Emmi Whitehorse: Immerse, 2017, oil, chalk, and pastel on paper, courtesy Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art

It was the 23rd of December. Adriana’s grandma, Abuelita, was going to cook food for the next day, which was Christmas Eve.

“Here, let us help you!” said Mama and Papa.

“No!” Abuelita shouted. “I am going to make the food for everybody because it is going to be my gift to you!”

“Abuelita, let my parents help you. It will be done quicker,” said Adriana. But Abuelita wouldn’t let anybody help her make the food.

Adriana thought to herself: “I have to help Abuelita. She’s my grandmother and she needs help. There are going to be 20 people she’ll have to feed. It’s just too much!

Later in the afternoon, Adriana was playing outside. Abuelita decided to start making the food. Mama and Papa went to the store to buy gifts. Abuelita started to make tamales. She started making sweet tamales. Then after that she was going to make ones with meat inside them with green and red chile. Adriana could smell the food from outside, and Adriana could taste the tamales even if she hadn’t even taken a bite. Abuelita would get her hands so sticky by touching the masa for the tamales. “Pat Pat Pat” was the noises the masa would make while Abuelita was making them.

Ooo, they are going to be so good!” thought Abuelita.

After that, she made enchiladas. Abuelita was fast at cooking, but she always got tired. When Mama and Papa got home, Abuelita was still cooking and she looked a little bit tired, but she still kept going. It was already twelve o’clock. When Mama, Papa, and Adriana got inside the house, it smelled like cooked beans, and Adriana could smell the yummy food. Adriana could also smell the bowl of chile Abuelita had made.

“Mama, why don’t you take a break and just sit down on the couch?” Adriana’s mom asked.

“No!” Abuelita shouted. “I will not take a break!”

Abuelita was too stubborn. She would never listen. Later that day, Abuelita was making Jell-O for dessert. Abuelita felt a little dizzy, but still kept cooking and baking. Adriana was in her room playing with her dolls. Suddenly, Adriana hears a thump like if a vase fell on the ground. Except Adriana didn’t hear any glass shatter.

Adriana went walking in the kitchen. That’s when she found Abuelita lying down on the floor!

“Mama! Papa!” Adriana yelled.

Her parents took Abuelita to the hospital. Abuelita was fine. She just fainted and was really tired.

When Abuelita woke up, Mama told Abuelita: “I told you that you had to take a break! And now look what happened!”

“I know I messed up,” said Abuelita. She felt really bad, but she didn’t have to feel bad because she can’t do everything by herself.

“You need to be careful, Abuelita.” Adriana said. Adriana was mad because Abuelita didn’t listen, but at the same time she was happy Abuelita was okay.

Later that day, Mama and Papa finished making the food. All of their family loved it. At the end of dinner there was even leftovers! Abuelita made too much food!

When the kids were opening the presents, Abuelita told Adriana: “Thank you for looking out for me. I know I didn’t listen but it’s my fault that I fainted. I will listen next time.”

“You’re welcome!” said Adriana with a happy smile. “And I don’t need a gift. All I need is you!”

“Thank you!” said Abuelita.

Everybody was happy. Abuelita knew what she learned that day, and she knew she was never going to act like that again. It was a wonderful Christmas Eve!