telling abuela about my backpacking plan, fall 2015

—No vas a ir a ningún lado. ¿Entiendes?

I sat silently at the edge of my grandmother’s bed listening to her scold me one gloomy afternoon. She stood in front of me distracted by her mirror and her curling iron.

-¿Porque quieres ir tan lejos? She asked, looking at herself in the mirror.

-No se, nada mas quiero pasear con los camellos en el desierto. I half joked.

She took the spray can into her right hand, adding the final touches to her masterpiece.

-Ay, Karen. En ves de buscar novio, andas buscando camellos. She sighed through the heavy chemicals.

She slowly unzipped her cosmetic bag and pulled out a half comb, the same sized comb she’s used since childhood, I presume. I’ve never asked her if she’s ever needed a full brush. But even the photographs in her bedroom show a young woman with a man’s haircut. When I ask her why she doesn’t let her hair grow, she says short hair is just easier to deal with. But I don’t think that’s the reason especially when she asks me to carry her ten pound duffle bag packed with different sized curlers, mousse cans, spray cans, and other miscellaneous hair goodies.

-No va pasar nada. I tried reassuring her.

-¿Como que nada mas vas a llevar una mochilla?

I stared at her as she found one last stubborn hair, which needed to be put in its place.

-¿Y como que quieres ir sola? Estas loca, van a pensar que estas buscando problemas.

-No van a pensar eso, abuela. I expressed to an ear, which had long ago made up its mind.

Frustrated, she slammed her comb on the dresser.

-No vas a ir sola. Eso te lo estoy diciendo. She said as she turned to me.


-No vas a ir sola. She repeated to herself as she marched down the hallway.

2 thoughts on “telling abuela about my backpacking plan, fall 2015

  1. Life through generations is a story. A story with chapters and, actually, multiple books that are inclusive. When a story is told a certain way for so long it is hard for a new plot line or script to be introduced. I believe that when you are at the point of having children you are passing the torch to them. Think about it: even biologically you give much of your life force to them. The woman’s body changes drastically and some never return to their original form. For a man, the responsibility of fathering the children has arrived. These sacrifices mean the mother and father are no longer individuals in the spotlight. Rather a carer for ANOTHER LIFE, and it’s their job to rear the children as the spotlight now awaits them. It’s rare that child and parent can share this light. My opinion is: enjoy the spotlight and take it for everything it’s got. That way when your children arrive, you can focus more on them and give them the attention, training, and love they deserve.

    If you have not truly lived YOUR life and expressed yourself in vocation, or even recreation, then you probably don’t have much to pass to your children. This is in terms of exposure to different love avenues to take.
    I believe what you are doing is great! You are setting new standards and recreating the story. So, instead of your children being knocked up and stuck working a job they don’t really like to support the children at age 25, you will have other options to present to them when they get here. They will already have higher education, a fierce sense of duty, and the want to explore in their blood. I’m a firm believer that we reproduce what and who we are and what’s inside of us. Maybe you are living a dream your grandmother and mother never got to realize. Who knows? But I DO know that they are watching the new changes to the family story, YOUR story. They will see the arc of the plot and definitely be amazed. You will accomplish so much, THEN settle down and have children and it will change the meaning of ‘successful’ in your family.

    A saying we have in sports: winning makes everything better!

    You asked how can you explain to your grandmother? You are every day, with every action you take that is contrary to the original flow. They will see soon enough. Just stay true to your heart and what you want!! 😊

  2. Hi Rob,

    First of all, thank you for even reading this blog!

    I think it is true when you said “Maybe you are living a dream your grandmother and mother never got to realize.” My mom once told me she wanted to see the world when she was younger, but got married and became a mother instead.

    I love the way you think about the “spotlight” leaving us once we become parents. I’d go even further, and say that parents who have unfulfilled dreams and unaccomplished goals tend to push their children towards these unfulfilled dreams. If a father never realized his dream of becoming a doctor, for example, he might push his son to do it for him. This is of course unfair to the children, which is why I agree with you when you say we ought to fulfill our dreams FIRST.

    It has been difficult to find people who support me in this endeavor, so THANK YOU for the words of encouragement!!!


    Karen 🙂

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