Archive | Family Stories RSS feed for this section

Becoming a Young Lady: How I Handled My Daughter’s Transformation

5 Jul

It’s been several years since my last post.  Various events in my life have led me to have little to virtually no time for myself, all of which I could have blogged about and they would have been great stories, however, I’ve tried dedicating what little time I do have to my children.  With that being said, my comeback post relates to my now 11 year old daughter and the dreaded step closer to becoming a woman.girls-on-their-period_o_2073325

Yes, you read correctly, how can I say it more clearly without causing alarm, MY 11 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER got her period.  I never thought the day would come and yet, like a freak hurricane, IT arrived in full force.  She freaked out, I freaked out and more than anything, my son freaked out. My 8 year old daughter thought it was cute and adorable, I found that a bit disturbing.  She obviously has no idea what monster she’s got coming to her.  Nonetheless, after running around like a crazy lady and “confirming” several times that she had actually started her period, we got dressed and prepared to make our trek to the store to “shop” for her items.  Upon arriving at our local supermarket we made our way to the “feminine products” aisle where I was faced with a plethora of choices for her.  I was lost.  I had no idea what to choose for her.    I know you’re asking yourselves how this is possible since I’m a woman too.  Well, I’m 34 and for the last 20 odd years or so, I have been going to the exact same spot at the supermarket picking out the exact same feminine product, not once paying any mind to the endless other choices.

Anyways, while standing in the aisle scoping out our options, my daughter begins to have a breakdown.  Tears start streaming down her face and she is absolutely mortified at the thought of having to pick out something that is absolutely normal.  Meanwhile, my 8 year old screams out at the top of her lungs, “Mom is that going to happen to me too!”  My poor 11 year old had the most upsetting look on her face.   Of course, I’m not helping the situation by giggling at each option I look at and trying to explain the different pros and cons of each product.  Finally, my sympathy for her kicks in and I help her choose one pack that looks like it is geared towards “preteens”.  My daughter, rightly so, makes me carry the box to the register and she stands as far away from me as possible, as if I’m holding something that presents imminent danger to her life.  So I pay and we walk out of the store and head on home.  In my head, I’m trying to go over HOW I’m going to show her how to use these things, these “feminine pads” and I’m dreading every bit of it.  We arrive at home and my daughter rushes to the restroom, me following behind.  I begin the exhausting process of explaining exactly how this product is to be used and the normality of it all.  I have “the” talk with my daughter about the importance of crossing the little girl to young lady threshold and I stress the importance of being careful in any situation she may be presented with.  I have to remind myself several times that, regardless of her age, her young mindset, HER body has began to transform itself to that of a young lady.

I can’t help but shed a few tears, my little girl is growing up, and dammit I think I handled it pretty damn well.

Advertisements

Nostalgia

22 Jun

la bamba

I am sitting in my cozy living room on a beautiful Saturday morning, my front door is open allowing the gorgeous sun-kissed rays shine through my screen door, my front lawn is getting watered by a spinning sprinkler, all the while I am watching the movie La Bamba, the story of aspiring star Ritchie Valens and his untimely death in a horrific plane crash.  This movie signifies so many things for me, some sad, some happy, but they all have one thing in common, nostalgia.  Watching this movie does something to me in a sense that it triggers feelings I have deep in my beating heart, memories that I have kept hidden within my soul, away from outsiders.

When I was about 10 years old my grandmother owned a big, beautiful home in Reynosa, a city located on the border of Mexico and Texas along the Rio Grande River.  I remember sitting in her living room watching this movie on her huge box tv set.  There was no flat screen, no HD tv, no DVR.  This movie was watched using a VCR, our version of a DVD player back then.  My grandmother would be standing behind me ironing some clothes while I watched the movie uttering every single word because I knew it by heart.  The relevance between the characters in this movie and a couple of my family members was significantly synonymous, and we all knew this. Ritchie Valens resembled my uncle H and Bob, Ritchie’s brother, resembled my uncle L, not only by looks but by attitude and persona.  My uncle L was for the most part considered to be the tough one, while my uncle H was more of the mellow type.  Circumstances that I wish to keep confidential for their safety separated these brothers at very young ages.  Due to a mistake made by my uncle H he was not with us at the time and it would be over 20 years before he would be back with us, and my uncle L was in and out of our lives, getting himself into trouble here and there.  Watching this movie until the very end was always heartbreaking for us because we all knew what was going to happen, Ritchie’s death, which affected us deeply since my uncle H wasn’t around.    We would literally sob out loud, especially at the very end when Bob yells out his brother’s name, epic part of the movie.  Why we kept torturing ourselves is unknown, at least to each other, for I’m sure individually we all knew deep down why we watched the movie.

