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Happy Best Friends Day

Thank God for True Friends:

Dicen por hay que it’s “Best Friends” Day today. Well I definitely have a shout out for my BFFs today and hopefully often 😀

Having been made in the “image of God” I tend to desire and enjoy beautiful honest friendship. I started this post by “researching” on google what the “qualifications” of a friend are, que verguenza! After almost 38 years of relationship with the creator of friendship, my dear dear friend Jesus, who loves me unconditionally and forgives my indiscretions, gently pointed me to the original “friend manual” 

Friendship tips: 

*Be friendly🥰 (Prov 18:24)

*Practice all those disciplines that the flesh runs from: give love, ten pacencia, show kindness, rejoice always, don’t boast, don’t gloat, resist envy, se generosa with compliments :), give a helping hand, let your heart care for another, protect the reputation of others. You’ll find these instructions in the famous Love chapter of the bible in the New Testament (1Corinthians 13: 4-7)

*Appreciate and enjoy the time God gives you with your friend (Eph. 5:16)

My Own Observation on Friends:

Gracias a Dios. I have a wide range of friends.

Some are peers. Some are family and some used to be strangers from a different world. Some are young and Some are older 😏. Some are rough and tough! The mean mugging type, but beneath it is a loyal friend. 

I love the gift of friendships God has given me, it has made a huge difference as I walk this journey called life.

“Dear George: Remember no man is a failure who has friends.”— It’s a Wonderful Life https://everydaypower.com/friendship-quotes/

A Time To Mourn

It turns out it’s true that mourning is a winding path and not a straight line. We experienced a busy April and May, up and down and all around! Then things quieted down, ya saben, a calm before the storm of wedding planning pelts us. A quiet house is rare for the Greene home, but we’ve had a couple of days of it, bien nice! Pero, every time I slow down, even just a little bit, I start looking back, wrapping up all the events in sweet memories, but somewhere along that wrapping I feel the absence of my loved ones. I get emotional and the void in my life accuses me. If Patty were here, she’d approve of Emery’s choice. My apa wouldn’t be able to make the long trip for the wedding. Y mi ama? What would she say about my hijos? Lupe, my big sister, she’d scare Emery’s girl with her piercing Zepeda gaze. 

It all started on Memorial Day when I counted my amas, 33rd year gone to her rest. Then, that night I read a blog about caregiving, y ahora I was looking for a picture and I got caught up rereading a string of family emails about my apas care.  Tengan paciencia,  I need to go through this process, my therapy, I went back to a time when my apa was a young man of 90.

Following In His Grandfather’s Steps

(This was when my apa was still able to live in his own home with caregivers)

It was my turn to take Dad to the doctor for his neurology visit. I drove into town early and thought that I would pull him out of his adult care program early and go have a treat. I had to wait until his full four hours were complete, the program was not going to bend the rules for Don Manuel! Maybe their funding was on the line?  No choice but to wait. When my apa saw me, he knew the day was over. The ‘junta’ was over and his work was done, ‘la mesa directiva’ had made no decisions in that meeting. Many times he was frustrated with that “board of directors” for wasting his time in these meetings. You see, every weekday when my apa was picked up for his adult care program, he believed that he was going to work. A day full of meetings, like when he was a young man in 1970 working for a program called Campesinos Unidos. Asi es, for a short time my apa didn’t work out in the fields.

He was ready to leave, but we had to wait, so we made small talk. I had to keep redirecting him. He asked about my family, and his usual focus was, “Y tu hija? Valentina, ¿Ya se caso?” For some time dad had been calling my daughter Daniella, Valentina. She must have looked like a Valentina to him, so I quit correcting him. Back to Daniella’s marital status. “Si Apa ya va a cumplir 3 años de casada.”  “Como? Cuando?” He was as always very shocked to hear the news that she had already been married for a short while. I asked about his day and the response was usually, “The director stood up there and talked and talked, but I didn’t know what he was getting at” Then,  “Y tu hija, como esta? Ya se caso?” This time, although he was shocked at my answer,  he remembered, and reminded me very apologetically that he wasn’t remembering things very well anymore.  That’s when he asked again why he was going to the doctor. I explained his dementia issue. He was diagnosed with short term memory loss, the new memories were lost immediately. However, my sister and I suspected that his memory loss was very selective. I explained that his struggle with memory loss  might be helped with medication.  Suddenly he remembered his grand- father who lived to be 101 and also suffered from dementia.  

