Tag Archives: family

Sharing more than I should, maybe

Sharing more than I should, maybe

There are certain moments in life when one has to learn to shut up. For the last several months I’ve been doing a lot of silent thinking and holding the pause button on my public expressions of emotions for one very complicated and difficult reason.

My father is battling cancer and I don’t know what to do about it.

Nothing that I can say can take away his pain. Nothing that I can do can miraculously take away this disease from his body. And because of that I find myself struggling constantly, on a day-to-day basis. There are days where I just don’t want to get out of bed. There are days when I feel like a child, confused and unable to find my bearings in everyday life. Days when I’m just angry and bitter.

I share this not to make my father’s situation about me, mostly to just be honest with myself. My therapy has always been writing, but here lately I haven’t had the words to say much of anything.

My father’s ongoing battle with cancer has forced me to put life into perspective. It doesn’t matter how much I make from my business and passion; it doesn’t matter how many brands I’ve collaborated with or not; it doesn’t matter how small or large my community is at any given moment. All that matters is that life is about choices. No matter how much time we might think we might have, it’s never enough.

Cristela Alonzo the comedian put it best in her latest standup routine for Netflix. She basically said “no matter how grown up you think you are you never feel more like a child than when you realize your parents are not going to be around forever.” I wasn’t ready to deal with that.

I couldn’t agree more with that sentiment.

At any given moment everything can change.

Don’t wait for tomorrow. Tell the people you love how much you love them today.

And if you’d be willing to say a prayer or two for my father, I’d appreciate that more than you know. Gracias.

Lechon. Cochino. Puerco. Pig. 

This was a conversation that took place over the weekend at my sister’s house. 

Me: Hey, you’re looking for a pig? 

My sister: *laughing* …yes!

Other sister: I think I know a place where they auction pigs. 

Brother in law: Do they auction individual pigs or several pigs together? 

Other sister: I don’t know. 

Sister: He wants a baby pig. 

Other brother in law: I’ll call the guy I know tomorrow. I’m pretty sure he knows where to buy a pig. 

Everyone together: Okay. 

I guess some things never change. We grew up around livestock all our lives, and even when we lived in the city my mom managed to raise a pig in our suburban neighborhood in north Houston. 

Familia for Fourth of July 

Let’s call this an almost Wordless Wednesday because, of course, I’m still typing. No pues este fin de semana festivo we spent it celebrating my youngest niece’s first birthday. 

It was extra special because con todo lo que ha estado pasando lately it was a much needed breath of fresh air. Just familia, spending time together. It was great! 

 

Sidewalk Family Board Game

Yes, it’s still hot. This Texas weather is not letting us do very much in the activities department. And we all know what happens when people spend too much time around each other staring at walls and screens.

It can get ugly.

You, your friends, your family, your cousins, your neighbors, in others words, everyone deserves to have a little fun under the cool sunset sky. You know what I’m talking about. That time of the day when there is just enough daylight for outdoor activities, right when the sun is beginning to set behind the visible horizon.

At that very moment, get everyone outside to play this game: Sidewalk Family Board Game.

Sidewalk Family Board Game

The rules and supplies needed are pretty simple.

Supplies:

    • Dice of ANY kind. You can DIY your dice with two big cardboard boxes. We bought our large foam blue dice at $5 Below.
    • Colored note cards: write rewards and “punishments” on cards. Or follow some of my suggested rewards and “punishments” listed below.
    • Sidewalk coloring chalk: The bigger the caulk the better (you can cover more area this way). We bought these at our local Family Dollar.
    • Rocks: These will be used just in case someone has to move and their space needs to be marked.
    • Lastly a marker: this will be used to write punishments.

Sidewalk Family Board Game

Rules:

  • Their must be at least 15-20 spaces. I suggest you use a large parking lot or long sidewalk.
  • Draw a yellow circle on each end of your connecting squares.
  • Each player starts on either circle and makes their way to the other circle on the other side and back using dice.
  • If you land on a colored square you must then pick up a corresponding colored note card and take the punishment or reward on that card.
  • First player to reach the yellow circle and return to the starting position wins.

Sidewalk Family Board GameSidewalk Family Board Game

Good Luck and may the best player win!

Kids say the darnedest things!

My niece said something this weekend that made me laugh.

Then it made me think.

And now, it’s making me contemplate life.

She’s under five years old and we were flying a kite together this weekend.