Watching this movie also brings up a time in my childhood in which Mexico was peaceful, beautiful and so serene that we enjoyed spending every moment possible over there.  Thanksgivings, Christmas gatherings, Easter egg hunts and trips to the mountains and beautiful Mexican resorts are memories in the past, memories I wish I could relive for not only myself but for my children.  Border violence right now is making that virtually impossible and it upsets me that I am not able to introduce my children to the beauty that I once knew.  For the moment describing my memories and demonstrating pictures of the pretty, unscathed portions of Mexico is all I can offer them.  But this isn’t enough.  Words and pictures cannot express the beauty that is Mexico, at least parts not affected by all the violence.   The mountains with their picturesque cloud tops, volcanoes, national parks, and beaches are just some of nature’s beauty that I got to experience.  parque nacional

paricutinThe above pictures are of a national park in Michoacán called El Parque Nacional and the other is of a volcano called El Paricutin in the same state in Mexico.  These are only a couple of the locations I visited when I went to Mexico as a child.  The picture below consists of El Cici, a waterpark located on the beaches of Acapulco in Mexico.  This is another beautiful and majestic place that I had the privilege of visiting as a child.  cici-water-park

A ranch high up in the mountains of Mexico, away from civilization, no electricity and no running water also has a place in my heart from my childhood.  I know what you are thinking, no electricity and no running water, how is that a good thing?  It was, to me and other members of my family.  It was simply peaceful out there, lying out in a hammock in the middle of the night, gazing up at the clear sky dotted with diamond-like bright stars.   In the mornings we would walk up the mountain to a small location which had the cows and proceed to milk them.  I kind of struggled with this for a bit but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  We even had a donkey, it actually belonged to my aunt and she loved it so much.  When it came time to shower we would travel down the mountain along a narrow path to a small watering hole with fresh water.  This was our shower and it was by far the most wonderful feeling ever.  It was natural.  It came from the mountains. patas del diablo

This picture is of a mountain side we would drive through every single time we would visit Mexico.  This location is called “las patas del Diablo” translation, “the feet of the devil”.  This was one sure sign that we were nearing our destination and we would always look forward to this mountainside to try and capture some pictures.  These are the days I yearn for and hope to one day be able to expose my children to this beauty.

It is amazing how one movie with an awesome soundtrack can dig up hidden, nostalgic feelings.  Joyful or melancholy, superb or dreadful, I truly appreciate watching a successful movie such as this over and over again so that I may, even if it is for the smallest of moments, relive in my heart the moments I had as an innocent child.

Uprooting Your Kids May Not Always Be A Good Thing

18 Jun

faith

I know I had promised to write about my struggles as a single mom and it seems as though I haven’t been doing that all.  In fact, I have been doing quite the opposite in writing poems and sharing some photography instead.  But I divert to writing my first blog about a rather recent struggle I had as a single mom and I hope to inspire other women (men) who have gone or are currently going through a situation similar to mine.

