Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Carin and Grandma Rise

Carin and Great-Grandma Grucella "Rise" Gallegos
Christmas started a week early for my family. We had a very nice lunch with my Grandma Rise at the rehab center where she is staying in Albuquerque. Before going, I told my 11-year-old daughter, Carin, that I wanted to write a little something about her relationship with her 90-year-old great-grandmother. (Carin reminded me that Grandma turns 91in less than two week.) Carin probably goes at least two or three times a week with her grandfather to the rehab center to see his mother. She loves to go, and never turns down an offer to go.

Isabella Gallegos and Great-Grandma Grucella "Rise" Gallegos
Her seven-year-old sister, Isabella, also enjoys going and loves spending time with Grandma Rise, especially pushing her in her wheelchair. But Bella is also like me – often a homebody and not afraid to say she’d rather stay at home.

But Carin seems particularly attached to Grandma Rise. When I asked her why she likes going, she said (half-jokingly) that she likes to get out of the house. I know that’s part of it. If she had her way, and she usually does, she would spend her entire weekend with her grandparents. I also think she has a special place in her heart for Grandma Rise. I remember her also being attached to my Grandpa Louie before he passed away. But she’s older now, and Carin can sit with Grandma Rise and carry on a conversation about anything and everything. Grandma can’t hear everything Carin says, but she always smiles and enjoys every word. They also love to joke around, usually with my dad leading the way. Their favorite word, at the moment, is “dumbbell.” They have no shame in calling each other, or anyone else, a dumbbell if they act like one.

You hear a lot about children and elderly people sharing a special connection. I’m not really sure I was the same way when I was that age. I have great memories of all of my grandparents, and the little time I knew my great-grandparents. But I was extremely shy, and think I felt a little intimidated by them, at least when I was young. I also never lived in the same city as my grandparents, which may have had something to do with it. I also feel like I’m a late-bloomer in that I tend to appreciate things, people and relationships a little more as I get older. Carin probably gets this more nurturing trait from her mom, Yvette, who has always had a way with patients, especially older patients, at the hospital where she works.

Carin also seems to better appreciate and is taking advantage of her relationship with Grandma Rise and all of her grandparents at a young age. She doesn’t necessarily understand my fascination with family history. But knowing her like I do, I’m sure that someday she is going to look back on these memories and cherish them.

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