Thursday, July 26, 2012
"Dad, I can't wait to live with Sweet Grandma!" Amber exclaimed, anticipating our upcoming move back to Connecticut.
"I know!" Kendra added. "It's going to be so fun! I love Sweet Grandma!"
Sheri and I don't really know when the girls decided that her mom would be referred to as "Happy Grandma" while my mom became "Sweet Grandma", but it seems entirely apt.
I thought about this for a while this morning after a midnight shift. I remembered I was about to get married when my mom and I drove eight hours and she told me her entire life story, giving me a glimpse of the woman behind the title. I got to know the girl she once was, the woman she became and I've never looked at her the same way. Since then we've been closer than ever. She became so much more than Mom that day.
One day, I will write her story but I think I'd like to learn more so when I do, I can do it some justice. In honor of her birthday, I figured this is a good start...
Dear Kendra and Amber,
58 years ago, a little girl was born to a humble young couple. Her name is Ana, and she was the first of this couple's three little girls. She was still little when her daddy went to heaven, and her grandmother took care of her so her mom could work. Ana grew up into a bright and kind little girl guided with strict discipline from what we now call the old days. When she was a teenager, she was reunited with her mom and blossomed into a young woman who despite her unique beauty, remained as humble as ever. At sixteen she met a good guy and three years later there were married.
Ana realized her dream of having a baby at twenty years of age, for she did not want to be too old when her children became adults. Throughout the next eighteen years of her life, she dedicated herself to her son and daughter, carefully shaping their character, nurturing their spirit, and guiding them to make the best decisions possible.
Her lifelong dream of one day living in the United States had been in place since she visited Houston when she was twelve. She brought up her kids to the sounds of The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis, The Temptations, Al Green, and many others that you both happen to know today because of how much I play their songs when we are driving. She talked to her kids about JFK and Jackie; she smiled and pointed at that pretty flag on top of the American Embassy, and taught them what it meant. She also taught them to respect their elders, to kneel upon entering a church, and to value the warmth of family and good friends.
Ana also brought up her kids unafraid to dream. She encouraged them to pursue every goal with determination, and to look at the future with hope.
Her strength saw her family through seven tough years that culminated in her dream coming true. Her children would grow up in America.
Ana overcame many challenges and embarked on a career in healthcare. Her motivation to go on, to learn, to do well was her children, who were at first lost in their new home. She went to great lengths to hide her own fears and regrets, infusing her home with optimism and laughter. Her efforts were not in vain, and she watched her kids grow into adults who always enjoyed her complete support.
This wonderful woman is one of the best people you, my little girls, will ever know. Her voice may be soft and gentle, but never doubt the immensity of her strength. Her eyes shine with mischief, but they'll pin you in place when you need to hear an important piece of advice. She may be short in stature, but she is larger than life in every aspect. She is the lady who takes you in her arms and pours her love and adoration over you. She is my mom. She is your Sweet Grandma, and I know you'll both be blessed to learn from her as much as I have. I know how she has a way of making you into the best person you can possibly be.
I love you both,
Javier A. Robayo came to the US in 1988 from Ecuador, and began writing to learn English. He published his first novel in 2012 in an effort to provide for his two daughters, who are the basis for some of his characters, as well as his wife, and many of his friends in real life. An avid blogger, Javier has attained some notoriety in his "Out of the Mind" blog with works like iAuthor series and the one of a kind D-Day. His adventures as a father raising two girls make up much of the heartfelt material on his "Letters to my Daughters" blog. Javier returned to Connecticut, after 13 years in Pennsylvania where he was a steel worker. Much of his experiences will go on to make a novel about the struggles and triumphs of working class America and the epic battles with the white collar types. Javier's works delve in Romance, Drama, Inspirational, Fictionalized Memoirs like the acclaimed "My Two Flags", and even Paranormal like his recently released short story "Requiem." His work is known as emotional roller coasters and for characters that come to life in the minds and hearts of readers like the one of a kind Lewis Bettford from "The Gaze" and "The Next Chapter."