Sunday, December 16, 2007

Another Grandmother

Last night Sofia met her other grandmother for the first time. Her daddy's mother and sister, from Ecuador, arrived in Portland to spend Christmas and meet Sofia. You can see that Sofi and her Abuela Chela bonded almost instantly. I was a little concerned that Sofi, who now knows who she knows and who she doesn't know, might take a little while to warm up to her grandmother and her aunt. But she seemed to somehow recognize them. As Aunt Ani said, "your blood speaks to you." She loves Grandma Chela's songs in Spanish and she thinks her Aunt Ani is not only beautiful, but very funny.

Ray and I know Chela and Ani from our trips to Ecuador, including Emily and Cayo's wedding. We have been the recipient of Chela's gracious hospitality on several occasions and have urged her to come for a visit. This is her first trip outside Ecuador. It is a little surreal to see these two women sitting at my table thousands of miles and two continents away from where we first met them. Surreal, but really wonderful.

You can see and read about Chela and one of our visits with her in Ecuador, here and here and here.

There is a Spanish word, "consuegra", that describes my relationship to Chela. There is not an equivalent English term, but it is roughly "co-mothers-in-law." It seems fitting to me that there should be a word for this relationship. When our children married it made us all family. We share a grandchild. There is a bond and great affection between us.

Ani, in typically dramatic Ani fashion, threw her arms into the air at the Portland airport and declared, "I am in Portland, Oregon! My dream has come true!" What a special gift for my daughter and son-in-law (who can't seem to stop smiling at his mother) and grandchild, and for us, that they are here.


  1. How wonderful to have a house full of family! I can definitely see the family resemblance between Abuela Chela and Cayo. Tia Ani is gorgeous -- who wouldn't immediately warm up to that smile?

  2. Terry, I can feel your love for your consuegra Chela in your post. Your mutual love for Chela and Ani is a true gift to Cayo, Emily and Sofia.
    You captured some great family pictures.


  3. Anonymous8:11 AM

    I actually worried when my DGD was born that there were "too many" people in her life, that all the grandparents (4 full sets!) would be confusing and create fragmented relationships. (I CAN be such an idiot at times.) I finally realized there are no limits on the heart, children have come from large extended families for eons, and they manage to sort it out very well. Sofi knew that right away.

    What a Christmas this will be!

  4. I have tears of happiness in my eyes! What a beautiful photo of Sofia with her "other" grandma. I see a family resemblance. I hope to meet them!

    According to Brenda, those of us with wordpress attached to our blogs cannot use the new comment id. So I will continue with my blogger/google id.

  5. Terry,

    This brought tears to my eyes. To me the true spirit of Christmas is being with family and the people we love. What a wonderful gift to your whole family to be together this season. Thank you for sharing such a personal and yet so beautiful moment with us. The pictures are fabulous. Sofia is a very lucky lady to have so many wonderful loving people in her life.

    Joining families can be a hard thing sometimes. But I think when you embrace all the good things like you have you reap all the wonderful benefits. We've just recently moved to be near my parents. I worried about how the relationship with my husband and them would be. My mother called me a few weeks ago to tell me that my husband is the son they never knew they wanted and the friend they've always longed to have. He often stops by to check on them and see if they need anything on his way home from work. Their relationship is a gift that money could never buy.

    Family and love is truly the greatest blessing in life.

  6. So wonderful a Xmas story, and so good Sofia was not shy with her grand mother and her aunt.
    I too see some air of famille between Sofia and her aunt. One of my daughters travels a lot, and I wonder where she will settle, with whom, and what language my grandchildren will talk. I can identify with your family in that respect!

  7. There's nothing better than being blessed with a wonderful family!

  8. Anonymous3:57 PM

    Ah, shucks. Warms the heart of even the Scrooge-eshes.

  9. I cannot stop smiling. On this bitter cold night in the Berkshires, your essay about Abuela Chela and Tia Ani has warmed my heart. What a wonderful blending of families. Sofia knows, intuitively, that she is in good hands. And you are so loving to realize that the consuegra relationship is, indeed, very special. Joy to the world!

  10. What a wonderful reunion, and first meeting. Enjoy the holiday season with your extended family!

  11. Oh I love this idea of co-mothers-in-law. Charming.

  12. How great to have special family times together. It is so cool that there is a word for the consuegra relationship, it makes perfect sense!

  13. Glad to know there is a word in Spanish for your relationship to your kid's MIL. In Yiddish, the word is "machatenester" with the emphasis the TEN. For the male side, "mahouten" (accent on the hou, pronounced "who") And if you are talking about your kid's inlaws -as a couple - "machetunim"). I don't understand why English doesn't have such a term.