Thanksgiving week, de verdad que, it’s a good time to see God’s hand at work, he leaves his fingerprints all over our lives. I’m getting old you know, I know you can’t tell …Pero, with more than 5 decades of living, I’ve got some good living experiences under my apron. Imaginate! Soy abuela. Not abuelita or grandma, pero  D’ma or Ama . One of my greatest pleasures is that Grandmother title. How can I describe it? 

It is a daunting time when your first baby is placed into your arms because he wants to nurse, demanding his hunger to be satisfied. His well being, his provision, protection, shaping of his character and his prosperity is in your hands. In that moment all you can think of is calming down a screaming baby and from that point on every one of your senses studies and learns that child and the ones to come. A realization is born that what I do matters, mother bear is on alert. Pero, when that welcoming door to grandparenting opened wide for me. I never would have imagined how that mixture of parent and Santa Claus molecules transfer into your mind and heart once you see that little part of you. That pregnancy announcement is a thrilling chemical reaction to new grandparents!

As a child, I never did experience the love of a grandparent. Mine passed away long before my existence. My apa did give me a tiny pinch of what my grandparents were like, where sometimes I might even see some of my abuelo Angel or my abuela Rosarios genes in us. I have often wondered what life is with a grandparent nearby and accessible. My kids had their Tata mostly in his older years. I do remember how crazy with love my ama would get when her grandkids were near. “Que cosita fina”, she’d utter as this fine little delicate thing laid in her arms. It is an amazing wonder to experience. Almost as if a whole new well of vibrant love is dug up in the land of my inheritance, just for a grandchild.. 

Thanksgiving day is a hustle and bustle day in the kitchen for me. Starting with Ben’s sourdough pancakes. This Thanksgiving was no different except that my apa wasn’t with us and I missed him. En la cocina, I was busy cooking, enough for an army and cleaning to make room for the next dish. Ben led us in prayer, but before that he thanked God for me. Then we prayed my apas prayer and Ben remembered the Greene family prayer too. Now, we could pounce the counter top where the feast lay unawares. I enjoyed my familia, then I stayed on my feet til not a creature was stirring, I dropped into bed sometime before midnight, sweet sleep until the clock struck midnight. A text, then a call from my son, “looks like it’s time Ma, can you come?”

Immediately I was alert. I calmly got ready, making sure I had the important stuff, coffee and Daniella’s pumpkin cookies. I was in my car within 20 minutes. Hijole! No gas for the 20 minute drive. Pues hay voy, getting gas at 1 a.m. before getting on the freeway. It was a smooth drive but Jonathan and Denise were already in their car, he was calling me, I was 5 minutes away. I:53 a.m. After a brief check on Denise, calm and focused, they were off. I quietly went into the house to laydown with Jeremiah. This 2 year old uses a whole king size bed! Twenty minutes later I asked if all was well. “She’s at 7 centimeters” Wow! Yet I dozed off anyway. Jeremiah stirred, reaching for his momma, touching my face in the dark as his little body got close for a snuggle. Yikes! His little hands didn’t recognize me and he sat up and peered in the dark, I kept my eyes closed. Oh how I wanted to comfort him. I felt so sorry for my little grandson. Los Mexicanos, or maybe it’s just the Zepedas have this saying, along these lines “te va a tumbar el burro muy pronto” Which means, you’ll no longer be “king of the hill” or the baby of the house because another is coming. I wondered if little Jeremiah could know how his life would change, especially as he was going from baby to big brother in a matter of centimeters. Jeremiah was studying the situation and his surroundings, probably wondering how his D’ma was in the bed. He looked around and after a while he said, very sleepily 

“Hi Ma” He was calm. He seemed reconciled with the situation and I was relieved. 

“Mommy?” He said. 

“She went to get the baby.O.k.?” Like it was the most normal thing to do. Maybe it is? Her water bag broke at midnight and she had to go out in the dark to get her baby.

