There was a happy, noisy atmosphere. Smiling faces, laughter, good stories being told, great food… after all, we were celebrating 79 years of inspiring, hard-working, complete years. We were celebrating my grandmother’s birthday. At one point, we were all at the dining room, sitting besides loved ones, and sharing funny anecdotes, good memories, and my grandmother was sitting besides me. On her lap, my cousin’s youngest daughter. For a moment, I wasn’t listening to the person who was talking, or to the laughter; in fact, there was complete silence in my head. I watched my grandmother smile at her great grand daughter, holding her hand. Their eyes met, laughed and connected… I have no idea what they were talking about, but there was a connection of love between their eyes. As I payed attention, I could see that little girl’s hand, soft and pinkish, inside a bigger, mature and pruned hand. The marks of trajectory on my grandmother’s hands presented themselves as freckles and wrinkled lines. If I could name each one, one would be my grandfather, father, my sister and brother, each of my aunts and uncles, my cousins, my cousins’s children and others. A name for each of the persons she ever hugged, kissed, gave advice to.
She was born near the mountains of Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Her mother died giving birth to her, and she was raised by her aunt. She survived and kept going. As a teacher, my grandmother taught inside schools and classrooms, but also at home and outside these spaces. During her youth, she fought for teachers’ rights, went dancing, traveling, loving. She kept going. She raised her three children. Then, raised three of my cousins, because their mother was absent. Then, again, helped my cousin raise her own child, her great grand daughter. In a way, we are all here because she had some input of love, knowledge and advice. She exercises daily, enjoys food and good music, looks fantastic all the time… when I grow old, I want to have hands like hers, hands that have lived, loved, caressed, written, done…
This year, we are preparing for the 80th birthday party. One more year of extraordinary life.