Don Manuel waiting to see the neurologist

Young Manuel with His Abuelo

His grand-father was old and frail, housebound, confused about his past and present. He lived in the past. One day as his abuelo looked out the window he saw the sky heavy with rain clouds. Manuel knew that it was a beautiful clear day, blue skies and sunshine. He listened as his grand-father worried out loud about the dark heavy rain clouds.  He turned to him and said “those clouds are heavy with rain, it looks like an ugly storm coming in.”  Manuel knew his grand-father was confused and said nothing, it happened often. Gone was his strong grandfather who had sat erect on his horse and gave orders. 

My Apa

Then Dad paused and looked at me, “It looks like I might be taking after him.” I said, “Quizas, since you’ve only got 11 years before you’re 101!” Again, shock registered in his voice, “Que tan Viejo estoy?! He didn’t remember that he was 90, he was sticking to 80. Interestingly enough, it was that year that he officially entered the ‘needing care and supervision” stage of his life.  All I could do was ask God to hold back that dementia as much as possible.   As I situated him into the car to go to the doctor, he casually asked “Y tu hija, Valentina? Como esta?”

Daniella aka Valentina 🥰

At The Appointment:

Sitting at the doctor’s office was a sad unveiling. It was crowded. Chairs too close to each other, before covid of course, when all the world stood paralyzed. Men, women, young and old people all with some kind of nerve damage or muscle injuries, looking pained, angry and entirely restless. Hijole! I cringed at what I saw, heard and imagined. Most of them were there just for refills, they needed the temporary relief from the pain. Dad wasn’t in pain, why was I there anyway? And as if dad heard my thoughts he asked “Porque estamos aqui?” 

The appointment was to see the much demanded neurologist in Imperial Valley, in which I hoped the evaluation would determine a solution, a goal… something. After an hour of waiting, dad was called.  We walked slowly to an examining room, when we sat down, my apa was suddenly clear minded and present. As we waited for the doctor to enter, he asked if he was sick? He wanted to know why we were with “this” type of doctor. He looked at me knowingly, “estoy loco.” That’s when the nurse practitioner stepped in, the doctor wasn’t available. He  greeted us, shaking dad’s hand, and both men stared at each other. 

Nurse: ¿Cómo está señor Zepeda?

Apa: Bien, con un poco de dolor en la nuca.

 He was always fine except for the pain in the back of the neck which was his usual complaint. The nurse looked at the back of his neck, determined that it was probably arthritis.

Nurse: What is your name and birthdate? 

I guess if he knew those answers he must be fine verdad? Really, a long term memory, ingrained into him after 90 years.

 Apa: Manuel Zepeda Solano, 12-15-24. 

He stared at the doctor, dismissing him with his eyes. The nurse looked at me.

Nurse: Ok, I’ll  write his prescription for a refill, doesn’t seem like there’s any changes.  Que?! Por supuesto que things were changing! Why were we there? Was the medication helping? How could we help him? And us. When we got in the car dad pulled out the $5 that was always in his wallet and said “Vamos a una nieve.” So we went for an ice cream and I enjoyed hearing more about my strong bis abuelo, Solano.

En Conclusion:

Hijole! I do miss my sisters and my parents, I don’t know when I’ll see them again. It is my prayer and hope for that reunion. Pero mientras, it helps to pull out the memories and enjoy la familia I have here on earth. 

