6 Lessons My Grandmothers Taught Me
I was fortunate to grow up spending ample quality time with both my maternal and paternal grandmothers. They were different women in every sense of the word, but the one thing that they had in common was a profound strength and perseverance. As we celebrate Mother's Day, I look back on 6 things these extraordinary women taught me.
1. A Strong Work Ethic
My maternal grandmother, Guadalupe Ochoa, grew up as a migrant worker and when she married my grandfather, they had nine children and migrated from Texas to Michigan for farm work. She and her children picked in the fields every day, from sunrise to sunset. There were no spa-days to relax or sleeping in on the weekends. She had to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for the entire family, complete household duties and still put in a full day's work in the fields.
2. God Has A Plan For You
My paternal grandmother, Consuelo Najera, once told me never to stress out about life, love, work or money. She explained to me that God has a plan for everyone and if you trust in his plan, then there is no need to feel anxious or stressed about how life unfolds. It will just unfold the way it's supposed to and worrying will make absolutely no difference to the outcome.
3. Love Takes Work
My grandma Consuelo was married to my grandfather for over 50 years. They loved each other deeply. However, there were many times she felt frustrated with him and just wanted to walk (or run) away. She explained to me that love is not always exciting and breathless and full of passion. True love is what happens when the flames have gone away and you're left with your true partner in life. Any fool can be "in love" but it takes real work to truly love another person and a strong commitment to making it last.
4. Don't Be A Shrinking Violet
My grandma Lupe had a very strong personality. She never shied away from voicing her opinion or letting you know when she was dissatisfied. If she were born under different times and circumstances, I am certain she would have built and run a billion dollar company. She once told me that bashful women are never taken seriously. Be bold, kick-ass and never apologize for your intelligence, opinion or if you've made a man feel inferior.
5. You Are More Important Than You Realize
Sometimes, domestic life (with two toddlers) can feel like an endless maze - dishes, laundry, diapers, cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. Life can seem underwhelming and my value to the world can feel non-existent. However, I've learned that I am an important cog in my family, if not the entire cog itself. When my grandma Lupe passed away, my mom's side of the family drifted apart. She was the anchor, the main connector. I now realize that I am becoming an anchor myself and that is the most important thing I can be for my family.
6. Food Will Always Bring Family Together
Oh, how these women loved to cook! They loved spending time in the kitchen cooking big meals for the family. It was their way of showing love and appreciation. Nothing made them happier than when everyone gathered around the table to eat the food they had worked so hard on. No Mexican restaurant on earth can hold a candle to my grandmothers' posole, menudo, tamales, hand-made tortillas, chile, and tacos. I plan to pass these recipes down to my children and continue to hold onto the tradition of big family meals. Nothing would make me happier.