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What Do You Call Your Abuela?

Submitted by on September 2, 2009 – 1:54 pm9 Comments

The span in age between me and my oldest sister, Ofie, is about fifteen years. Which means she was married and had her first child, Annette, by the time I was nine. Which means that at that point in my young life, my mother, Luz, became a grandmother.

“La Abuela!” She had waited so long to finally hear those words. (But she never wanted to be called abuelita. The “-ita,” she protested, sounded old, but that’s not important right now.) She could barely wait until Annette started talking!

Ah, but let me tell you about Annette – she was a precocious and clever and creative child, who, as soon as she could talk and found out that her grandmother’s name was Luz Aurora started calling her Luza. And that is the name that has stuck.

Luza. That’s how she even introduces herself now. My sisters and I call her Luza. She is Luza to all the other fifteen grandchildren and the seven great-grands. Luza is what all her friends call her now.

Ironically, there is still one grandchild who calls her Abuela.
You guessed it.
Annette, her very first grandchild, the one who baptized her as Luza, is now the only one who calls her Abuela. Go figure!

I secretly suspect that because she was the first grandchild, and the one who gave her that special nickname, my mom loves her the most. But don’t tell the rest of them.

luza & annette
Luza and Annette.

So, tell me, what do you call your abuela? I want to know. I do.

(Originally posted on MBFCF in another version.)

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9 Comments »

  • I always stuck with Abuelita followed by their first names i.e. Abuelita Herminia.
    My daughter has always called my parents Abuelita and Abuelito. However, it became somewhat of a mouthful to talk about them so she abbreviated and now they are both referred to as a singular being TaTo! I just think that’s so cute!

  • Chantel says:

    My grandmother is Tita to everyone. Her eldest grandchild couldn’t pronounce Abuelita, so Tita (and Tito for my grandfather, que en paz descanse) it was, right down to the great-great grandkids, in-laws, etc. My daughter calls my mom Nana (such a gringa, my kid) and my mother-in-law Abby (short for abuela). These little kids wield some serious power, don’t they?

  • Billy de Castro says:

    Like Chantel’s grandmother, we all call her Tita, which was just a shortened version of Abuelita. As a child, though, I had my own name for her: Abí. To everyone else she was Tita and it seems I finally fell in with the rest of the crowd (though I stuck with Abí all the way through high school). She never protested to being “Abuelita” (at least not openly) as she had to be distinguished from her mother. Mi bisabuela era Abuela, whom I called Tata. Though I can’t be absolutely certain, I’m sure “Tata” came from my attempt to say “Abuela” at a very early age. Regardless, she has ever since been known as Tata to her great and great-great grandchildren.

    As the eldest grandchild I coined both Abí and Tata, so I’m happy at least one of them stuck! For the record, however, I’ve noticed that Tita still answers to Abí when I inadvertently revert to my younger years :)

  • Anne Marie says:

    My abuela is “Mamita.” Not just to me, but almost everyone! I’m sure it made more sense when my mom called her own mother Mamita. But then she married a gringo, and he only knew her parents as Mamita and Tati… So he and his whole (gringo) family knew them as Mamita and Tati. And I grew up calling them that. And everyone we introduce to them knows them as Mamita and Tati even when they aren’t related at all. I love it.

  • Kiki Bacaro says:

    I called my grandma on my mom’s side Abá but my grandmother on my dads side lived far away and I just called her Mery (Mary) which is what I heard my mom call her. My kids call their grandma on dads side Abui and my mom they call Wee Wee, supposedly because the first grandchild called her that. My granddaughter, who is 20 months old calls me Ata….short for Abuelita, I suppose.

  • Lisa Renata says:

    I call mine Yama. Porque? Because when I was little I would hear all my uncles (including my dad) call her Ama (for mama) and I couldn’t pronounce it correctly so I started calling her Yama and it stuck. Now everyone -and I mean everyone- calls her the same. I’m the second to the oldest grandchild from over the 60+ grandchildren she has. (I’m not kidding! My dad is the eldest of 15.)
    Funny thing is, her oldest granddaughter is the only one that calls her abuela.

    I love your story.
    .-= Lisa Renata´s last blog ..spring colors :: colores de primavera =-.

  • Beatriz Vera says:

    I refer to my maternal grandmother (who is 97 and still kicking) as Pepa. Why? Bueno, it all started in Cuba… I was born there and came to the U.S. when I was six. I was about two according to the story and my neighbor’s kid who was a little older called her grandmother Pepa. I thought she was the coolest kid ever, so in the grand tradition of imitation being the most sincerest form of flattery I decided to call my grandmother Pepa also. She tried to resist at first, wanting to be called “Abuelita”, but I was a stubborn child and 36 years later everyone still calls her Pepa. Her great-grandchildren, grandchildren, children, sisters, and everyone else who is associated with her calls her Pepa. At this point she has stopped caring and even refers to herself as Pepa!

  • Christy Milanes Rodriguez says:

    Plain and simple… “Wela”… lol. I miss her so much. But so grateful she taught us so much. Most importantly…how to stick together as a family. I love her for that.

  • Liz says:

    I called my grandma, abuela, but my sisters kids & mine call our mom gueli. My niece who is the first grandchild baptized her with that name. She couldn’t say abuela, so gueli has stuck & she loves it. Oh, my mom used the handkerchief on me when I was young too.

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