Remembering Mi Ama

For many people Memorial Day is just a holiday that allows them a day off work. Some will sleep in on that Monday, others will picnic and gather with family, and some will remember their fallen war heroes with family nearby. Graves will be decorated with posies and tears of remembrance will be shed, the “what could have been” pricking at the heart.

Originally, Decoration Day was the day that commemorated the fallen heroes from the Civil War, incredible losses to maintain true freedom. Overtime, as our nation has had to continually fight to keep its dominion, Freedom has been established at a great cost. The wars and the men and women who have sacrificed their lives are too incredible to count. Our commemoration day has been renamed and acknowledged across the Land Of The Free as Memorial Day. Que Dios nos siga bendiciendo! Y de todo corazon I send out my appreciation this Memorial Day weekend to our fallen heroes.

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” – Winston Churchill

For me, Memorial Day is very personal also. My mother went home to Jesus on Memorial Day 33 years ago. y ahora si! She truly does rest in God’s peace. She wasn’t a soldier, she was ‘just’ my ama. She sacrificed her life to form mine and my siblings and a few grandchildren at the time.

Mexican-American Girl

Today marks 32 years that me and my siblings have walked this earth without our ama. Que dramatica! Everytime a memorial day comes out of the closet I think I must be sad and well, and I am. That’s when I have to choose not to be a chillona and I must make a conscious choice to turn my sadness into something better. I’m gonna text my sis in a while and remember with her our ama.

Mothering Techniques

I miss her, she is a feisty latina woman! She had to be, with 4 strapping boys that had plans of their own and 4 feisty latina daughters! If her command and tone didn’t get the job done, she pulled out her secret weapon: “Vas a ver! Cuando venga tu Padre” Yikes! We never wanted my apa to get involved. Just writing this makes me sit up straight.

In…

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Las Aventuras de Angel: Lessons From a New Culture and a New Language

Learning a second language is such a valuable skill y el español is a beautiful language. When I was a young mom, I knew I had to teach my children Spanish, it was important to me. But it was hard, because I think in English and I didn’t get much opportunity for daily Spanglish with my English speaking husband. By the time my first born was school age I had decided that the only way to teach him Spanish was to immerse him in the language, So I sent him to a Spanish immersion public school. By the end of his kinder year he was understanding Spanish and speaking it, although not fluently. I remember going to visit my apa and my little guerito was understanding his tata, I loved it! Mission accomplished…sort of, I mean he can go into Mexico and get by. Pues, language immersion was quite a different and difficult experience for my oldest brother Angel. 

Our apa took an opportunity given to him to immigrate his family and the Zepedas were immersed into the land of opportunity, los Estados Unidos. Coming from the border city of Mexicali, the language was familiar but now they would have to learn it. The culture in California was a mixture of “American” ways, the great American melting pot, un poquito de todo. The people, white, black and of various shades of brown weren’t always very accepting. Ya te imaginas, they were difficult transitions indeed!

My ama faced her culture shocks alone while the kids were at school all day, themselves facing their education in an unknown language, pero, it was what had to be done. Angel was thirteen, and that alone could be explosive. Picture those middle school challenges of your day but add a language barrier and culture shock. He faced them as well as a 13 year old could. He had always “handled his affairs” and helped Ama as much as possible, he didn’t want to burden our parents with his troubles. He faced and managed his new “language and cultural” immersion at school with hard work and pride.

 Angel was resourceful and pulled from the wealth of knowledge learned at home, at his previous school and in the streets of his colonia in Mexicali. 

His classroom beginnings were rough. Despite his age, he was placed in the younger kids classroom, chiquillos! When he was sharing this story I could hear the mortification in his tone as he said, “They put me in the younger class just because I didn’t know english yet.” He hadn’t been assessed, it had been the quick solution to new arrival immigrant kids from across the border. During math class one day, a very simple math test demonstrated his acquired knowledge but instead of using this to place Angel in a more appropriate classroom, the teacher assumed he had cheated. He separated him from the other students and made him retest. Angel, in his colorful descriptive language said, “It was a blankity blank, easy 6th grade test!” What the teacher considered hard math didn’t phase Angel as long as they weren’t word problems, those he couldn’t read yet. Angel dealt with this hurdle and proved himself beyond proficient in his math skills, but the bigger hurdle was the teacher’s mindsets. Angel’s perseverance didn’t put him in good graces with the teacher. By the ripe old age of 13, he had seen and experienced that sometimes teachers fall prey to favoritism which can skew a person’s vision.

