I always look at Ella and think “How lucky are you to meet both sets of your grandparents?” I never met either of my grandfathers, who both died at an early age. I was happy to have both grandmothers in my life – Inay (maternal) and Nanay (paternal). I was extremely attached to Inay since she raised me. Nanay lived in Jacksonville, Florida, so it would only be infrequent visits that I would spend time with her.
I was attached to Inay, and as an adult, I smile at all the thoughtful things she did for me. Never wore a big smile, or said ‘I love you’, or gave out hugs. But she loved me, no doubt. And when I think of all the special memories of her, it inspires me to keep on doing the “little things” because I want my kids to have those same special memories of us together to look back on when they’re grown up.
I remember her making me an angel cake with buttercream frosting for my birthdays – she would use food dye to make colored frosting and would pipe “Happy Birthday Sheryl” through a plastic bag. I remember her making “ice candy” – a creamy version of popsicles. I remember her sewing my Barbie dresses. I remember her buying me a toy ironing board because she saw that I always wanted to do what she was doing. I remember her always smelling like AVON powder – that was the extent of her vanity – she never used make-up and would always use a comb for her hair, not a hair brush. Oh, and I loved loved LOVED her cooking and the patience she showed with those delicate Filipino desserts (brazo de mercedes). Her empanadas were my absolute fave!
When I got married, I wanted our photographer to snap shots of my mom putting on my veil the same way my grandmother did for her. I miss my Inay, and wish that she lived to meet Joe and our children, especially little Ella.