Apa, The Babysitter

Apa has become that abuelito he didn’t imagine he’d become. The babysitter. Any time I stop by for a visit, I can certainly expect to find a niece or nephew (sometimes the entire lot of them) spending time with their grandpa. And if none are there, he’s likely to be out and about visiting them. He has so much love to give.

I certainly never expected to see him changing diapers or preparing arroz con leche for his grandkids, but there he is calling his sister-in-law for recipes my mom once used to make the kids. As a chemist, he decided not to stress about preparing meals for the first time in his life. After all, isn’t it like throwing together chemicals? I guess he does have a point there.

The preschoolers: Julian, Navia, and Tori

I imagine ama full of pride at his role now that she’s gone. Not really gone though. We feel her presence in their home, our home, whenever we’re there. I don’t even know how to explain it to you. But there is sometimes this guilt of moving on without her.

Last weekend that I stopped by to see him, the preschoolers were running around the living room playing tag, and apa sat back laughing at their conversation about dinosaur raptors as he read the newspaper. It was the current edition of ‘The Monitor’ and such a familiar picture to me. I can’t remember a day when he didn’t spend the morning catching up on the news, and then informing us about what he read. We learned from him the importance of keeping up with what’s happening in our community, and the world.

What’s in the News

Apa reading ‘The Monitor’

The week had been tense after the Capitol Riots, and looking forward to Biden’s inauguration felt bittersweet. Up until the actual day of the inauguration there was a sense of caution many of us felt, not sure everything would go smoothly. But the day was something we’d been looking forward to.

In the news was a list of COVID related deaths that overflowed the paper. And scattered throughout, the articles mostly related to the pandemic. Most events featured were virtual programming.

We wondered what my mom and older brother would have thought if they had lived through these times. I’m certain ama would have been glued to CNN and my brother would have been finding ways we could be extra cautious. They certainly would have never imagined a pandemic in the short time after their passing.

Cafecito Moments

COVID has taken so much of my imagination away. It just disappeared somewhere down the lane of days and weeks and months. And without imagination, olvídate about creativity!

Being isolated from my extended family has taught me a few things. I hadn’t really thought much about it before these times, but my family and their cuentos inspire me so much. Their cuentos connect me to the community of love and hope and memories and chismes. That connection brings me laughter and alleviates the everyday stress by reminding me my burdens are not for me to carry alone.

I ran across the video clip below from my phone memories and immediately felt happy. Those cafecito moments with the different generations of family appreciating a simple moment.

What are some of the pre-COVID moments you are missing?