Life

A Dog, Some Cats and Christmas

Some time ago a stray cat made its way to my house.  As a matter of fact, I refuse to feed strays because that would make them linger, but my dear husband usually deaf to my instructions went on to feed her in our garage.

Which makes me a horrible person.

Not to my surprise the stray stayed on and to make matters even worse got herself pregnant.

By that same time, my sister-in-law asked me if I wanted a puppy she was giving away. Her puppy was a mixed breed of Pitbull and a big fat question mark (unknown daddy).

I was hesitant to adopt the puppy because of its genes, or so I told myself.  Pitbulls have a bad rap to them, so my thoughts went back and forth trying to figure out what to say, yet remaining nice enough to communicate my negative with a smile on my face.  I didn’t want to rearrange my routine because of a puppy.

The thing is my dear friends, that my youngest son was admitted for the master’s program he wanted and my sister-in-law was lucky enough to talk to me straight away we heard the great news, which lead to me saying YES to my new adopted puppy and naming him after the school where he was to begin studying in January.  My euphoria lead me to welcome Albizu as  the newest member of our home.

In the meantime my stray cat had her kittens and by that time her complete family of six were getting on my nerves.  They took over my garage and littered it in the process.  It was so bad that I refused to even go get my car and someone (namely my husband) would have to valet it for me on a daily basis.

So, he began his campaign to give away the kittens and made me a happy camper, but one was left and as my cousin came over to visit with her kids, an idea came creeping in my head as to having them take the unwanted kitten to a nearby sports facility where kids usually play basketball and people gather once in a while.  Her timing was perfect because my husband and my boys were away enjoying a movie at an afternoon matinee.

What could be wrong with that?

I followed through and the plan that was already drawn in my head was executed.

The last kitten was shipped to what would become her new home (which by the way was a total fantasy).  She was motherless and her siblings were far gone from where she would have to learn to survive.

As I fetched her, Albizu watched with lazy eyes from the comfort of his house without a care in the world.  From the day he came, he has been loved regardless of his genes because I let him into my heart.  Whereas those dreadful cats weren’t even given a chance because I basically refused to let them in.

Have you ever heard that,  no crime is perfect?  I’m not even kidding about the crime part, I did actually break the law about leaving animals to their own devices.  I’m not sure the statue of it because literally the cat wasn’t mine.

Well to my surprise, my plan backfired when one of my sons decided to go and play some ball with my cousin’s son (the same ones who helped me carry out my crime).  When he saw the kitten he flipped.

He came home mad as hell, and gave me a piece of his mind.  I felt the most horrible person on this planet and to make things worse I began thinking about the dreaded kitten to the point that I couldn’t sleep much last night and probably will try to fetch it back and try to find it a home.

The worst part is that I like to see myself as a compassionate person, and I’m not sure about that anymore.  I disappointed and caused him unnecessary grief, he’ll probably hold it against me until hell freezes over.

My compulsion to keep my things and life ordered, took me to the point where my compassion and tolerance to a kitten lead me to cut it out of my life without a second thought. It was something that was bothering me so I dealt with it.  However, I did it in a very wrong way.

As the Sun rises today and we celebrate Christmas Eve a time of giving and helping not only others, but nature’s creatures all around us the words he once told me resound bluntly in my head,

“Mom, men are dual beings, one same person can do great good and at the same time also be capable of great evil.”

So you see “mis queridos amigos”  he was describing me, myself and I.  What I did was horrible, but is already done. Like most things I’ll just have to deal with the remorse and learn a lesson along the way.  My own words haunt me today as I have to make myself believe in the good I have in myself and of what I can make of it in my world.

But hey, who said life or ourselves were perfect.  At the end, it’s all about our choices.

“Hasta la próxima.” and Merry Christmas.

 

 

Myasthenia Gravis

In the Eyes of Reality

It’s funny how you can detach yourself from reality.

June is MG’s Awareness Month where the most important thing is to educate people about the disease and how it affects people who suffer from it.

I thought I was doing my fair share of work by posting on my wall different banners that talked about the disease.

For a moment I felt appalled, after I took time to read the one I was posting to my brother’s wall.

what would you do

 

I’m not even sure my brother is fully aware of what me having Myasthenia really means.  However, this banner didn’t leave anything to the imagination.

For a moment I felt overwhelmed.

It described who I was and where I’ve been in the past six years.  When my son asked what I was doing, I told him that I was posting banners on Facebook to create awareness.  His answer pretty much summarized my feelings.

-Mom, take it easy with the posting, that’s going to make you sad.  I feel sad when I read it, and it’s not me.