“O’tay” he quietly responded, like he wasn’t surprised.   He seemed reconciled with the situation and I was so relieved.

He sat there for a long time, his head heavy with sleep, but he did lay back down and we both had a moment of sweet slumber before I heard the door rattling open. Que?!

“Jonathan! What happened?”

“Didn’t you get the text I sent Ma?”

I looked at my phone and there in my phone, laid my 8th grandchild in his fathers arms. “Que cosita tan fina” He had come into this world just before 3 a.m.

For her 5th delivery Denise had chosen to have her care and delivery at a birthing center; Best Start. Mi hijo didn’t know what to do with all the holistic and natural techniques! He’s used to the clinical methods of the hospital 😀 

“Do you want to get in the tub with her?”

“Do you want to stick your hand in the water to touch the baby’s head?”

“Do you want to keep the placenta?”

“Do you want to take your shirt off for skin to skin with your baby? 

For Denise, it might have been her best experience. She was given liberty to choose her positions and nature took its course. The midwife quickly prepared the tub and herself as mi nuera warned that she needed to push. Mi nietecito poked his head out, decided which way he would make his appearance and tada he made his entrance. Denise was cleaned up and ready for some rest… which she would do at home as soon as Jonathan ran home to get her things. Baby was born at 3 am and by 7:45 a.m. she was back home and by nine his apa came to meet his name sake. Benjamin Walter holds Uriah Benjamin, bien chulo! This little Ben was our 3rd generation of Benjamins, I knew my flaco was honored, I had said to my son that it was fitting and a new tradition for the San Diego Greenes to name their 2nd son Benjamin.

This sounded like a fitting labor and delivery experience for this “get it quick” era. I’m sure many of you have had similar experiences.  It was definitely a beautiful experience for us all, it seemed to close with “HappyThanksgiving and bienvenida es la Navidad. Merry Christmas.” We’ve all had a chance to meet the new baby and rejoice with our son. I am a pleased abuela and very thankful for more increase. 

En Conclusion

Mi hijo says that I’ve turned soft in my abuela era. I don’t know about that, mis nietos know I don’t mess with serious infractions like lying and disobedience and straight up rebellion. I’m quick to put on my mom hat, but I do put it on super lightly. I mean, la abuela doesn’t truly bring down the hammer right? So here’s how it works, if I put out the warning I must follow through so I’m careful how I warn, pues, they are my grandchildren after all and I will show the tough love if my must, but I truly prefer to display the soft sweet love. Gracias a Dios por mis amorcitos

The Sippy Cup

Nosotros los abuelos, have some experience with raising children. Ben and I raised four and we all survived. Now we are watching our children raise their own y sabes? I worry and wonder if they’ll survive. Our kids are busy people, quizás más que nosotros! I mean, we only had to juggle our marriage, our business, homemaking, homeschooling, ministry, friendships and extended family. But Ben and I had a few years between our kids, this allowed us to catch our breath and feel the relief of no diaper changing. Pero mis hijos, they have our inheritance to care for, and our grandkids are arriving one right after the other. Being around the grandkids is like being pulled into a whirlwind, we enjoy our nietos y nietas and perhaps let them get away with things their parents never got away with.

Rachel Daniella

Little Rachel Daniella came just before Christmas, our fifth grandchild. She came between Christmas shopping and gift wrapping. Por un ratito, she would be the baby, til the next grandchild bumped her off her throne.

A Hemangioma

Rachel was born with a “strawberry birthmark” that usually can be harmless, and initially Denise, mi nuera barely noticed it, but as the days turned into weeks this little momma realized that it wasn’t a normal baby discomfort and fuss. She saw that baby Rachel was experiencing pain from that birthmark as it grew and stretched her skin. It was on her delicate sweet lower lip.  Gracias a Dios que Denise, was a proactive advocate for her little baby girl. It turns out that Rachels birthmark or a  hemangioma went deeper and hers was of those rare occasions where the hemangioma can be bluish or purple and it caused her severe pain constantly. A numbing cream was prescribed but that only brought relief for a very short period. Needless to say that both Rachel and Denise were overwhelmed in those early weeks. 

