February 18, 2008

Yesterday's Skirt Today

I was sick in bed yesterday. Just a tummy thing... these things happen from time to time here in Mexico...
Anyway, I am wearing yesterday's skirt today, because yesterday was my grandmother's birthday; she was born in Monterrey, Mexico 104 years ago.

Skirt 60 reminds me of my grandmother because of the little crocheted doilies that decorate the skirt. My grandmother used to make these and they filled her house. She was 72 years older than me, and I didn't get to spend as much time with her as my brothers or cousins; I am the youngest grandchild.

What I remember most about “Huelita”
Her skin: fair, soft and wrinkly, like the waves in the water
Her hair: long, thin, silvery white
Her hands: knobby knuckles from years of creative hard work
The way she smiled when she didn’t have her teeth in
Her cooking: tacos de lengua, papas con huevos, tortillas, foffee, and champurado (So many of the flavors that I taste here in Mexico remind me of her.)
Her house: cluttered and quaint
Her posture: frail and strong
Her love for her family, especially her children.
Her stories: (Thanks Dan for the 2 90 minute tapes that one Christmas...)
Her talents that she shared with me: she taught me how to crochet
Watching telanovelas next to her in her rocking chair, desperately wanting to understand Spanish and her...

It’s not always easy to do, but I need to remember how blessed I am to be having this experience. My grandmother is probably the biggest reason that I am here in Mexico today, to feel a part of something that always seemed so distant to me: my Mexican heritage. Even though I totally look it in my physical appearance, I just didn't feel it as a young girl. I never identified with her stories, her cooking or even her language. But her blood runs through my veins, and I felt this desire to come to Mexico to connect with my family's history. This is who I am. This is part of my legacy, and one day I will instill this experience in my children and their children.

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