On Motherhood, Like if Anyone Cares.

Some days I would like to take a vacation from motherhood, I wish I could say “I need to take a personal day, can you hold that thought until I am back from leave?”  Specially when its 3AM and I have to wake up to a bed full of vomit or when I am completely and utterly exhausted and there is not a drop of milk, crumb of bread or sliver of ham, and I have to make myself go to the grocery store to pick up food for the little people who solely depend on me. And specially when I get the teenage eye-roll or snarky comments, specially then.   We have all heard it a million times about how hard and excruciatingly exhausting it is, yet how rewarding and awesome and fulfilling and blah blah blah…..  We know the script, its everywhere.

But here is the truth about motherhood (note and side tangent: this is my own personal experience, thoughts and feelings about my own motherhood, does not mean it has to be yours.  Also, if you have chosen that motherhood is not for you, I 100% respect and value that, so carry on sister.)  I have always lived my life thinking that I am responsible for passing on valuable lessons to my children, that I have to make the right choices for them, and that they will be formed into the humans that they were meant to be, solely because of what I teach them.

Lately, like in the past year or so-which constitutes lately for me, I have been experiencing a change on how I view this whole motherhood thing.  The mother-child relationship has shifted, I have started to realize that those three children of mine have been and probably will always remain, my greatest teachers when it comes to life.

They have taught me first and foremost how to LOVE them appropriately.  And by this I mean that first I’ve had to start loving myself, because if there is no self-love, then there is nothing to give to them.  That has been an honest truth for myself.  By being kind and gentle with me, I am able to be kind and gentle with them.

They are daily instructors on patience, perseverance, tolerance, compassion, acceptance, kindness.  Wow. I would have never imagined in a million years that my own children were going to teach me so much, I thought it was supposed to be the other way around.

I am grateful that those three beings came into my life, I am thankful for each and everyday I get to spend with them, because they are awesome duh, but also because they are reminders that my greatest life lessons always come from the most unexpected of places, and my hope is to remain with and open heart and an open soul for the remainder of my motherhood so that I am continuously taught.

To my Isabella, Sergio and Felipe, thank you for being the teachers you were meant to be.

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Photo credit: @sergionarvaez

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Grieving Years Later

Fifteen years ago my Father’s Mother, Abuelita Angelica, passed away.  I had just moved to Arlington, Virginia, with my then boyfriend and our baby girl.  Life was confusing, fast paced and yet ridiculously simple at the time.

Abuelita Angelica was a simple uncomplicated woman.  I remember spending summers with her, hours in the backyard playing with my dolls.  She was not the typical grandmother, she was more like my older friend.  I could always count on her to keep me company and play whatever the hell I wanted.  She was my companion, my playmate and my soulmate.  She never reprimanded me for anything I did, and as a little girl I was constantly causing all sorts of mischievous happenings in our household.

One time, while Abuelita was taking a nap in a chair in our living room, I decided it would be fun to tie her to the chair with some rope and cover her entire body with a bed sheet.  I proceeded to stand next to this covered restrained body and scream at the top of my lungs: “War is coming, war is coming!”  Keep in mind that this was in Nicaragua during the 80’s after we had lived through a revolution.  Needless to say, my parents were extremely upset with me that afternoon, but not Abuelita Angelica, she wanted to keep playing dolls with me in the backyard.

When she passed away I was so self absorbed with my life that I did not pay that much attention to the fact that my Grandmother, the woman who spent countless summers and vacations with me, entertaining and keeping me company, providing unconditional love, had died.  I didn’t think much of it, I thought it was the natural cycle of life, and that death was just that, death.

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about her, about the color of her skin and the way she used to smell.  About the sound of her voice and her warm gentle touch.  I miss her.

I now understand what is happening, I am finally grieving Abuelita Angelica.

A few months ago I dreamt with her.  We were in a park and the scenery was very green, and it smelled like freshly cut grass.  I remember seeing her sitting on a picnic table, serene and happy.  Nothing was said, but a lot was felt.  I remember the feeling in the dream was that of overwhelming love and joy.  And that is exactly how I remember her, times of love and joy that filled my childhood.

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Dad and Abuelita Angelica, circa 1980

KISS

It was Thanksgiving Day and I was cruising the supermarket aisles like a mad woman picking up all the last minute items for that days celebration, you know, things that are absolutely needed like the eighth side dish and ice cube trays in the forms of turkeys.

I had an overflowing amount of soda cans and paper plates in my cart that kept falling off, and me picking them up and grunting while super annoyed.  I was the portrayal of an insane overprivileged mom.

Then an old voice behind me called out, “do you need some help young lady?” I turned annoyed at the fact that I looked like a person who might actually need some help.  My annoyance grew even more when the person offering the help was an old guy on a walker.  My limited mind immediately thought “this guy needs ME to help HIM!” I answered in the sweetest tone I could possibly find, “no thanks sir, I think I can handle it.”  And continued to browse the aisles in the search to find wholeness and satisfaction.

Finally, I’m at the cash register unloading all the stuff that everyone could have gone without, and behind me I hear the old voice again, “have you ever heard of KISS?” he calmly said to me.  I turned, this time very curious more than annoyed, “you mean the band?” I answered. He laughed, an old raspy yet comforting laugh.  “Keep It Simple Stupid, that’s KISS.”

My initial reaction was to take offense.  Was this guy telling me I looked stupid?! Then my limited mind took another turn and I laughed, a surprised relieved type of laugh.  I answered, “I needed to hear that, thanks for that.”  He smiled and winked.

That old guy on a walker helped me out more than I could have ever helped him or myself that day.  He reminded me that in simplicity we can find happiness and joy.  He reminded me that by keeping things simple I can actually enjoy the beauty of moments for what they truly are and not what I am trying for them to become.  Life is beautiful as it is.

It’s funny how my greatest life lessons always come from the most unexpected of places.

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The Kiss. Photo Credit: gabynarvaez

No Resolutions Here, Rather I’ll Start a Revolution

I was sitting in Mass on New Years Day, and I was as surprised as any to find myself there to be honest, I am not a dedicated Mass goer.  However, I woke up on the first day of 2016 and a little voice in the back of my head was whispering: “go to mass, there might be something there for you.” And so I got up, groggy as we had gone to bed at 2:30 AM after a full night of family gatherings, little children shenanigans and well everything that comes along with those two things, enough said.

I got dressed and hurried out of our hotel room, as we were on vacation in Florida.  The mass started and I was sleepy, so very sleepy and started to regret listening to that little voice, who the hell is that little voice anyway?  But I started to really focus on what the priest was saying to not think of my tiredness, and then I heard it, this young priest said exactly the nugget of wisdom that had called out to me that morning, and the whole reason why I had to be there: “let’s forget about resolutions, instead lets start revolutions.”

At that point I hadn’t even thought about what my new years resolutions would be if any, but it struck me right then and there, that I wanted to start a revolution, a personal one that is.  I wanted to listen and explore who that little voice was, I want to get to know that little voice.  I started to look back and think about all the times that I have listened, really listened, meaning I have actually done what that little voice says, and I can’t think of a single moment when I regretted following it’s instructions.  So, who then is that Little Voice? Where does it come from? How does it know?

I don’t know, but that my friends will be my personal revolution of 2016, I will get to know, and hell, maybe even become besties with the Little Voice.

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New Year’s Fireworks. photo credit: gabynarvaez