I love my mommy!

I am sorry I have neglected my blog.  I have been so busy, I don't even know where the time went.  The business is really busy now, as Spring is around the corner and things are blooming.  I am also almost 38 weeks pregnant, and for some reason that seems to consume my life.  Truth be told, I have not blogged because there really has not been anything interesting to blog about, I mean other than baby Sofia and I promised myself (and some of my dear friends) that I would not let the country rican become a baby blog.

The big news in my life since the last blog is that my mom is now with us at our country estate, aka dos gatos, aka my double wide in Dewy Rose.  It may not seem like a big deal to many of you who do not know my story well, but trust me, this is a big deal.  My mother had not gotten on a plane since 1982, when she went to...let's say "take care of some business" in New York City.  Yes, almost 30 years on the island of Puerto Rico, which is indeed paradise, but you can imagine the culture shock of the Atlanta airport after all that time.

I love my mother more than life.  I guess most people feel that way about their moms, but like most people I just think my mother is just more exceptional and deserves a little extra praise.  Indulge me while I brag, and I apologize to those of you who do not have a mom, or one as fabulous as mine, I am truly sorry.  Everyone deserves to have a mom like mine.  If we all had a mother like this, the world would be a better place.

My mom was born into a very poor family in the mountains of Puerto Rico in the mid 40s.  I mean poor.  They were truly country folk in a place that was really in bad shape at that point in time.  Her mother passed away due to complications after childbirth with my mom's younger brother.  My mom was child number three, he was number six, she was around eight years old.  This would have been the 50s in Puerto Rico, a very different place and time.  Her dad got himself another woman and had three more kids with her.  She lived with him for some time, but she was young and the timeline is a little blurry for all of us.  She went from her dad, to her maternal grandmother, and between her mother's two sisters.  She never had much of a home, since all her residences seemed to be temporary.  She lived with all her siblings and different points in time, but I doubt they all shared one home after her mother's death.

She met my dad when she was 16 and in high school.  The aunt she lived with at the time told her she should quit school, since she was getting married anyway.  She said no, she wanted to finish.  She was in one of those "secretarial" programs, she wanted to finish and have some kind of trade- future husband be damned.  She worked all the time.  Had a practicum for her diploma, helped take care of her aunt's kids, did her older brother's laundry for a couple of bucks, bought fabric with that money so she could make herself clothes.  My dad had been in the military already, had already seen Europe, and courted her very briefly in person.  Most of their courtship was through letters.  He went to New York to get settled to bring her to live with him after the wedding - a pattern that would repeat itself in my family time and time again.  In any case, they did not have enough money for the airfare back and forth, so they got married by power of attorney.  Meaning that my mom married in a room by signing papers while he was still in New York.  She used to joke that the man she married had his wife by his side - my uncle Johnny and his wife Rosita. It was 1964 and this was not an uncommon practice back then.  Those of you that are TV buffs (like myself) might remember Richie Cunningham marrying this way on Happy Days - Fonzie stood in for him.  My mom had graduated high school a few weeks before, had just turned 19, and got on a plane by herself to New York City to meet her new husband and start her new life.  She will tell you now that she barely knew him looking back.  Young beautiful country girl in the big city in the 60s.

She had my brother Kano a little after a year of marriage.  As a pregnant woman I marvel at her pregnancies. The woman is5'2" tall, and at the time was probably 95 lbs. and had a 9 lbs. baby like nothing.  At the time she and my father did not own a car, and lived in a 5 story walk up a few city blocks from the hospital.  She walked to the hospital, and after having him walked back home and up the 5 flights of stairs.  She says "Your dad carried Kano".  Whew! At least there's that.

For a long time she thought she would have no more kids, but as it happens with many mothers, when her baby was growing up she decided she wanted another one.  She had my brother Lucho seven years after her first.  This pregnancy was particularly difficult, as she had gestational diabetes.  He was 11 lbs. at birth.  At least by then they had a car.  She also said the people in the hospital were extremely caring towards her because of the diabetes.  He was taken out with forceps, and she just carried on.  This is her normal.

I was a happy accident.  She certainly wasn't planning a third child when she found out she was pregnant.  Interesting fact, Roe Vs. Wade was being battled in court and the doctor told her "You know, you don't have to have this baby if you don't want to."  She told me she had never thought there was such an option.  Choice- is something we take for granted now.   She went home and told my dad about the pregnancy and about what the doctor said.  My dad said "Oh what the hell.  Maybe it will be a girl."  And so it was that the country rican was born into a poor Puerto Rican family in the South Bronx on Christmas Eve 1973.  My mom remembers the nurses drinking wine and celebrating while she was in labor.  I was 9.5 lbs.  She says I was the easiest delivery of the three.  Of course, after pushing out an 11 pounder I imagine anything is easy.

