Back in college I was staring at a blank screen real hard willing it to start writing my final paper for my Liturgy and Feasts class. Of course the paper was due in a few hours and I had yet to start it. Ok, think, Vanessa, what feast can you write about quickly and with authority? Man, I really wish I had kept up with the reading for this course. As I frantically pushed ideas around my head, I looked at the framed image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that La Lupe (my grandma) had gifted me before starting college. Ugh, I thought, I don’t even know anything about this image that sits on my desk. It was at this moment that the Holy Spirit hit me upside the head with this revelation I’ve written about on Busted Halo. That moment changed me. I wasn’t a snotty grandchild anymore that rolled her eyes when her grandma repeated the same story about “Lupita” (how La Lupe refers to Our Lady of Guadalupe). I wasn’t a theology major that pitied my grandma’s simple and superstitous faith anymore. Instead, I saw her as a person of great worth and great wisdom.
La Lupe, my abuelita, is the matriarch of our family who loves and admonishes with the same ferocity. While I naturally adopted some of her ways without noticing, I was not purposefully living the rich tradition she so desperately tries to pass on to us. I finally understood something one of my professors said:
Tradition is not wearing your grandmother’s hat, it‘s having a baby.
Carrying on my family’s tradition does not happen by merely paying it lip service. Tradition does not happen because I sometimes carry around La Lupe’s handkerchief when I feel sentimental. Tradition does not happen when I put it into a box to remain pristine and untouched. Tradition is living it, breathing it, stretching it, giving birth to it in my own life, in my own way. Just like my faith is so inherently part of me, I want what La Lupe has taught me to be such. Here’s my quest to learn and live what both Lupes try to teach me: the worth, the pain, and the beauty of our life as mothers. This is what I hope to chronicle in this blog — the long and slow, but usually funny road toward La Lupe and Lupita. In the words of La Lupe when she wants to settle in to conversation,
Venga, venga, siéntate, tráete tu cafesito.
Come, come, have a seat, bring your coffee.