Happy New Year!
The birth of a new year is a time of reflection and hope. This dawning of the new year has been exceptionally bright for me for many reasons, one of which stems from the inspiration of my great grandmother who just celebrated her 103rd birthday.
Think for a moment on the things this sweet woman has seen. We’ve all grown accustom to having our phone in our pockets, car keys on our belt, and plastic cards in our wallets. My great grandma remembers not having a phone in the house, let alone in her pocket, having to walk and take wagons because cars were not available to the average citizens, and having to use the paper currency that was accepted at the time. She was born in the early days of World War One, supported our troops during World War Two. She watched in fascination with the rest of the world as man took their first steps on the moon. She’s seen technology advance from rotary phones to touch screens, phonographs to digital players, type writers to bluetooth keyboards. This incredible woman has seen it all.
Meet my great grandma, Consuelo.
This is an older photo, but I think it shows why she is loved so much.
Great grandma is the core, the foundation of my family. She has taught us all what it means to love unconditionally and to always open one’s door to friends, family and to those who are in need. We have learned the power of perseverance through her stories of the hardships she endured with the guiding hand of her faith. Her story has been told beautifully by my cousin, David Ortega, in the graphic novels, Dia De Los Consuelo.
This photo is from Christmas a few years back, from left to right: my mom, my sister, great grandma, me, and grandma. This photo was taken in the center of her home where the beautiful tree stands tall to great all who enter.
Whenever we visit great grandma, we know to go with empty stomachs as we would be stuffed to the brim. My mom and I recently saw Disney/Pixar’s Coco and we laughed ’till we cried when the main character Miguel’s abuela made him take another tamale even though he was full…that’s great grandma. Never say you’re full in her house. It’s a concept that is not accepted.
Great grandma is known for her salsa. It’s the spiciest, tastiest stuff around. Legend tells that my older cousins couldn’t stay in the house when she was cooking it because their eyes would burn from the fumes. We joke that it’s the spice from the chili that’s kept her going so strong for so long, but we all know the truth: it’s her faith and the love from the family that surrounds her. Great grandma’s children, her grand children, great grand children, and yes, great-great grand children, have filled her home with life and love all these years. Surrounding yourself with love, dear readers, is the key not just to a long life, but to a full one.
This is a five generation photo. My great grandma, Consuelo, her daughter, Betty, my mom, Roni, my sister Jen, and her son, Zakary. That’s one of the most special photos we have.
My great grandma and me.
Happy birthday, great grandma! And happy new year to you, dear readers.
Your humble author,