Lessons from a Mother-In-Love

“Control what you can,

cope with what you can’t,

and concentrate on what counts” ~ Epictetus

Sometimes we do well to, pause and concentrate on what is in our heart. Today my I am doing so with a tribute to my Mother-In-Love. Other people call this person their Mother-in-law.

My children never had a nanny, because they had an Abuela (Grandma). An Abuela is like to glue to a family. She keeps everyone together. My children’s Abuela was traditional and old school. She exposed us to Cuban and Lebanese culture. We learned to make Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Stuffed Grape Leaves and Baklava long before those foods made their appearance on mainstream restaurant menus. She shunned play dough; instead, she preferred cookie dough so the kids could eat their art projects.

She was first known for being a high school Spanish teacher with a special knack for getting kids to pay attention. In the 1960s and 70s, she would throw chalky erasers at students who were day-dreaming. Other times, she gave snarky students the task of counting the bricks outside her classroom door. After 30 years of teaching, she had an amazing number of alumni students who adored her and regularly kept in touch with her. Many of them went on to have careers with Spanish related themes, because of her influence on them in the classroom. One of her grandchildren spent a year in Santiago, Chili largely because of Abuela’s influence.

I considered her my Guardian Angel on earth, because she was always available to help us out. I remember one day when my youngest was a newborn, and I had four kids under the age of eight. Thinking I had everything under control, I declined help when she called. I got off the phone only to find my 2-year-old elbow deep in the fish tank, with the empty fish food box on the floor. At that moment the baby had a blow out diaper and the 6-year-old was jumping on the furniture. I picked that phone back up and asked if she would help me out. She was at our door in twenty minutes.

She called me her “Daughter-In-Love” and I called her my “Mother-In-Love” Her motives were kindness, love, and tradition. I was not fortunate to experience a grandparent relationship as a child,  but I learned from her that an Abuela is priceless to every family.

She has gone to be an official Guardian Angel.

Senora Mirta Arazoza





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