Outside of the classroom the bullies came after him, the new kid. Thankfully, facing the ‘gangas’ in the streets had toughened his hide and prepared him for the new school. On the school bus he had to stand his ground, he didn’t understand the possible insults hurled at him, but he definitely understood the aggressive attempts to intimidate him and he wasn’t going to allow it. One day, just as he got off the bus, he was confronted simply because he wasn’t giving up his seat. It had come time to fight. He defended himself against the boys that came after him to the point that he cut one of them and drew blood. It was a fight for survival and Angel had prevailed only to face the principal who immediately assumed that he was the instigator. I wonder if he knew that it was a few boys against one?  In those days,  “corporate punishment” was allowed and the principal was ready to administer it, but Angel wasn’t going to allow this unfair treatment. My apa was summoned. He was called out from work, something he couldn’t afford, pero, his son was more important. He made it very clear to the principal that if corporal punishment was needed, he would take care of it. Our father believed that there are times when correction is needed as children are being trained up, but he also felt a need to advocate for his son and protect him.

Eventually he did learn the language. He loved reading comic strips. In Mexicali he had sold the popular Mexican magazines and here in America he discovered Archie and the gang. All their school age dramas proved educational for him. He turned the pages, at first just enjoying the images, then with time he was reading the story line.  

Along his “school days” journey he had picked up some things that he tucked into a pocket of his heart:

He knew he could count on our Apa for provision and protection y su amor.

He also reinforced his conviction that bullies must be dealt with, not avoided.

Finally, he discovered that in life you will meet all kinds of people, in all shades and sizes. Some good and some bad. There will be those that are foolishly fearful and ignorant, unwilling to recognize the potential of different people. He would not be one of those people. As an adult his truck driving experiences gave him an appreciation for diversity of people and cultures.

En Conclusion

Ya se que, these kinds of stories aren’t new, in Southern California, they’re even common experiences. Listening to my brother’s stories made me proud of him and la familia Zepeda. Hijole! I want more and more of our history in coming to America, and more of our stories of our contribution in civil rights. Living our part of the American dream has come with some cost. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned from my big brother Angel and that he paved the way for our siblings and for me. 

The Mother-Daughter In-Law Dance

I’m a mother in-law “in waiting”. And as much as I don’t want it to be an anxious feeling, it is. Mi hijo, found the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. Heavy sigh, cómo van a cambiar las cosas. Change is good Rosie. Sabes? They’re a good looking couple. She captured his heart and they are now an engaged couple

.…Y ahora que? Well, I’ve got my ticket to board that wedding planning roller coaster ride, suddenly, time is upon us. When they give the green light for all of us to jump in and help plan, we will. Apurate hijo! Ben said, “Wow! It’s been 10 years since our last weddings” Hijole

When You Know That You Know

Once a couple” knows,” you would think that everyone would just smoothly adjust to their sweet love and choices. Usually a couple gets giddy with fairy tales happily ever after dreams and they walk into their “revelation” expecting everyone to come for the ride. Pero pues, it’s a mixture of emotions for anyone securely connected. Emotions need to be worked out and checked as the couple prepares for their destiny.

While I’m waiting for my wedding planning assignements, come with me as I walk through some days of my early engagement days, before the wedding planning: 

Comprometida! 