Here is yet another opportunity to appreciate those parents who give all in their power to help their disabled or ailing child. They do it willingly, sometimes depleting themselves in order to bring their baby relief. Thank God for you que Dios los bendiga continuamente! I couldn’t imagine that kind of distress, I wanted to help and all I could do was babysit. Rachel was just over a month old and her parents desperately needed a break.

Jonathan, having paid attention to his fathers example, did not let an anniversary pass without celebrating and thanking God for his marriage. He planned a dinner cruise, a few hours, maybe 4 at max.

So it was, that duty called upon Ama and Apa and all hands were required on deck! Ben and I and our son Thomas would gather our whits and take care of baby Rachel and her big sisters, who weren’t so big, Nevaeh was 2 and Maricella was 4. We rolled up our sleeves, because these little mommies wanted to be involved in Rachel’s care. 

When they arrived with the girls for their big date, Rachel was sleeping, shhh, well fed and dry diaper, all was well.

Que Dios te bendiga hijo. Enjoy yourself, don’t worry Denise, I got this.”

Y asi fue, Thomas and I were busy with our chatty granddaughters while Ben was enjoying his quiet little Rachel. The first 2 hours flew by with “D’ma I want…D’ma can I help…” pero it was all under control… then Rachel woke up.

No problem, maybe the chatter woke her up, Ben would  just rock her back to sleep. Nope. Dos horas?! Already? She was hungry of course. Denise had pumped and prepared a bottle “in case” she needed it. This would be her first attempt at a bottle, but it wasn’t my first use of a bottle, I was experienced. Ben wanted to feed her, but of course she needed my expertise. Her crying was severe, boy was she hungry. Rocking, swaying, trying to calm her as I gave her the bottle. She tried to take the bottle, I adjusted it, moved it, and tried to prod her to take it and she wailed. Hijole! I was hurting her. She was hungry and wanted to nurse, what was that plastic thing? Her lip hurt, she seemed inconsolable.

Ben stepped in again, he took her and did calm her a bit but when no relief came to her she wailed on. Meanwhile, I was in the kitchen trying to warm her bottle again, maybe I didn’t warm it enough? I was beginning to unravel. Where had all my experience gone? When I unravel in anxious situations I don’t do it graciously, (I’m still trying to learn that New England calm) but I was trying to keep it together. My tears were beginning to spill as I heard my granddaughter’s cries, somehow it’s different when you hear your grandchild, you get all weak in the knees. 

Being a guy, Ben came up with a solution. He said we needed to try using his sippy cup. He turned with Rachel in his arms and went to the room to dig it out. Que?! Your sippy cup? My voice followed him and he felt my ridicule at his suggestion, he came back out rocking Rachel as her screams pierced our ears. He didn’t have the sippy cup. My heart was pricked between tears. He was only trying to help us both. “Where’s the cup? Lets try it” My coldblooded englishman saw my heart and said, “I’ll go get it, it just needs to be washed” 

We washed the little sippy/ladle cup, and added some of momma’s nice warm milk. Gently he allowed the narrow handle to touch her mouth and the milk slowly streamed down, Rachel lapped it up! With his old sippy cup Ben was able to feed little miss Rachel. She found a little comfort in her apas arms from the hemangioma as he rocked her and prayed for her until her momma returned. 

Rachel Greene was the first of Bens inheritance to use that little sippy cup after him. See, he had forgotten that cup, we should have had Thomas Walter sipping from it next. That little silver cup has been passed down through the generations to the Walters of the family, going back to the early 1800s. his great grandfather, grandfather, father and himself all bearing the family name Walter. 


Traditions are laced through our lives, what I brought, what Ben brought and what we created together, hermoso! Me encantan las tradiciones, family names being passed on, sippy cups used through the generations and more. what kind of treasures in traditions did you remember as you read this?

