Scribbler in Seville

In praise of the suegra

As I mentioned in my Post A Day a couple of days ago, there are more public holidays in Spain than you could shake a stick at – you’d certainly get very tired trying.

For parents, this results in a disastrous equation:
public holidays=no school. No school=children at home. Children at home=noise, harrassment, having to prepare and eat lunch at a reasonable time (rather than sitting at the computer for hours with no movement except fingers on keyboards – or is that just me?). In short, public holidays=forget getting any work done.

Unless you have a magic ingredient, a Spanish super-suegra, a woman whose only aim – indeed, whose chief joy – in life is to look after, and feed, small children. Mine brought up five of her own (mostly alone, the father having left), and three of her sisters’. Little kiddies are enough to make any 60-odd-year-old Spanish woman (not the rich, thin ones, with sticks up their backsides and faces like they just sucked a lemon) collapse into a helpless heap of high-pitched burblings: “Ay, mi reina! Ay que te como!” (“Oh, my queen! I could just eat you up!”). Girls are mi chochete (woman’s you-know-what) and boys are mi churrito (man’s – yes, you guessed it). Hope I don’t attract the wrong sort of reader there.

This week, my suegra has, yet again, saved my bacon. Monday was a local holiday (see above equation), Tuesday the chochete was home with an ear infection and fever, and today was, yes, another public holiday. So what’s a freelance writer with deadlines and niños to do? Stick the kids in front of Spongebob, Peppa Pig and the hated Pokemon, or pack them off to grandma’s for home-cooked food and unadulterated adloration? Including extra attention from family, since it’s a festivo.



Thanks to her, I’ve actually got a good day’s work done – the first this week. She never complains, ever, is always happy to take her nietos – “estoy aqui” (I’m here”), and even sends them home with more guiso in a tupperware for the next meal.

OK, so I can’t discuss culture and literature with her, but she knows the names of all the Duquesa de Alba‘s children, spouses, ex-spouses, and their children too. And that’s saying something. And she adores, dotes on, worships my children. I’m not sure how this will change when the next grandchild comes along, in March next year, since she’ll be the sole grandmother and will therefore be much in demand. But as far as I’m concerned, for now, the woman is a saint. Forgive the religious argot, but my saint and my saviour.

I’m inching towards half-way in my month of A Post A Day. It’s hard work for me, Digamama and all the other nutters bloggers out there who’ve committed ourselves to a daily blog post during October, but we’re loving it. Honest.

7 thoughts on “In praise of the suegra

  1. Emily

    Great post! Lucky you having a suegra around. I actually kind of loathe public holidays unless we’ve rented a car. Other than that, loathe. Full-on loathe.

    1. Fiona Flores Watson

      I know what you mean – in town, it kind of gets shoved in your face, right? Out here in the campo, life just rumbles on, same as ever. A noisy party at the restaurant down the road with people celebrating, but other than that pretty much normal.

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