So about 3 long years ago I was blessed to have been offered the job I currently have.  I was hired as an AP Clerk at a medium sized car dealership with limited accounting experience, but the person who hired me did so with the intentions of training me into becoming her, a Financial Controller.  During those 3 years there were many ups and down, some write ups for doing a few things incorrectly, some scolding and lectures, and last year leading into the early part of this year was in all honesty the worst.  In November of 2012, after several months of being bashed by my boss and having made a huge mistake at work I decided to quit.  I gave my two week notice, however, because of cash handling I was let go that same day.  Several days later right before Thanksgiving I decided to email my ex-boss and let her know the reason I quit.  Not even a few minutes later my phone rang and my heart literally stopped beating, at least it felt like it did.  It was my boss.  I reluctantly answered the phone and she proceeded to ask me why I quit and if I had thought my decision through.  Well after a few minutes she asked me to go in and meet with her the following day to see about getting my job back.  The following day I went in and was offered my job back, hoping that my boss’s attitude had changed as others had informed me it had.  This was short-lived, for she became her old self within a month and in January 2013 I quit again.  This time there was no two week notice.  I just walked out and never looked back…until a month later, but we will get to that in a bit.

When I quit in January I realized how selfish it was of me.  I found myself with no job in a struggling economy and 3 kids to support.  I unfortunately did what most adults despise doing, I called my mom who lived a couple of hours away and asked if I could stay with her.  So a few weeks later in late January I moved with my mother.  I uprooted my kids, not paying attention to how they would be affected, and moved them to another school.  This was by far the worst decision I made.  Not because I didn’t want to live with my mom, quite the opposite, I love my mother very much.  Actually, the minute my kids started this new school they began to get into trouble.  My youngest was getting SUSPENDED from school!  How does a 5 year manage to get suspended? Did she attack someone with a crayon or some glue??  Nonetheless, my baby girl was kicked out for a day almost every other day.  My son got into his first scuffle ever with another kid.  I have to biased here and mention that my son has NEVER been the type to fight with anyone.  My 8 year old seemed to show no remorse when they had a couple of lock-down situations at the school.  I would need to borrow your hands and feet to count how many times I received phone calls to go pick up my children.  I was at my wits ends.  I would cry on my way to the school and it became downright embarrassing.  All the while I couldn’t find a job and because of having to go to the school constantly I missed several great job interviews.  I had many great prospects all with the same response, “You seem very qualified we will let you know once we interview the other candidates”, and then, no phone call.  This went on for a whole month and when it seemed like I would never find anything the weirdest thing happened, I was offered a great position in that same city, and I received a phone call from my old boss in which I was offered a position to return.  This was by far one of the most difficult decisions I had to make and I literally had to weigh out the pros and cons.  They both pretty much offered the same starting pay, but what swayed my decision was the fact that my kids were not happy with the move to this new city.  They were not comfortable in this new environment, and although I wanted to stay a bit longer with my mom and siblings I knew right away that my kids came first.  So with a heartbreaking decision, I packed up our stuff and moved myself and my children back to my hometown.  With the help of my boss I was able to find a house to rent and she provided me with a sign on bonus that helped with having some startup cash.  I immediately enrolled my kids in school and daycare, which I knew was difficult because this was already their 3rd school in a couple of months.  But, they finished their school year off with awesome grades and no misbehaviors reported.  We were home.

I was offered a higher title, I was finally offered my title of Financial Controller with a bit more pay with a potential for a raise in 3 months, in which I was reviewed and given another raise.  I feel that I am truly blessed even though I encountered several scary bumps along the way.  This is life though.  It will never be smooth sailing.  We just need to know how to stay strong and “keep on truckin” when the going gets bad.  I have learned a lot about myself.  I have learned to not make hasty decisions that will affect my children.  They are the most important people in my life and I am truly grateful for being given a 3rd opportunity to work for the company I do.  This is just another “trial or tribulation” that I can check off as “conquered”.

P.S. In case you are wondering why I haven’t quit a 3rd time, my boss with the crazy attitude quit about a week after I returned.  We have remained friends outside of work and she has become my confidant in many areas of my life.

