Not too long ago, it was really hot, New York City roads and sidewalks weren’t covered in gray and black slush, the trains were still running inconsistently uptown, and I found myself really thirsty while walking along Columbus Avenue.
I decided I needed to get myself a sugary drink with lots of ice because I’m a grown woman, and I do what I want.
As I walked toward 100th Street with head phones in, I saw two abuelitas sitting on a bench near a tree guard. They were chatting with each other until they saw me.
They gestured for me to stop.
I looked up. We made eye contact. They seemed irritated.
They caught me by surprise – because my mind was so focused on that drink I was about to have. I pulled out my head phones.
One pointed to my shoes.
I looked down.
My shoelaces were untied.
So I immediately and obediently squatted down in front of them and tied my shoelaces. Tightly. Double-knotted this time around for sure.
I told myself – I’m a grown woman, and I do what I want.
And at that moment what I wanted was to double-knot my shoelaces.
They watched me with all the reproachful “What would you do without us?” judgment entitled to abuelitas who don’t want you to embarrass yourself — which they didn’t stop doing until I fixed my shoes, they nodded in satisfied approval, and then they turned to face each other to continue their chatting.
And the moral of the story is – Some grandmamas in your life pray for you from the bottom of their heart; some grandmamas stop you from tripping and falling on your face; and these grandmamas are not necessarily mutually exclusive.