“We miss you, Nana”

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Mom is my son’s favorite playmate.

Last Friday my mother returned to our home country, Colombia, after a three-month visit. Needless to say, saying good bye was heartbreaking once again. However, this time the security line at the Orlando International Airport was so long that we didn’t have time to re-enact a scene out of a telenovela.

As much as we, the human members of our family, will miss my Mom–AKA Nana–my dogs are the ones in for a rude awakening. The moment she started packing her suitcases, I heard the following conversation between Rusty and Sasha:

Sasha: “Is Nana leaving yet?

Rusty: “Don’t you see the suitcases, moron?

Sasha: “Crap. No more meals or walks on time…

Rusty: “Yep… Crazy Mom is back!

My Mom is a spoiling machine and my babies, human and canine, know that well. They are all brats and know how to push her buttons to get what they want. Their puppy eyes and the tails wagging, are the perfect combination to melt Mom’s sweet heart.

Nevertheless, I am the one that gets spoiled the most. When she visits us, I become Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile. The kitchen and the laundry room become strangers to me. I don’t come close to the washing machine or the dishwasher. My nails grow beautifully and my French manicure lasts a week. Our meals are always ready and hot–except breakfast because she is like a sloth in the mornings–but after that, she is always ready to help me with anything I ask.

But like everything in life, paradise doesn’t last forever. We all know that once Mom goes back home, out butts have to move at a different tune. The good thing is that growing up under her wings trained me well, so I can take care of all the madness in my household without a second thought. Like my husband says, “The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Becoming a grandmother changed my Mom’s life forever. She calls my son The Little Prince and he knows it. The days she spends with him are filled with laughter and playtime. I can hear them laughing as if they were the same age, and it is amazing to see how her aches and pains go away when she gets picked up by son’s space ship and transported to one of his imaginary worlds.

It’s so embarrassing; my Mom is in much better shape than I am to play with my son. When I play cars with him on the floor, my husband jokes, “Do you need the crane?” when he sees me stand up in four steps.

However, the infinite love for her grandson has a limit: the love for her daughter. I understood this last year, a week before Thanksgiving. My son was playing with our neighbors in the front yard, and then he did something he shouldn’t have. He hurt my feelings, so I took him inside. When she got back from walking the pups and found me crying, she grabbed my son by the hand and took him to the living room.

The usual gentle voice turned into a judge’s verdict. He was guilty and no tears or puppy eyes made her change her mind. She gave him the speech about how much I loved him and how much his disrespect hurt me. He could only say yes to everything she said because all he wanted was to be in her good graces.

I, too, received a few of my Granny’s speeches during my childhood and teenage years and till this day, they resonate in my memory. My Mom’s tears were the “On” button to my Grandmother’s speech machine if ever I lied or escaped to a party with a boyfriend she didn’t like. She molded my mother’s character and hence mine.

A grandmother is like the beacon a ship follows to the shore in the dark night; she is the guide of love and wisdom in a child’s life. I thank God every day for mine and pray that my son will have his for a very long time.

What can I say Nana? We simply miss you. In the mean time, before you visit again, I have to deal with the attitude of three little brats that are just getting used to my boot camp. Sargent Spady is back!

Thanks for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora

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