She was a natural at it, but that wasn’t really the big surprise.

When we were getting ready to go back inside to eat my mother’s pozole I offered to help her put up the kite since the string holding it had been unwound a good couple of feet. She refused and proceeded to tell me how she didn’t need help because she could do it all by herself.

In that very moment it was as if my sister (her mother) was talking to me herself.

It was uncanny.

I chuckled at first in surprise, and then thought to myself, yeah that’s really her baby!

It’s funny how the most unexpected characteristics are seemingly hereditary as well.

This is one memory I think is going to stick.

Cumpleaños Feliz

We always sing that song when it’s somebody’s birthday. ¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

Everyone gathers around the table, the celebrated cumpleañero sits in the middle, front and center before the cake, as we all wait in the room with all the lights turned off except for the ones on the cake, for my father to take the lead vocals. We all fall in line singing along with him as soon as he starts.

Sometimes there’s a guitar. Most times though it’s acapella.

And as soon as we’re done with the Spanish version of happy birthday, an even louder chanting begins, with nieces and nephews joining in the celebrations too by singing the version they’re more familiar with, in English.

This is probably one of my most cherished family traditions. It’s just nice to do it together.

And what I love even more, seeing my older nieces and nephews singing along with us in Spanish.

Cumpleaños Feliz

Lessons from my brother

The word is pride. It’s taken quite some time to arrive at this singular expression of emoción, but after careful (very careful if you know me well) thought and consideration, that is really the most appropriate palabra to describe what this picture evokes in me. My nephew took it this weekend on a whim, while we were sitting around my mother’s table just laughing and talking. It’s my younger brother. The baby boy of the familia.

We always used to joke when he was younger that one day my parents’ property in Mexico would be his because he is the youngest male in the family. That is the tradition where my parents are from you see. I don’t know that any of us were ever serious about it, but it was just one of those things that we as American born children of Mexican parents really didn’t understand. Sure, it was an actual tradition. We just didn’t know how practical it was for our situation?

I mean we were living in apartments here, paying mortgages eventually, and really creating opportunities for ourselves here. What could any of us really do with a property in Mexico? And if it was something my parents would want to leave us, would they really want to follow what seemed like an ancient tradition to us? We didn’t know… and we probably still don’t today. But that’s neither here nor there.

What makes me feel proud about this picture is the story behind it.

A few months ago he moved away to a completely different city. He left behind friends, family, and really quite a comfortable life. Explaining to my mother at one point that his moving to another state was akin to her moving to another country at an even younger age many, many years ago. She did it then to create an opportunity for all of her children. He now was doing it for himself.

As we waved goodbye this weekend I couldn’t help but remember the letter my brother wrote and read to my mother on Christmas Eve this year. It was encased in a picture frame with the watermark of an old picture of all of us together. For her to keep and reference as often as she would like. The letter was an expression of gratitude from a son who now through his own experiences is understanding what it means to leave it all behind and start over. It was really quite an emotional and heartfelt moment. I think a lot of us cried a little bit.

And that’s what I see when I look at this picture. A picture of all of us. Growing. Changing. Realizing. Understanding. And appreciating the things that truly matter in life. Life. Love. Health. Each other. Experience. And the wisdom to just embrace the moments life gives us. Not to try to change them or create them as we think they should be. But to simply accept them as part of our journey together.

Lessons from my brother

Target Family Feud

Family means no matter how mad you get you still stand up for each other. It means that if someone crosses a family member they cross you too automatically. Yes, even when they’re only indirectly taking jabs at you or your family member.

On some nights it also means driving down to the local Target and expressing to the store manager in a very matter of fact way what your family member might not have been able to say earlier, when they were in the same store after a very specific incident happened.

“I just wanted to let you know that earlier today one of your vendors snatched something out of our son’s hands for no reason.”

“I understand this person is not an employee of your store, only a vendor, but I want you to know her actions are a very poor representation of your store.”

“We’d like a refund on everything please. No, a discount is not necessary. We’d just like our money back please. We can purchase all these same items at another store.”

“I would highly encourage you to have a talk with your vendors and that you explain to them why it’s never okay to snatch something out of a paying customer’s hands, whether they are an adult or a child.”

“I appreciate your apology and we have never had an issue at a Target store before. We’ve always had good experiences at Target and make a lot of purchases here. We wanted YOU to be aware of what had happened and why that led to our decision to drive all the way back here to return everything.”

Thank you!!