“I hate her. I’ll never ever be like her” is what I once swore to myself. I had placed a mental plate that would separate me from my mother’s mother, and I had no intention to ever have it removed.
Growing up, my grandma was hard on me. She loved me with all her heart, but her way of showing love, which was mostly through discipline, made me feel anything but loved. With every hit of the cane, I distanced myself further and further away from her. I was a child who did not understand. I just wanted her to let me be my juvenile 9 year old self.
I went to CHIJ-OLGC, and we had swimming once a week. My grandma would always come, with a stick of fish balls (because you know how hungry swimming makes you!) and a bag of shampoo, conditioner, soap. She would wait by the pool and the moment I got out, would hand me the fish balls, and then proceed to follow me into the bathroom to bathe me and wash my hair. All my friends would bathing themselves, and 9 year old me had my grandma asking me if I had soap in my eyes. Needless to say I just wished she would disappear on those days.
As I got older, our relationship ebbed and flowed. We got along, on days that did not end with the letter Y. She hated all of my boyfriends, not because they were bad people, but because she loved me and did not want to see me get hurt.
I moved out at a certain point. With a new found liberty that would have me on my way to being the person I would be, the one who I couldn’t be around my grandma.
Even after I moved out, she would call me at 4am, telling me to go home. I don’t know how she knew I would even be up that late, but that just shows she knows me better than anyone else. Months passed, and I had this hectic life, grandma not really included.
I started to feel like a void inside of me was starting to expand to a size so large, no amount of caffeine, chocolate, or fitness regime would do. The only person who could fill it was my grandma. I moved back with her, and for the first time I could feel her warmth and love. I started to love her wrinkly hands brushing through my hair, and the way she would try to suffocate me as she hugged and kissed me saying “Mama loves you sooooo much.”
Suddenly, I felt a burning desire to get to know this incredible woman who I then realized, was everything I wanted to be. We started to hang out, almost every single day. I asked her questions about everything, and even though she would give me the most aloof and unrelated answers, I did not care. I loved how she lived in a world where imaginary activity is reality. She is an eccentric individual. Whenever I would ask her to tell me a story, it would always have a death scene, where someone’s head gets chopped off. And then the sandman would come.
I cannot find the adequate words to portray the intense emotion that now attaches me to this other human being. When I look at her face, I am in awe. Every little wrinkle, freckle, and spot, amazes me. My grandma, a women who never had parents of her own to love her, is able to love me into the person I am today. My heart is full, and my soul feels satisfied, because of the love she gives to me.
My grandma is everything I want to be.