Monday, January 17, 2011

The Matriarch turns 90

During the holidays, one of our destinations was Miami. My grandmother {Abuela} celebrated her 90th birthday over the New Year's holiday. For those of you that do not know me on a personal level, let me give you a little background information:

I am half-Cuban. My mother is a Cuban exile. She fled Cuba during Fidel Castro's revolution, leaving behind family, and most importantly her own father. Eventually, my mother, her two sisters, and grandmother settled into a completely new life in the States. My grandfather was not so fortunate, and died in Cuba, as a political prisoner.

My grandmother by definition is truly a matriarch. She has managed to hold together a family that was ripped apart due to politics, and oppression. I am amazed at how close knit the family has remained - spanning out through several generations, and distance.

While I feel like my grandmother's life story is not only worthy of a separate post completely, but a book; I will say that she is truly a hero in my eyes. As my brother stated at her party during a toast, our generation has no idea what sacrifice is. Abuela has endured a life full of blessings, but also sacrifice and hurt. Imagine leaving your home behind, without your spouse, and having to start over with your children in a new country? I could not fathom.

However, today; she stands 90 years young, as a woman that many admire. So, I hope and pray that we will all be together again soon, for another milestone birthday. But, most importantly, I pray that we continue to learn from her, stay close to our loved ones; as she has worked so hard for us to do just that.

Abuela - 3 years old


Abuelas as the Bride - 22 years old


Abuela - 24 years old


Family Vacation - 1956


Trip to Spain - 1957 {my mom is girl in the middle}


Abuela with her three daughters - 1975 {my mom is seated in the front}


All of the following photos are courtesy of Enrique Colls.

An attempted photo of Abuela with her 16 great-granchildren.


Abuela with her 9 grandchildren (in birth order, from left to right.)


My sister and her boyfriend, with Bob and me.


My siblings and Abuela.


Abuela's three granddaughters.


Lorraine (SIL), Me, Bob, Stephen (cousin), Ricky (cousin), Ryan (sister's bf), and Kathy (sister).


Abuela and her offspring!


My immediate family.


Abuela with her three daughters. From left to right: Marilu, Sylvia (my mom), and Gloria.


The birthday girl.


The party was held at the Big Five Country Club in Miami. The club represents Cuban tradition, as it is a place in Miami where members of the five original yacht and golf clubs in Havana, Cuba can be a member there too. The party had well over 100 guests which simply gave Abuela or "Lela," the gift of love, happiness, and blessings.

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Jamie said...

What an awesome tribute to your Grandmother. What a legacy! It's really neat to see all the family similarities! That's awesome that you all were able to celebrate her 90th. You look really pretty in all the pics!

Suz said...

I absolutely love this post and love your family! We are blessed to have memories that include so many of the people mentioned above!!

Shannon said...

Such a neat post, Jen! Happy Birthday to Abuela!

Lady Trinidad said...

Thanks so much for sharing. That history is rich and amazing. Your abuela sounds beautiful. You are right, we truly do not know sacrifice.

Ashley said...

How incredible!! She's so beautiful, I love the old photos. She's sounds like a special woman!


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