Things to Consider When Making Room for Abuela

Things to Consider When Making Room for Abuela

When abuela comes to visit, make sure it’s an enjoyable experience for everyone.

It doesn’t matter when her last visit was; it’s always been too long since abuela last came to visit. She’s eager to see her grandchildren and everyone wants her visit to be festive, but there are some things we should consider to make abuela’s stay more comfortable — without compromising our own lifestyle.

One Language, One Love
If abuela is fully bilingual, members of the household should not worry about which language to use with or around her. But Spanish should become the default language for all family members if abuela isn’t comfortable speaking English. Making the effort to communicate only in Spanish — not only with abuela, but also in front of abuela — will insure she won’t feel left out.

Stock Up the Fridge and the Pantry
Since food is an integral part of our cultural, it’s a good idea to have all of our national staples at hand — especially if Abuela isn’t too keen about American food. If your abuela is like ours, she may even insist in taking over (she’ll may call it “helping out”) in the kitchen. Let her. After all, her way of expressing love is by spoiling her children and grandchildren with a feast. Be prepared to eat some hefty meals!


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Give Her the Grand Hotel Treatment
Set up the guest room for abuela with fresh linen, towels, soap and shampoo for her to use. If you don’t have an extra guest room, you can still make arrangements to make sure she’s comfortable. If she has to share the room with children, make sure she gets the bed — not on an inflatable mattress. Or consider relocating the kids while she’s in town, whether that means sleeping in your bed with you, on the couch, or maybe set up “camp” with a sleeping bag in the living room.

Take Turns in Offering to Drive
No matter how much abuela loves us, we can’t expect her to hang around the house all day. Whether it’s going shopping, sightseeing, visiting the park, or stepping out for a salsa night, abuela may need someone to drive her around. Take turns with all the able drivers in the household to offer her a ride. One day papá can take abuela to church, the next day your oldest child can drive her to the supermarket, and so forth.

It’s more than likely that abuela won’t want to miss an episode of her telenovela. Naturally, what she really wants is for us to share this time with her. Back in the day, watching TV was more of a family affair. Everyone gathered around the set to watch a musical program. Take this opportunity to sit down with abuela as a family, get some snacks out, and enjoy the shows together. Those are the moments you will truly cherish when abuela comes to visit.

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