Martha, on Kinship. Sling Diaries Vol VII.

The Sling Diaries, Volume VII. A photo-documentary chronicling the art of baby wearing in the lives of families around the world. Over the course of six months, Sling Diarists will create their own Sling Diary though a series of diary entries interpreting a unique theme given to them each month.

Meet all of our Sling Diarists here.


I always felt a strong connection with her, she taught me the value of it.

From the beginning she established our family ties. My earliest memories with her are sitting around the table in her small house drinking café con leche (coffee with milk) and sweet bread while she stood with her back to me. Neatly tied around her waist she wore an embroidered apron. We lived two hours away, but always visited. Countless summers that I spent in her tiny home, holidays shared, mother’s days spent with her, birthday parties and so much more. Then I got older, I had my own plans, and visits were semi-forced by my father. When I became an adult, the visits were less frequent. Later in the years I became a mother, and understood our connection in a different level. I started visiting again, as often as I could tag along with my parents(I didn’t dare to drive in that town, it was an unfamiliar town with roads I did not know). Every time I visited, I sensed the happiness in them, in my father and my abuelita(grandma). Their corners of their lips jumped upward and their eyes sparkled. If we were there on Sundays, it was even sweeter. Everyone visited on Sundays and we were the only ones that usually weren’t there since we lived two hours away. I was trying to rebuild that bond/tie we once had shared and slowly was doing it. Those were happy times, we are all happy, and those are the memories I will hold on to.

I know great joy awaits her, but the selfish part of me wishes for more. In the past few weeks, our time together has mostly been spent sitting next to her, trying to hold on to those weathered hands I had been enamored with. I had been enamored with her hands since I was a little girl. I studied those hands with blue/green veins that ran like splintering map lines. She used to sew and knit the most beautiful pieces. While I was with her, and in moments of lucidity she told me why I hadn’t used my phone navigation to get around town since it was my first time driving into town by myself, I giggled because she is up to date with technology despite being 85 years old. I told her I loved her. That evening my cousins and I reminisced about the time she had punished us and left us outside without supper. She laughed and replied that we were being disruptive and deserved the punishment. We laughed again.  Her voice was weak and fragile. That night before leaving I lingered at her bedside. Scared to say goodbye, I left feeling heavy.

Today I sit here completely hopelessness converted into tears running down my cheeks as my abuelita (grandma) Maria slowly travels into her next life. I think of the beautiful roses she loved and how my daughter’s middle name is Rose. I think of her sparkling green eyes, and how my only daughter also has those sparkling green eyes. I think of the times I didn’t want to visit and the heartbreak my father must have felt. Now I feel that heartbreak. My abuelita (grandma) is the queen of the family, we gathered, we connected, we united because of her. 

Hours away from her now, and with the peace that I have already said my goodbyes I ache for more chances, more time, one more picture. I continue to hold on to our tie, until she is ready to let go. But even when she does let go, our connection will remain here forever. Her apron and her cafe con leche(coffee with milk) will forever remind me of her. I will keep her beautiful porcelain face, with gunmetal grey hair, and those sparkling green eyes in my presence. She will live on each of us-in her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren and those to come. She is leaving a mark on us to carry on this long-standing legacy of connection, family ties, and love that she built.

My abuelita (grandma) traveled into paradise on November 10, 2017 and I can’t wait to see her again.


Follow along with Martha over on Instagram, @mrscastro, and The Sling Diaries on Pinterest