Remembering My Grandparents on Grandparents Day

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Remembering My Grandparents on Grandparents Day Becky Salgado Contributor Miami Moms Blog

In honor of Grandparents Day, I’m taking a moment to remember my grandparents.

My grandparents were complete opposites. My grandpa was petite, neat, detailed and meticulous in everything he did. You’ve never seen a man his size take so long to get ready. Though mostly bald, he took an inordinate amount of time with a small mirror and brush to ensure what little hair he did have was perfectly in place. My grandma was curvy, messy (everything in her make-up drawer was covered in a thin veil of powder and blush), and took roughly 30-seconds from start to finish before she was out the door.

An avid stamp collector, he taught himself how to use computers and make purchases on eBay. He showed signs of your typical Miami road rage, always complaining about “estos viejos que no saben manejar.” She never even learned to drive. He stopped whatever he was doing at lunch and dinner time to sit at the table and refused to call it a meal if it didn’t include rice and beans. She always requested Burger King and Taco Bell or simply nibbled on cookies and crackers all day as she did things around the house. He never seemed to mention age, while my grandma was afraid of having “pelo de vieja” and requested wrinkle cream for Christmas well into her seventies.

If you were to draw my grandparents, he’d be a perfect level-straight line; she’d be a scribble. 

Just like their personalities, their deaths were quite different. My grandpa passed away about 6 months after his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. His body weak and frail but his mind sharp as ever till the very end. My grandma, despite having triple bypass open heart surgery less than two months after my grandpa’s death was physically healthy and strong until Alzheimer’s took her mind, and eventually her body, earlier this year and a little over 6 years after my grandpa.

The one thing they had in common? They were the best grandparents.

I never doubted their love for me. Though they never had much, my grandpa was always picking out gifts for us. I couldn’t take my grandma to Sedanos without her stopping everyone we saw to say, “Mira mi nieta que linda!” I was mortified but now look back at it and laugh.

They weren’t just part of my life; they were part of my everyday.

My grandparents never missed a school play, band concert (Yes, I was in the band), graduation or other school function. They were the first phone call every birthday and the last “good luck” call minutes before every job interview. They were at my wedding. My grandpa even insisted on attending the rehearsal so he could practice the drive to the church to ensure he didn’t get lost on the big day.

For years, they hosted the entire family at their house for lunch after church on Sundays with anywhere from 6 to a dozen people seated at their table on any given day (where we all left smelling like tostones and cafe Cubano, naturally). While I am now enjoying making new memories and starting new traditions with my little ones, I ache for Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas Eves around that table.

Losing my grandparents didn’t just mark the end of their lives. It marked the end of part of mine.

Saying goodbye to them felt like the official goodbye to my childhood. It’s as if their deaths put me on a ship, pushing me away from the shore of my childhood and into the ocean of adulthood (we’re Cuban, so the irony of that analogy is not lost on me). No matter how hard I swim the current keeps pushing me farther and farther away. Now that island — where I shared holidays, meals, phone calls, laughs, sleepovers and so much more — is nothing more than a memory. 

Despite the pain and sense of loss, I cherish every last moment I spent with them.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to remember my grandparents on Grandparents Day and revisit all the wonderful times I spent with them. I also feel incredibly blessed to now see my kids growing up with the same experience. Their grandparents invest in their lives, not just with gifts and too much dessert, but with time, love, dedication, playtime, prayer and so much more. Bonus? My kids have photos with 3 of my 4 grandparents. Sadly, my grandpa passed away before either of my kids were born. My grandma got to meet and spend time with both, and my other grandparents are still here!

Though it’s nearly impossible to condense a lifetime’s worth of love and memories into one blog post, I hope this has encouraged you in some way to take a moment and enjoy time with your grandparents.  I guarantee that when they’re gone, what you’ll regret is the time you didn’t spend with them.

Do you have a favorite memory with your grandparents? We’d love to hear it! Take a moment to honor them and share it in the comments below.

 

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Becky was born-and-raised in Miami where she resides with her husband, raising their two children. She is an equal opportunity dessert consumer, Redsox fan and pun lover who listens to Elvis and enjoys long walks down the aisles at Target. She could live off Kraft mac n cheese, prefers coffee over cocktails and loves a good sale. While she dreams of continuing her travels around the world, she is enjoying frequent visits to the happiest place on earth. Though “mama” is her favorite title, Becky also serves as Miami Mom Collective's Business Development Manager. Becky loves motherhood and is thrilled to be part of this online mom community. For on Becky's adventures in motherhood, Disney and bargain shopping, follow her at @beckysalgado_ .

5 COMMENTS

  1. This post made me tear up ? My grandparents were a HUGE part of my life growing up and I miss them so so much. They only lived 10 short minutes away and my sisters and I spent so much time there every week. Holidays with all of our cousins were memories I will never ever forget. They had over 20 grandkids and always found a way to make it to everyone’s activities, birthdays and special events. I have nothing but amazing memories of them both. Friday was grandparents day at my daughters school and it made me sad because we do not have any family in Miami. When you have kids it makes you realize how much you miss your family and wished everyone lived closer. I wish my kids would have the opportunity to grow up with their grandparents. They play such a special role in a child’s life.

  2. My abuelos were such a big part of my life my entire life. I was blessed to have them as a part of my life up until a few years ago, so it’s really hard to imagine life without them. Family get-togethers have never been quite the same. Definitely the end of an era in more ways than one. Like your abuela, Alzheimer’s took my abuela years before she actually passed away. Loved and resonated with this post so much – thank you for sharing!

  3. So beautifully written, Becky!!! My grandma ‘Mama’ was such a huge part of my life. Too many favorite memories with her to name, but I mostly miss her cooking of course (hence my Cuban culinary chef skills in the kitchen, ‘sprinkle the %^#* out of it’ ?), finally being old enough to drive her wherever she needed to go, and just sitting with her watching Novelas or Sabado Gigante. I miss her so much and feel her around me all the time ✨??❤️

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