Two Days With Ama

Checking my Calendar

My cell buzzed on Monday evening, Nevaeh my nieta was calling me, she’s right between Maricella and Rachel. She was the self appointed spokesman for this plan my three granddaughters concocted.  

Me: Hello

Neveah: Hi D’ma, we were wondering, now that we’re on summer break and all the testing is done, we thought that maybe me and my sisters could spend 2 days and nights with you.

…..silence…..as I mentally reviewed my next 2 days. I was tired and I knew I would be more tired after 3 little girls milked me for all I was worth. 

Neveah: D’ma?

Me: I don’t think that will work because you have church on Wednesday night.

Neveah: We can just come to church in Clairemont. Oh wait, it’s ok, my mom says she will pick us up in the daytime.

Me: Well ok, when are you coming?

Nevaeh: We’re almost ready and we’ll be there soon. Bye D’ma.

And so it was that my neitas kicked off their summer break with two days at D’mas. Talk about pressure! I know my granddaughters, they are full of expectation. 

Grandma Rules

Right here I’ll interject a little of my grandmother “mode of operandi”. Somewhere in the transition from mom to grandma I didn’t quite switch hats correctly. I was a pretty strict parent, by today’s standards, ya se, sounds silly, but that’s what I’ve been told. I find it difficult to be an alcahueta with certain things. Turning a blind eye to lying, disrespect,  disobedience or manipulation were never acceptable or excusable to me as a parent, but all of a sudden, abuelas sometimes ignore those things in their adorable little grandkids. “Pobrecita, she didn’t mean to lie, or disrespect me, she didn’t disobey, she just didn’t hear me Hijole, that’s where my hats get all jumbled up. My beautiful little “chiquitas, bonitas” (That’s what my apa called them) are old enough to know my rules and obey them, sometimes (very rarely) in the middle of my  ama practices when they are tempted to commit an infraction, I must warn them in my most sternest voice that correction will be swift if they aren’t watchful. Their dad, my first born, says that I’ve gone soft in that area, but as long as the girls don’t know it, I’ll pull out that mother hat occasionally and use my stern voice and to really bring a point home I’ll knit my eyebrows together.

Ok back to the pressure of 2 days with my granddaughters. They are like the energizer bunnies, especially esa Nevaeh! I don’t have a pool, nor can they be on the computer or phone constantly. Those 2 days were getting longer by the minute!

Day One

I had warned them that I was having company for lunch and they must be on their best behavior. Of course they needed to know what I would be serving. I decided to go out of my “field of expertise” and make fettuccine alfredo, it was their favorite, I only hoped my friend liked pasta too. I would serve it with a green salad and bread.

Making bread is a Greene family tradition so, I figured it was time to teach them to make bread. They were excited, I was looking for a better word to describe their giddiness but couldn’t find one. But they were, I had been worried that they might not last through the whole process or find it boring: mixing, kneading, waiting to rise, rolling and shaping it and more rising and then baking…Hijole, just typing it made me tired. Imaginate, here I go with a showing off moment. I was very proud of the little loaves that they rolled out. Their Tio Thomas, the family baker, would be proud of them. They were so proud of their bread making and enjoyed that little loaf of bread through the 2 days! Que toast, que grilled cheese, buttered bread, they tried their bread in different ways and loved it.

While I was enjoying my fellowship with my dear friend, chatting and just relaxing, they were getting impatient. Porque? I had foolishly told them that after sister Vilma left we would go to the bay. I forgot you shouldn’t tell kids ahead of time these things. I felt really bad that maybe my chiquitas bonitas had rushed her out of the house! Note to self: Teach the girls about hospitality and how it takes time to build friendships. Of course my friend was gracious and even enjoyed the girls with me.

We packed our bag with towels, snacks and sunblock and went off to the bay. They loved the moment we crossed Coronado Bridge, seeing the little boats from so high a view. Beautiful San Diego indeed! I purposely invited no other women or kids because I didn’t want to be distracted from my time with them. It was fun to watch them and talk to them. I forgot one factor though, other kids at the bay. A couple of friendly kids would moved in on our time, and after Mari scrutinized them she relaxed, and we enjoyed our time with them included. Our afternoon was topped off with a visit from their Tio Emery, who came to join us. That did give me some good platica con mi hijo. Acuerdate que, when they grow up, you must wait for them to have time for you. Thankfully, we do enjoy the time we spend together, our family. 

Our first day was passed before I knew it, we were home, showering, eating more fettuccine and homemade bread and getting cozy for bed. It had been a successful day. I should say a fun day and enjoyable day, but I feel like the mission was accomplished. I was pretty wiped out.

Day Two

After a short quiet time before they woke up on our second day, I was praying for another beautiful day. In my house, the girls wake up hours before their normal time.

Having homeschooled my kids I’m still one of those parents that looks for fun in the lessons of life. Again, I went back to my mothering days and used the simple everyday activities to make it a good and busy day.

Little children love to help, or at least they think they’re helping and so as moms we let them right? Pero yo no. Nevaeh spoke up again and said “D’ma we need to earn money to buy ourselves a hoverboard, we’ll need more than $100 each.” She also informed me that Rachel would earn money to buy her own scooter. So I informed her that I liked to get what I paid for. If they worked en mi casa, they would have to do a nice job. She has a way of looking at you, a mix between confused and sizing you up, her long eyebrows do the calculating. After a few seconds, the deal was sealed. 

Mari cleaned in detail my living room-vacuumed, dusted and made sure there were no surprises under the cushions and then straightened the throw pillows, bien duro el trabajo 😉. She had to stop and serve herself a glass of ice water, ahhh! Nevaeh was in the backroom organizing the messy books that were all over the place, nevermind that it was mostly their own mess. Plus, she was to vacuum the backroom. She finished with a heavy sigh and said “house work is a lot of hard work D’ma!” Rachel worked hard at picking up all the scattered crayons and wiping the dining room table, she had never ever seen my table so clean! Mira nomas

Recycling

Then came time to recycle. I told them that their daddy had earned his first wages here in the recycling centers. They wanted to follow in their fathers steps. They crushed the cans, separated plastic bottles, then loaded everything into the car and off we went. I love the honest raw expressions that children make when they are in unfamiliar territory. The recycling center was stinky. The recycling containers were gross. While Mari held her nose she studied the people doing their recycling, just like her dad, watchful and wary, occasionally, her left eyebrow shifting upward. The two older girls transferred the cans and bottles into the containers for weighing, a dirty job for sure, I didn’t let Rachel off too easily, I was tough ama and she was instructed to pick up a can or two that had fallen to the ground. While they stood in line to weigh their recycling the bees buzzed around them, it was definitely a stern voice that I had to use to get them to be still. Those bees were making me antsy. As fast as we could we collected our pay, the bees and the smell ran us out!

We finished our mandados quickly because their momma was coming to get them and they were anxious to get back home to get their pay. Before we left the house we had written out 3 envelopes with their names and their fund name: Maricella Greene Hoverboard Fund: $100 and one for Neveah Greene. Rachels was a Scooter Fund $50. I had told them that they could make money in 2 different ways; ask for it or work for it. Nevaeh said “We’ll work for it, because I would feel bad if they gave us the money they needed for themselves” I will have to remind her of that when she asks me for money, although, now that I think about it, she doesn’t ask for money, she asks for things😁.

In Conclusion

I’ve read a book about grandparenting, telling me all the “how tos” as far as activities, and dividing my time well, especially as my inheritance multiplies😍. Some grandmas, do all the girly stuff. Once in a while they corner me into doing our nails, but I hope I can teach them some basketball soon, you know, I used to be a basketball coach when I was in high school (that’s for another post). Being their ama has been my blessing and I haven’t confused my hats very often. Are you a Grandma? Nana, Wata or Ama? What’s been your experience?