Ok, so my grandmother, Matilde, is now seventy years old and a few days. She is also just as out of control, vibrant, hilarious, dramatic, and loving as ever. She’s truly my role model. There are a few things I know I have already inherited from my grandmother:
Her brown skin: When I was little I came home crying because some boy at school called me brown. My mother matter-of-factly told me, “You are brown. You’re brown like your Nannie.” And that was that. I embraced my brown skin from then on. I’m half Spanish and half Mexican on both sides of my family, but I can tell you only my mother, and I have my Nan’s brown skin. Most of the rest of our family, including my mother’s sister and my father’s siblings, have pretty fair skin. My grandfather’s family consists of various shades of melanoma, my cousins being part African-American, Native American, and Caucasian. You know this makes me so happy. But I’m brown like my Nannie.
Her diamond tennis bracelet: On one of her anniversaries one year she showed me the tennis bracelet she made my grandfather buy for her. He of course thought it was too expensive, but she told him, “Roy! It’s not for me! It’s for Laura!” Yeah, she straight up used the “it’s for the grandchildren card” on him. Now the running joke is that it’ll be mine as long as she doesn’t lose it first. She’s infamous for losing everything: her glasses, keys, camera, cell phone, regular phone, and lots of jewelry.
Her love of all things shiny: I do not believe it is ever too early in the day to wear sequence. I am immediately drawn to anything shiny. My mother calls me a bird. Are birds attracted to shiny things? As soon as I see something with sparkles and smile, she immediately says, “You are such a bird.” My grandmother also loves anything shiny. When I go visit her during the day I am never surprised to see her in a beaded cardigan, a bright color, or simply a broach o’ bling. I bought this baby doll shirt form H&M last fall and from the shoulders to the neck was fully sequined. Here is a pic of it:
OK, so I totally wore this shirt to school one day, and when I stepped out into the hallway, which is fully lined with windows, the sun hit my shirt and there were sparkles EVERYWHERE! All over the walls, the ceiling, this old man that was just standing there. I was straight up a disco ball! And immediately I let a surprised “Woo!”, as if I had just received a present. It was the coolest thing ever.
Other things we have in common:
Her round face complete with pointy chin and overbite
Love of friends and family
Ability to shop, shop, shop
Laughing at our own stories
Things I didn’t inherit:
The Spanish language
How to make and roll out perfect flour tortillas
Anyway, when I was little my grandmother took care of my while my mom went to college and first starting teaching. Whenever I hurt myself or broke something my grandmother would always reprimand me by saying “Do things slow!” Sometimes she’d just say “Do things how?”, and I’d answer by saying “Slow.” There are lots of times when I still rush things: conversations, school work, driving. I often stop telling one story only to start another one, and seriously three days later will realize I never finished the first one. All I know is that I’m excited to one day reach the seventy mile marker and I want to know that I took my sweet time getting there, remembering all of the friends made along the way, the crazy clothes worn, the trips taken, and historic events that I watched play out. I’m antsy right now to be done with school again, but I need to soak up every reading, every testimony, every research project.
I need to do things slow.