Treasure Your Loved Ones…and Your Life

11 Jun

Life-is-precious

Life is precious but not eternal.  Today I was snapped back into reality for a brief amount of time reminding me that I need to treasure my life and my loved ones.  Earlier today I was involved in a car accident and the fact that it wasn’t minor but it wasn’t major was a rude awakening for me.  So many things went through my mind as I kept replaying the impact over and over again in my head.  What if my kids were with me?  What if the responsible party had been driving a little faster?  What if I would have just driven on the other lane instead of the one I was in?  So many what ifs that will probably haunt me for a while and will remain unanswered forever.  I know that I shouldn’t dwell on this and I will do anything I can to stay away from those thoughts.  For now I can only thank God that I was alone.  This is one “what if” that I know I won’t be able to let go of so soon.  See, we drive (drove) a minivan and my two younger daughters enjoyed sitting in the very back of the van where the groceries are placed.  I know, please scold me here, that my daughters were not supposed to sit back there.  Up until today I was one of those parents who kind of took life for granted and never thought an accident such as this would happen.  Had my girls been with me, there is about an 80% chance that they would have been sitting in the very back where the brunt of the accident occurred.  The rear end of my van was completely caved in and the back windshield had completely shattered.  It sickens me to my stomach to think of what could have transpired had my baby girls been with me today or my precious son who usually sits in the front with me.  He could have sustained whiplash just as bad as I did, or worse.  This is one rude awakening that I welcome with open arms.  It is exactly what I needed to remind me that life is precious but in the blink of an eye it can all come crashing down.   Parents please learn from this and if you happen to be one of those who also take life for granted, don’t.  Several hours after the accident and I am still crying over what happened and what could have happened.  I have learned from my foolish mistakes but I thank God for having kept my children out of harm’s way.

Summer Break is Here! Oh no!

3 Jun

closedforsummer_color

Mondays are always hectic for me, and today was no exception.  In fact, if I had to rate my Monday it would rate a 15 on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the highest!  Not only did I have to deal with accounting nightmares at work but it just happened to be the first full weekday in which my kids were out for summer break.  Walking in the door I was greeted with a houseful of clutter, as if tripping over toys in the morning when I’m half asleep isn’t enough, now I walk in and my laptop along with the charger are on the floor.  Shoes are all over the living room, my remotes are scattered across the living room, my kitchen looks like a category 5 hurricane overpowered it and the cat is whining at the top of it’s lungs.  Oh yes, summer is here in full effect and with brutal force.

 

So I immediately walk in and meticulously tip-toe through my living room as if there are hidden land mines and proceed to the kitchen to begin washing dishes.  As I’m washing the mount Everest of dishes that are in my sink I ask my kids what they would like to eat for dinner.  I had already taken out some pork chops earlier in the morning with the intent of making that with some mashed potatoes but my kids obviously had something else in mind.  They settled on hot dogs with fried potatoes.  I know I know, not very healthy is what you are thinking, but honestly I let them choose about once a week and the rest of the time they are subjected to my horrible cooking.   I chose to  make them happy today.  Anyways, so as I was done washing the dishes I went ahead and prepared “dinner” and made what I thought were going to be fried potatoes but they came out rather mushy (too much oil I guess).   I served dinner and proceeded to give each of my kids their glass of juice.  If any of you have read in my “About Illiana” section you would know that my 8 year is somewhat of a hardcore tomboy.  So I went ahead and served her in a princess cup and she gave me the “are you serious” look.  My response to that look was “What? It’s not like they are going to jump out and grab you”, in which she proceeded to laugh hysterically.  Now my 8 year old being the outspoken thing that she is poked her potatoes around and said “what the heck kind of potatoes are these”?  Ahhh!!!! Can I catch a break??? She hates the cup, hates the potatoes…geez!  Well whatever, let’s just say she only ate the hotdog and the potatoes became a 2nd helping for me.

After dinner I settled down in time to start watching the Pacers/Heat game (which is actually still going on right now) and in the middle of it I decided to make some chocolate chip cookies.  So there I am along with my handsome and helpful son, preparing the cookie dough batter when we realize we have no baking soda or powder.  That question I asked earlier “can I catch a break”, seems not.  Ah, what the heck.  We decided to go ahead and make them anyway.  I mean shoot, dinner was already horrible might as well end dessert the same way right?  So cookies have baked and they aren’t the best cookies in the world.  They ended up looking like cookie balls instead.  Ooops.  They were sweet so we ate them anyway, you know, something to cleanse the palate.

