Maria de la Luz Adame.
Once I asked my grandmother if she missed being young. I remember the look in her eyes... It was a question she didn't know that she would be asked.
When my grandma recalls memories, she gets the cutest glimmer in her eyes. She looks up and to the left, and her pretty eyes glaze over a little bit, like a Krispy Kreme donut. She did the same thing while she thought about her answer.
"Ah- si, pero no.."
She told me that she missed being able to do certain things, and missed her sisters and all the memories... But, she was also grateful to have seen her children and her grandchildren grow up. She didn't want to go back in time- she loved her family and all the things that growing old had brought her.
I think that when my grandma would watch us and see us growing up with all the things she didn't have, it brought her joy. I think it gave her a longing for childhood, but also a sigh of relief that we got to enjoy ours like she didn't. In a sense, she had done her job- given us all that she couldn't have when she was 1 of 13 children, growing up in Mexico.
Her father owned a "panaderia"(bakery). For this very reason, my grandma is a bread-lover, and a hard worker. Something she never failed to tell us was that she worked everyday since she was 4 years old. Selling bread and lunches to all the working men in Mexico. She and her sisters had the job of going out into town and earning money for the bakery. She had to stop going to school when she turned 7... My grandma learned the basics of reading, writing and math. With that taken care of, her father decided that was as much education necessary to continue working for the bakery.
She told me they would get (1) day off a year... Yup. ONE.
On their one day off a year, they would go to the beach. She never learned how to swim, so she could never go in very deep. She told me they would run into the water, and splash around, and enjoy those few hours of freedom... But that one day off meant everything to her. And that one day a year was not enough to learn how to swim.
Meanwhile, I had swimming lessons. And cried at every single one of them. HELL, I would cry in December knowing I had to go back to Mrs. B's...
Every time we went to the beach, she would say "TE LLEVA EL AGUA!"
That phrase will stick with me forever.
She was always afraid that we would swim too deep into the water and a wave would take us out to sea, never to be seen again. We always laughed at the idea. My cousin and I would get an inch deep and say to each other, "Te lleva el agua!" Then, we'd giggle and swim into a huge wave.
Grandma hardly got in the water. She would sit under the canopy, enjoying her "Estrellita" and some ceviche. There is where we could find her whenever we needed a break from the sand, salt and sun. To this day, she is still there for us when we need a break from the sand, salt and sun.
Before she came back to the states a couple of weeks ago, I called her.
I apologized for never realizing before what they gave to us, and thanked her for everything. For loving us even when we were ugly, and for sacrificing everything to give us a good life. I told her I wished I could still spend the night wedged in between the two of them, listening to my grandparents snore the night away. That, I missed the beach, and Mexico, and wish I could turn back time to be young with them again.
My grandma is clever, fierce, sassy, silly, and beautiful. And this short little blog about her-- "Ni te tapa la muela."
**This post was pulled from my blog "La Fresa" and edited for readers on Vocal. You may view the original along with other posts at lafresablog.com**
About the Creator
Whitney is a second generation Mexican-American woman originally from Northern Virginia. Currently based in Cary, North Carolina, she is a dance teacher, avid crocheter, graphic designer, mommy to one, and writes when the spirit moves her.
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