He was checking his FB account on his phone, so he knew what I was up to.

The point is that sometimes and just sometimes any chronic disease can overwhelm you.  I don’t know how people who advocate so strongly for a cause don’t become the cause after a while.

Or is it that they can detach themselves at one point, to be able to cope with the situation.

I’m not sure if my one and only brother wants to deal with this now, but I felt compelled to just let him know through a banner how I felt.  I wasn’t tagging him on my banners only my husband and kids so they could put them up on their walls. But suddenly I felt an urge to tag him with the above banner.  After a couple of minutes he “liked” it.  Are you suppose to like something like that?

My post read, I am MG.

What do you like, that I have MG or was your “like” to say here I am? Either way, I replied and asked him to post it on his wall if he “liked” it.

A lot of people don’t know I suffer from MG, they don’t even know what’s wrong with me.  All they know is that I’ve been sick for more time that they can remember.  Some time ago, a friend told me you look so much better than what you have.

While I was posting my banners, I placed a couple of them in my daughter’s inbox.  It’s time for her to post one too, she may not be telling the world,

-You know what, I love a person with MG.

Basically because even though she’s accepted it a long time ago, it fills her heart with sorrow.  Just as it does with my boys.

So you see “mis queridos amigos” we have to face our realities one way or another because if we don’t we’re missing on the important part which is moving on and that is one of the things that life is all about.

MG-together-stronger

Parenting

Giving Away a Little Piece of Your Heart

When does motherhood or parenting really begin?

Probably you’ll find and read a million stories for each and one of us moms out there.

For me it began with a longing in the heart.

I became a mom for the first time when my beautiful baby girl was born.  Even though she became bald in just a week, she was the cutest darn thing I had ever laid eyes on. 

 During the years that followed I went through the ups and downs of motherhood. Preschool, Elementary, Middle and High School passed by in a blink of any eye. The day she graduated from a Math and Science Prep School at the age of sixteen seemed surreal because I could still close my eyes and see her with a red t-shirt, blue jeans, Cinderella sneakers and her lunchbox during her first day of Kinder.

 I will always remember how terrified I was of her getting admitted to college so young. It went to the extent that I enrolled in the school’s  master’s program to stay close in case she needed me. (Doesn’t that sound pathetic!)

 I was lucky enough to land  a  teaching assistant job, which let me work and study at the same time.  After I would finish teaching my classes, we would meet in the cafeteria and share a snack. Her freshman year at school wasn’t much different from her years at school.

 I would walk around with her, buy her ice cream and just do the regular things we always did. By the end of the year, my husband pointed out that it was time to let go.

 What!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let go, are you out of your mind?

I couldn’t do that, she was my baby. What if someone took advantage of her? These were the answers I aimed at him as if I was practicing in a shooting range.

 If you’re wondering what happened at the end and who prevailed. 

Well my husband did.  A crazy mom like me needs to be grounded by a normal dad.

My beautiful baby girl.
My beautiful baby girl.

 I did eventually let go, but not really. I always remained close enough for her to reach out if she needed me.

She moved out in her Senior year. After traveling Europe with a backpack, her boyfriend and her best friend during the Summer.

 Still she didn’t remain too far away from home, she called and stayed over each and every weekend and during her long summer trip she emailed each time she came across the opportunity and found decent free internet.

 Probably you’re still trying to figure out what makes this story so special about parenting! I thought that I would never get used to the idea of having her away from me.

 Becoming a mommy had changed my life forever, no longer would I be alone or tend to my own person. I became the anchor not for one, but for three more boys.

But, Stephy and me shared a special connection.

She not only knows me well enough, but also understands who I am and accepts and loves her  looney mom.

 After graduating from college she left for Arizona to serve as a volunteer in the Southside Presbyterian Church for a year.

Some time ago, she told me she was staying taking a job at The Florence Project (a non-profit that provides free legal assistance to immigrants) as a legal assistant.

You can’t come to understand what that meant for me, I felt I was falling off a cliff.

Finally, time had catched up on me and I knew that no longer could I hold on to her.

 It was time to let her go for real.

Not into the world because she had been doing that for a while. She has been traveling since she was nineteen. She had been to Canada, Kentucky, two times to New York City, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Spain, France, Holland and maybe I’ve missed someplace.

 Each and every time I took her to the airport I knew she would come back.

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Stephy and me the day I took her to the airport after she told me she was staying in Arizona.

This time around it was different! I just wanted to cling on her forever. A little piece of my heart had been chipped away. It’s living now in Arizona and tomorrow God knows where.