I would like to mention that during this entire time our 4 week old kitten has been whining at the top of it’s lungs with somewhat of a pathetic look on it’s face.  Charlie, our kitten, is hungry but for reasons personal to himself he would rather starve.  Apparently he doesn’t like the fact that I have switched him from mushy (he would have loved the potatoes) to solid food.  So for the last two days he has been starving himself with only taking sips of milk and turning his nose up at the solid food in his bowl.  As much as my kids are pleading with me to give him something mushy I will not give in.  At last, this is something I can have some control over.  Sorry Charlie, literally.

So as my 5 year old walks away swinging Charlie around as if he was a baton I leave you with a thought, what kind of summer will  you have?  Will it be swinging, starving cats?  Children that hate your cooking?  Chocolate chip balls?  A daily cluttered house?  Whatever it is make the best of it for they are the best memories you will ever have of and with your children.

La Loteria: A Favorite Family Pastime

20 May

DSCF0253

I find myself waking up wanting to play “La Loteria” with my kids, forget the breakfast, forget the cleaning, forget catching whatever is on tv.  For those of you who are not aware, this game is popular in the Hispanic community, specifically for Mexican-Americans.  It’s basically a Mexican version of American bingo played mainly with dry beans or pennies to mark the squares.  These squares have several different pictures ranging from a topless mermaid (this one always brings out giggles) to a bright red devil.  Most often we gamble, small amounts of change, nothing big and we call it “el poso” or “the pot”.  Whoever gets bingo wins the pot of course.  I am writing about this because it brings about many memories.  Some are sad because many of the family members I use to play with are not here with me anymore, but most are happy memories, memories of the fun, the laughter, the winnings, the losings.  I want my kids to grow up with these same type of happy memories.  We are big on tradition and this game is definitely that, tradition.  So for now,  forget all the little things that have time to wait and bring on “La Loteria”, for these memories are waiting to be made and I am here now to make sure my kids are a part of it.

“Dedicated to all my family who has these same cherished memories.”

It’s All Worth It

19 May

My kids and i

I love my children.  They are the reason for which I wake up every morning and begin the monotonous routine of going to work every day.  Some days it’s hard, others not so much.  But once I’m at work I take a look at my kids’ pictures and it reminds that it’s all worth it.  Javier, my 10 year old son is one of a kind.  He has a heart of gold and never hestitates to find a way to make me laugh.  Illiana, my 8 year old daughter has a mind of her own and I love every bit of it.  Too young to tell but I had hoped she would want to become a supermodel.  Right now she is choosing to be a tomboy and I am letting her express herself. Gianna, my 5 year old princess. Yep, she is into the makeup, nail polish, changes outfits about 5 times a day and wants her long beautiful locks a certain way every day.  These are my children and I am proud of them no matter who they are and who they eventually become.

South Texas Gamers Expo

The RGV's premier gaming and pop-culture event!

A Multitude of Drops

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?"

The Laughing Mom

At Least It Will Make A Good Story

Don't Repeat This in Preschool

(This made more sense when I still had a preschooler.)

Funny for Nothing

The world as I see it

"Everyone is Special"

Everyone has a story

rainbowsandbullshit

Telling the truth about life and parenting

Things you'll want to know

From the heart of a newly divorced single mother

Where My Treasure Is

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21

The Single Mom's Guide to Leaning In

The Place to come when you need to know how to do it all

meaningofstrife

Seeing the best in life's challenges

Single-Mom Soapbox

Advice from the viewpoints of a Christian and an atheist

My Participant Observational Research into Poverty for the Single Mom

I'm going to be so wise when I finally pull out of this.

Sad. Funny. Truthful.

Combining depressing thoughts with comedy and brutal honesty makes for some interesting writing. I know at least one person other than me agrees so that's good enough for me.

allmostrelevant

Want to see what an Instagram with no pictures looks like? @allmostrelevant

Cordelia's Road Trip

"Women always try to tame themselves as they get older, but the ones that look best are always a bit wilder." - Miuccia Prada

Uncharted Mishaps

I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am. I am. I am. ~Sylvia Plath

%d bloggers like this: