Panama 2019 Day 14: Abuela Gloria

The life cycle here is very different. Gloria is 47, and she has four grandchildren. She is a wonderful grandmother, and the little ones adore her.

Gloria draws careful boundary lines, and is the grandmother, not the primary caregiver. The babies have mothers and fathers, she says laughingly, to change their diapers. She’s been there, done that, with her own three boys.

That said, the caregiving role in Panama never ends. Gloria’s two elderly and frail uncles, twins, are both bedridden and incontinent. They might only be in their 60’s, but by any definition they are very old men. I just bought four big boxes of adult diapers to help out with expenses. The uncles live in their own single room house in the family compound. Gloria cooks for them, washes their clothes, and changes their diapers — every day, even when she’s here working most of the day for me.

Sally and I are 30 years older than Gloria, and we both have grandchildren around the same age as hers.

I’m  no longer changing anyone’s diapers, nor is Sally.

Gloria with Alia and Axel, and Tia Sally.

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