Ben and I got engaged and went to share the wonderful news with my parents. No wedding plans in mind, just the realization that we would always be one. “Hijole!” My apa said to my gringo fiancee, as he put our arms next to each other “ Do you see what color she is?” I had already crossed that hurdle. It was a pretty hard hurdle to jump, es que, I was nervous. I was scared to death about marrying outside of mi gente, but after 2 years of praying and my Benjamin waiting somewhat patiently, I knew that I knew that God was for a Greene/Zepeda union so I said yes, yes, yes to his proposal. My apa’s question made me nervous but Ben, the man of few words, said “Yes, I do and I like it.” My apa watched us through the years and saw the steady man his son in-law was and he was relieved that our skin color truly didn’t matter to either of us. 

In that same visit, I look back and thank God for mi ama, who didn’t ask what the plan was, who didn’t fret just then about my wedding day. Primero, she needed to see how this young man would handle a strong Latina woman. She did as was her custom, and invited him to the table for a meal and when Ben sat down to eat she served him. He enjoyed his food, and she watched as she heated las tortillas. Maybe he was alright, at least he knew not to reject her. She offered seconds, and my flaco hungrily said yes! And that was enough, my ama liked my gringo.

For most of our engagement I was alone. Esperate! Ben didn’t ask me to marry him and ignore me. Es que, he was also committed to the U.S. Navy, so my sailor went out to sea. As a newly engaged girl I was a mess! Lonely for my Benjamin and not sure what direction to go as far as getting ready for my wedding day. My maid of honor set me straight when she could no longer watch me go in circles. Thank God for maid of honors, they are your confidants, your helpers, your doers in that busy season.

Ben had already told his mother about his Mexican-American girlfriend, so very soon after we were engaged and I was sad about Ben being away, I received a letter from my future suegra. My husband takes after her, he displays little, muy poquita emoción!  Her letter calmly welcomed me into her family and she said she looked forward to meeting me! Hijole! How do you respond to that? All kinds of questions came up in my head. What would she think? Did she know, like really know that I was brown? Ben had asked me if I would write a letter to her and he also asked if I would send a picture of myself! But I hadn’t, I just couldn’t, then I got her letter. Now I had to respond. I needed to rush and get a picture taken. In those days, we had to go to the photo studio, so Colleen, my bestie, my maid of honor suggested that I wear a nice bright shirt, a pink one! She assured me that it complimented my nice coloring. Que?! Sheesh, I had it all wrong then.

I got through the very difficult first letter just in time to start my wedding planning and started a nice letter writing friendship with my suegra to be. 

En Conclusion:
As I’m remembering these days of my engagement, I think of Emerys sweet girl and pray that God will help me to be a blessing to her now, before the wedding day. Y que Dios me los bendiga as they plan, on that day and all the days of their marriage journey.

My Mothers Shoes (a poem)

Big Sister, Little momma

A shout out to all the big sisters who have to at times step into their mothers shoes. If you’ve got one of those big sisters do not neglect to thank her for stepping in to help your mother. I’m a little sister, y Gracias a Dios that I had 3 big sisters who had my back, my big sis Marina, embraced her role and kept a good eye on me when my ama had her hands full, with 8 kids to raise, imaginate they were always bien llenas! Thanks big sis!  A few years ago I wrote this simple poem in honor of my big sis Marina. Now that I’ve revisited it, I realize that it was pretty cheesy and not quite descriptive of our home life. Pero, the message remains, when your big sister puts on her mommas shoes, se agradecida

 My Mother’s Shoes

Three boys & three girls was a nice even number, 

a quiver and more!

From sun up to sun down she worked, 

raising 6 kids was no easy chore!

The work never stopped 

as the needs piled on top.

Stacks of dishes and laundry miles high, 

with a heavy sigh she washed & she dried

With a pair of preteens, and another of teens

She learned to spy, behind her head she had extra eyes

Sweeping and mopping? Impossible! 

Her two toddler girls needed to play.

She asked God for strength and help 

as he granted another day.

At night, with weary exhaustion 

Mom took off her shoes 

Morning came all too soon 

with mouths to feed and no time to lose

 She had no quiet place

Still she took a moment to rest, 

but then came another test.

Her eyelids were heavy, 

she yearned for some sleep. 

Her lids closed for a moment 

but she caught her breath

She felt the stirring within.

She new what this meant, 

she was expecting again, 

And when the new baby came, 

she felt the stirring again!

Now her brood was complete; 

God gave her eight children to raise.

At night, more weary than ever, 

She would take off her shoes

She’d whisper a prayer for patience

And the strength God renews

She was created to nurture, 

to give all that she had,

But she needed a helper 

who could nurture 

like her

When my mothers hands were too full 

and I cried with my need

My Big Sister came, she was ready to give 

and ready to watch over me

She wasn’t my mom!

I wanted my mom!  

Big Sister shushed me

It was then that I knew 

she was wearing my mommas’ shoes!

Fast forward to my own mothering experience, I only had 4 kids and they kept me busy, I can’t imagine my amas experience. Pero, gracias a Dios for Emery and Thomas’ big sister!  My daughter Daniella stepped into my shoes so easily, at least she made it seem smooth.  A little confession right here is appropriate. Bien Concha, enjoying my motherhood, boasting that my last two babies were so easy at night, they slept through the night! Pero un dia, Daniella set the record straight, hijole! When the baby woke up and I didn’t, she would pat him back to sleep while I kept sleeping. Que verguenza, what a blow to my mothering ego!

There’s much more mothering practice that she experienced through her little brothers, but confessing this was too much for me already! Today, Daniella is an amazing mother: She uses all the talent God gave her and sometimes that strong latina woman comes out in her and she manages very well. 

Sunday is mothers day, bless your ama and if you have a big sis, thank her for every time she stepped into your mothers shoes.

It’s Almost Cinco De Mayo

Most people love to see the underdog who is against all odds come out on top in his impossible circumstance. Let’s revisit this historic event as we celebrate another Cinco de Mayo!

Mexican-American Girl

A Cause to Celebrate

In general los Mexicanos, y los Mexican Americans are always down for a good fiesta. We can lay out a beautiful scene and cook a delicious spread! Verdad? Con mi familia, we usually celebrated the main events like weddings, quinces, baptismals and Navidad and yes Accion de Gracias, can’t leave out Thanksgiving! After that, other federal or famous days went unnoticed with my familia, my apa worked Monday- Saturday and sometimes on Sunday, all that to say that Cinco de Mayo did not stir up a fiesta around our house. Que si es un poco extraño, strange, because my apa loved to talk about the Mexican history, especially the Revolucion. You know, the Cinco de Mayo story is a great one and I think it should be a national holiday in Mexico, pero no lo es!

A Gringo Celebration?

Do you…

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A Wife For Emery

Hijole! My son is engaged. He turns 25 and mira lo que pasa.

The Engagement time can be intense. I think my family, as in my kids, are  looking at me and wondering how I’m doing? Pero mira, I’ve been there and done that, this time it’ll be easy peasy.

I mean, it’s not like I’m losing my son verdad? Just keep reminding yourself of that Rosalba and you’ll stay on the Gods straight and narrow. 

My first two engagement seasons were rough. Heck! Just having my kids enter adulthood at 18 rocked my world. My first born moved out at 19 and I cried…and I cried for several weeks. Daniella had to remind me that I had 3 more kids to raise, que verguenza, sorri Daniella y gracias, you were very brave and patient with your strong latina mother. Mi hija wasn’t 18 and she was being noticed as  good marriage stock! What fear entered my world during those days. Ten years as a mother-inlaw has matured me 😀 I hope, well, I’m praying for sure.

Before Mo

Almost from the time that Emery put on the adult hoodie he changed and rearranged things, without asking my permission! Atrevido! Suddenly he was Ben, que? That name; Benjamin Emery Greene was supposed to be used silently, like in signatures and applications, I thought he knew that. Then he moved out to semi independence. He went to live with his newly wed primo! Thankfully it was a wonderful experience and it strengthened the chords of friendship for all three of them.  

He enjoyed his singleness and maximized as much as he could afford to do all that his heart desired, within the boundaries of his born-again boundaries. But the desire for marriage stirred always in his heart.

2020 

After our January bible conference in 2020 mi hijo called me, he had a specific prayer request, and that was “Ma pray with me to find a wife” Obviously it wasn’t just any girl, it was one that was equally yoked and then his list of “desires in a woman” I guess some people were telling him he was being too picky. Huh? Is it possible to be too picky in choosing or finding a lifelong partner? Is it foolish to search but wait on God? And when you think you’ve found the one for you, is it silly to expect the change of heart rate just by their presence? 

So we brought our very specific petition to God, not just him and I, but the family agreed with him. While he prayed he sought with eyes wide open and God answered our prayer.

En conclusion:

God has given me so much pleasure and increase as a mother of these Greene kids. With all my heart I congratulate my Emery and welcome his Mo into our lives and hearts. Que Dios los bendiga And may His will continue first in your lives. 

Thank you to Monique Prado @embracethedetour for these beautiful photos.

My Middle Child

According to the Birth Order character trait mold, my middle child should have been one that avoided conflict, looked for the road that was smooth and avoided conflict. Hijole! My middle child broke that mold! This is my birthday shout out to my hijo!, his birthday is coming up next week, his golden birthday.

He was for five years el “baby” enjoying his papis shoulder. Everywhere we went he was seen carried by his daddy. It was a cozy time for him,  but one day, all of a sudden, he was squished into the middle position, his daddy was carrying his little brother. He would have to fight for his turn on daddy’s shoulder now. Today, I’ll brag about my middle child. He is a sweet little brother and a great big brother. He is a grateful son who honors his parents by his godly choices. 

How can I describe my son to you? I want to paint the beautiful picture of what I see, what God sees. Pero, he’s the watercolor painter, not me. 

One of the ways I love to commemorate the gift of my children on is by remembering the day they were born. Unforgettable experiences for sure. Pero, pa que me hago! I love talking about my inheritance any chance I get. Fíjense, these are just a glimpse of my roller coaster ride with this child of mine:

Emery is a tardy kid, he manages to make people wait. On the day that he was born, I pushed for two hours before he realized it was time to make his grand entry. It was more like he was prodded out. 

Emery was a quiet child, until he was not. Some of our friends wondered if he could talk, they don’t anymore. He said what needed to be said for his “rights” to be considered. His little voice would chime in with, “I don’t agree” when plans were being made. His two older siblings say that he got away with way too many things.

Emery was my one child that went to preschool, because the doctor prescribed it. His pediatrician was worried that he was much too clingy to me. He warned me that kindergarten would be a nightmare for him if I didn’t get him started in preschool. Perhaps we were both clingy because when I dropped him off, we both cried. 

Emery clung to the ‘baby’ title as long as he could. Even after Thomas, the baby, was born, he still had the ‘power’ to influence me before the verdict was pronounced, “caso cerrado!” When the case was closed and I said no, he found a loophole. When the verdict had gone in his favor, he asked for more! 

Emery makes a friend easily. Una vez, when he was a young teen, I had to intervene with a friendship and bring a healthy separation, hijole! You would think that I had condemned him to a life of banishment! He used all his “debating skills” Ya se! A real Mexicana would have squelched that right down, con la mirada! You know that look that warns you to stop while you’re ahead. Pero, Emery Greene, he’s something else. That day, he cried at the injustice of my mothering, and in secret I cried too. Pero mira, it all worked nicely, he established good healthy friendship boundaries.

Emery is confident in our love for him. He loves us, he trusts us and appreciates us. I wanted to say “Emery loves me” but it felt a little narcissistic. Es que, somehow, through the years this pushy middle child of mine has not been repelled by this strong Latina woman and he’s pulled me, su madre,  into his circle of most confidant friends.

En conclusión: 

I said to myself, I hope que todo el mundo sees, just how blessed I am! when I put on that “madre culeca” robe and tell you about my blessings, it’s because the Bible says “let the redeemed of the Lord say so!” 

Feliz cumpleaños a mi little flaco: Benjamin Emery Greene. Like my cuñada Mary says “Que te valla bien y Que Dios te bendiga y te cuide” May It go well with you, May God bless and keep you.

Almuerzo con mi Apa

Once again I’ve been stirred by my niece, Cassi Maria to write about mi apa, her Tata. Claro que si!  She didn’t have to twist my arm, it’s always a comfort to me to share these memories. Reader, do you know the cancion que dice “Rosa Maria se fue a la playa”?  When Cassandra was a wee little girl I loved singing that to her, por su puesto que I changed it to Cassi Maria, she recently told me that she believed it was my own created melody, confession is good for the soul. 

Tata and Cassi

When Cassi visited her Tata and me, she always loved to watch me prepare breakfast for him.  She said that he got ‘special treatment’. Pero, I will clarify that at the time I didn’t believe it to be special, it was simply the way he liked to eat. He loved a nice hearty breakfast, which almost always included frijolitos bien fritos and tortillas. Sometimes I added meat, otras veces just blanquillos. The eggs would either be scrambled or fried, this did not impress Cassi. Pero, when I made a torta de huevo with all the fixings her eyes would light up as she appreciated my handiwork and she was happy for her grandpa.

I would scramble a couple of eggs and pour them over a hot skillet with oil. Luego, I’d cut up the egg patty, give it a quick and gentle stir fry with slices of onion and simmer it in a roasted tomato and dry chile sauce that mi ama taught me to make. Sometimes, if Cassi came in just as I was simmering la torta de huevo,  she’d inhale the spices from the sauce; el comino, the garlic and pepper and the chiles all made her hungry for Tata’s breakfast. 

As I’m writing this, I’m picturing my apa at the table, hands laced together, patiently waiting for his almuerzo. First his orange juice with Metamucil mixed in and his pastillas. He would always count them, and say, “Tantas pastillas?” In reality, he actually took minimal medication, compared to most 90 year old people. But still, he eyed me suspiciously. While I filled his plate with the beans and eggs and served his coffee, Cassi chatted with him and watched me, then chatted with me and turned to him.  My apa was always one to appreciate a pretty face, and his eyes always lit up when he saw Cassi, almost always saying to her “que guapa” and Cassi would blush and smile. At that stage in his life, dementia did confuse him. The conversations circled in the same questions. He wondered about Cassi’s connection to him, then he’d be surprised that “Chicha” (my youngest brother) was her dad. This might be a good place to explain that cultural habit we Mexicans have of using quirky nicknames. We create funny names and stick to them, maybe it’s just my family? Here’s one version of that conversation:

Cassi: Hola Tata como estas? (Hug and kiss)

Tata: Buenos dias! Que guapa! (my apas eyes always had a teasing twinkle in them) 

Cassi: Gracias Tata, si te acuerdas de mi? (remember this generation doesn’t know much about the proper use of “usted” so in Spanglish fashion she wanted to make sure he knew who she was.)

Tata: Parece que tu eres la Senora del Chicha? 

Cassi: No Tata! Yo soy la hija del Chicha (doing everything to restrain her indignation at being called her dads wife and not daughter ☺)

Tata: Su hija! A pose deveras que ando mal! (embarrassed that he made such a blunder, he’d blame his memory loss)

Cassi: It’s okay Tata (and Cassi would quickly forgive him)

When breakfast was served, my apa always waited til we were all seated so he could pray. I can still hear his wonderful prayer resounding in my ear like a sweet melody:

Gracias te damos Señor por estos alimentos que no nos hacen falta…”

En Conclusion:

Hijole! Now I see how right Cassi was, those breakfast days with my apa were muy especial

This Easter weekend, I am reminded of the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, for without his sacrifice and gift of salvation I wouldn’t be able to see him again. 

Have a beautiful Easter y que Dios los Bendiga!