The Mind Wobbles

So many things to absorb, think about, deal with and put up with - it simply makes the mind wobble...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Abi


Did I ever tell you about my maternal grandmother? She lived with us and pretty much raised me while my parents worked. She was born in Spain and moved to Cuba in her 20s when she married my grandfather. Her name was Sofia, I called her "Abi" short for "Abuela".

The Jean Nate scent wafted in the air around her. As she walked into the room, taking her time, the first thing you’d notice was how tiny she was. Under 5 feet tall, she was uniformly petite, her face hands, and limbs were small and thin. Yet, her body was plump and round. Her thin, lined skin was alabaster hued with shades of pink on her cheeks, her bright honey-colored eyes belied her age - alert, aware and inquisitive. Her face was framed by her beautiful silver hair which she kept trimmed in a blunt, round style. Her voice was surprisingly strong and resonant. Everyone else remembers a definite Galician accent but I didn’t hear it I guess my ears were used to it.

She never had a formal job, but when she came from Cuba with my parents, she worked for a while. The first "job", before I was born, was hand-sewing hems for wedding dresses for a shop near their apartment in New York. Later, and I don't know the details of how she pulled this off, she went door to door in the apartment building in which they lived - for some reason there were several other Cuban families living there, and she sold guava bars and other tropical "treats". It was her way of helping the family get through those early exile years.

Abi offered me the most "uncomplicated" love I ever experienced. While I know, like her, my parents loved me unconditionally - her love for me wasn't fraught with the drama that comes with parental love. We never argued even though she was "old school" and she was strict - never letting me get away with spoiled or disrespectful behavior. But then she spoiled me in her way making me the center of her world, or at least making me feel as if I was.

I know no one will ever love me the way she did...I was blessed to have had her in my life until I was in my 20s. As important as my parents were to me, Abi was my foundation, my first teacher and instrumental in the person I became.

These many years later, I often miss her. Today is one of those days...

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