Now that she is staying with me, I ask her a lot about her pregnancies, which she remembers very little of.  Every once in awhile she drops a whopper that leaves me stunned.  I asked her how she did it.  I know my dad was not much help (since she mentions this all the time).  She marvels at fathers today, who do so much with their children, she is from a different time and a different culture I might add.  Latin men are not exactly known for being helpful with "women stuff" as a lot of them call it.  I asked her point blank.  How on earth did she handle an 8 year old and a 15 month old when she was 8 months pregnant.  I mean, I can barely take care of myself!  She just says "You do what you have to.  We lived on a second floor and there were times the elevator was broken and I had to haul the two kids and the stroller up and down those stairs."  Gasp! Michael won't let me lift anything.  I just can't imagine her life.  I try and try to picture what it must have been like all the time.  I can't wrap my head around it.

She is superwoman.  When I was 6 and we still lived in New York she was a teacher's aid at a Head Start, and was going to community college at night, working on her Early Childhood Education degree.  She never finished, as they decided to move to Puerto Rico and life changed drastically.  But I remember going to class with her and sitting in the back of the class room and coloring in my books, or going to the library with her and picking out a book for me while she got a book for her own school work.  She made me the book worm I am today, and taught me by her example just how important education was.  I got my master's while working full time.  There was a time I had the job of two people while I did this, there was a time while I was planning a long distance wedding and writing my thesis and thought "I can't possibly do this well -  something is bound to get screwed up."  But then I remembered my mom, with her three kids, her full time job, her night school, her teen ager in constant trouble, her philanderer husband... and I would decide to quit my bitching and just get it done.  And I did, because she is right, you do what you have to.

It is funny to me that she wont let me do anything.  I was ironing Michael's shirt yesterday and she literally took the iron from me.  She stood next to me while I was ironing and took the iron from my hand and started to do it herself.  "You should sit, you've been working all day".  She does the same thing when I am putting on my socks in the morning.  Quite literally she takes the sock from my hands and puts them on me like I suppose she did when I was a baby.  Michael and I are working all day.  Well I work an 8 hour day, Michael works a 12 hour day.  My mom is at home cleaning and cooking for us.  She finished cleaning out the baby's room for me, she has fixed up Michael's work clothes, reorganized our closets and kitchen cabinets, the woman is a Tasmanian devil of house keeping.  Last weekend Michael and I were concerned about taking her somewhere, showing her some sites or something, you know before we get overwhelmed with baby.  She was not interested.  Said she didn't feel like getting dressed and going out, she would stay home and the two of us could go somewhere. We just laughed.

I know some of you reading this are thinking "Lisa is terribly spoiled" and I recognize that I am.  If I didn't, Michael would remind me anyway.  I left home at 22 for the first time and have done for myself ever since.  I realize I am not as good at it as my mother is, but she had the misfortune of having to do for herself ALL her life.  I can honestly say that I have waited this long to have a child, because I never felt up for the challenge of parenthood before.  I have always thought that if you are going to be a mom, you should be a mom like my mom.  Being a mother means being able to make those sacrifices, to love someone beyond yourself so much that they come first and if you cant do that- then you shouldn't be a parent.

I just hope I am ready to be half the mom my mother is, I think that would be amazing.  It saddens me that she didn't have a mother to help her through those difficult times.  Hopefully her mother watches us from where ever and smiles at the amazing woman she brought into this world, I know I do.

Comments

  1. wow...sniff, sniff...sanchez moment...hehehe. super strong and able 2 leap tall buildings in a single bound, but tell an emotional story and we're blubbering...hehehe. great blog sis. and i'm so glad u guys r enjoying mom and i'm sure vice versa. think we should work on getting grandpa out there sometime. i'm sure he's reconsidering. love u, love mom, love life. peace.

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  2. Wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing this...you brought me to tears. I, too, waited until I was older to have Lucinda, because I wasn't sure I could fill the "Mommy shoes." I now find myself a single mother, in school full time trying to finish my B.S., and working two (sometimes three) jobs to make ends meet, but I wouldn't change it for the world. You will be a wonderful mother...you had a wonderful role model.

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  3. Awww...shucks Lisa! You touched my heart with your sweet words about your mom, such powerful prose. I too was sniffling with tears in my eyes by the end of your blog. I wish Nancy could get up here to meet Carmen because I think they are the best mommies I know!

    You will be an AMAZING mommy - you already are!

    Love you,
    Pagina

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  4. Tears here as well! I was thinking about my Mom and how I love and appreciate her so much! She had a hard life too and took care of us, Elizabeth & Russ both when they were borned. Of course she continues to today as well! I thank God for my Mommy! I'm so glad yours is able to be there with you through this miraculous time in your life Lisa!

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  5. Bueno, me hiciste llorar. No se si para alegrarme o para hacerte un coraje, mi marido suele decir: "Ya no hacen las mujeres como antes." Y tiene toda la razón. Nuestra vida, aunque no fácil, es menos díficil ahora de lo que fue para nuestras madres en los 40. Me encantó leerte, te extrañaba MUCHO. Todo estara bien en tu parto!

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