 Parenting isn’t about keeping your children close or pushing them out the door, it’s about letting them find their own way. Even if it means stepping out-of-the-way after doing our job.

 I knew it all along the way, but just couldn’t face that reality.

Even if I know that a hug can never be substituted by Skype, it can work. Not seeing her eyes during a conversation can be substituted by learning to identify the inflections of her voice to know if everything is fine.

Letting her talk, without giving her so many opinions also works for me nowadays.

Bottom line, I’m no longer at a safe distance, but many miles away, just trusting her and making her feel loved and cherished for what she’s become.

How can I not trust her? She’s what I raised her to be as she frequently points out to me. A strong, independent, well-rounded young woman facing the world as best as she can. Maybe with a few separation anxieties around there, but who can blame her if she had me as a mom!

Community

Life Is A Wheel: Sometimes You’re Up & Others You’re Down

Location, location, location!!!!  HOLD IT,  don’t think I’m talking real estate here, I’m talking about my vegetable garden.  

So here I am, choosing a spot for my future garden, not any spot, but a prime location spot.  I still wonder, how the heck did I end up in the back of our garage (basically because there it wouldn’t cause me trouble with my husband’s mowing).  Probably you’re wondering what happened to my intentions of  a prime lot.

Well moving on, I began digging, planting, watering and taking good care of my garden. 

As my gardening activity moved forward,  I began getting some regular visits from neighbors and family members, everyone seemed to want to watch my produce grow.  It went to the extent that many of them began planting their own vegetable gardens, and we held a harmless competition along the way. 

My tomatoes were the stars of my garden, or so I thought.

 

via morgueFile

The part that totally sucks is that after investing time and money into my tomato crop, mostly all of it went rotten.  My husband would tell me each time we purchased products for my tomato garden that it would be just plain cheaper to buy some in the market.  

What a tomato Scrooge!!!!! 

At the end, he was right,  I only got to eat ONE cherry tomato.  Which I picked right from the plant and gobbled it away, it has been the most expensive tomato I have ever eaten. 

We never had the opportunity to settle our garden contest because rain began pouring in huge amounts and almost everyone’s crop received significant damage. But, we had a great time in the meanwhile.  

Family relations are a bit like my tomatoes.  Sometimes we put time and effort in building relationships with our family members and we end up with nothing to show for it.  It’s like everybody is to busy with their own lives, to even share a cup of coffee.  In all families (small or big)  there are good and bad things.  The bad things that happen in some of them are not done or said on purpose.  Or at least that’s what I would want to think.  

In Puerto Rico extended family is part of our ethnic background or at least that was the way things were as my parents and my in-laws grew up.  Back in the day, your extended family was part of a community that tried to endure the hard hit of both World Wars, which brought very harsh economic times.  People would help one another to build houses, roads and what ever was needed.   Everyone would lend a helping hand when the other needed it. 

That generation did it’s best to pass those lessons on to their offspring.

A great example that  illustrates this point fantastically  would be the time  when my husband’s uncle mortgaged his debt-free home,  so my father in law could buy a diner when he lost his job.  My in-laws worked their butt off so they could pay the debt as soon as possible and let my husband’s uncle off the hook.  

They didn’t go to a lawyer’s office to sign a promissory note or anything like that.  He just trusted my father in law, they were family.  I really don’t know if I would mortgage my own home (which is debt free) to help my one and only brother or my brother or sister-in-law.  Tough call if you ask me. 

Now, why have our family ties gone from great to rotten tomatoes, I really don’t know.  Maybe family values are no longer what they used to be, or that we as individuals really don’t put the effort in building strong and reliable relationships because we think that we’re not going to need anyone or anything.  

We have to careful because you never know in our changing economy if we’ll go back to the soup lines.

My mom always wanted to make sure I understood how family ties worked and  would point out every time she could, “Remember, they’re family.” Referring to any and everybody that was related to any of my grandparents, and believe me the number was HUGE. 

via morgueFile

My grandfather would say that building communities was about helping each other out, that life was like a wheel, sometimes you were up, and sometimes you were down.  In other words, the wheel of life is dynamic and changing, not only for you,  but for others as well. 

Even if it sounds silly, when we came together in our garden “fiesta”, we felt united.  We had the opportunity to talk, laugh and help each other, and that’s how I think strong communities are built and relationships are restored, and that’s something we need to go back to.  

Remember, “‘Esa es familia, mija.”  (Remember those are family), and family is the foundation we want to build strong and durable relationships around.  Communities that can become a legacy for generations to come.