Five Months Feel Like Yesterday: The Healing Power of Familia

13 Apr

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESFamilia makes everything easier. Over the weekend, we celebrated Mama’s life and I remember feeling happy…happy because we were with our family from both sides. The pic below really shows how we enjoy being with our Ranch and Grijalva family.

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When we were all together, after we prayed, Daddy got up to speak and he talked about how he was getting through the loss of Mama…he said that for every sad thought he had, that he was learning how to remember something he was thankful for: like being able to get up and walk, that he could still drive, for his sons and daughters. While we were growing up, my father could always be counted on to joke and clown around so we rarely got to see the thoughtful side of him. It was pretty cool that he got up and said this in front of everyone.

The rest of the afternoon we didn’t see much of the kids – they were having a blast running and playing at the Ranch, we bbq’d, caught up on all things familia and had fun hanging out.

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I read somewhere that, one of the ways to get thru grief is to spend time with people who love you and vice versa. We are always able to be our true selves at the Ranch and with our family.   Who taught us this?  Mama.   We are blessed.

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Notes to Mama

25 Mar


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I went to visit Mama the other day … half of the time I spent crying to her, telling her that I didn’t care about getting by, moving on without her, putting on that brave face, I wanted my mother BACK.   I was having such a hard time getting thru my many projects, I kept getting ‘stuck’.  So I told her what was up with me, as I did most of the days of my life.  I stayed there talking to her and crying for a few minutes with no one around…which was cool but had someone come around, my tears would have still flowed freely down my face.

Before I left, I felt like I had to write her a little note.  I told her how much I missed her and loved her and I thanked her for letting me cry to her.   Sure enough, I got on with my day and it was like ‘boom!’,  the energy around me had changed and I was working it again como si nada.  Turns out Mama was working it for me after all.

We are all still grieving and, some days, it’s so hard to believe that Mama is no longer with us.      I then think about how much she wanted to see Jesus and be in Heaven.   I then calm down and think that things are as they should be…maybe not as I want them 100%…but I feel her beside me thank God …like the day we were talking in the living room and the lights came on by themselves! LOL Love her, miss her.

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In Search of Peace or a Safe Place, Whichever Comes First.

25 Mar

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While walking at the beach, I came across a little crab and, when I got really close to it, the crab retreated into its shell.  The crab goes straight off of instinct, if something doesn’t feel safe, he doesn’t go there.  My family has always told me that I have a sixth sense, that I can sense when something doesn’t feel right, I’ve been this way since I was a little girl.  Some days, I would love to be able to hide out in my personal shell as that crab does…to be able to just BE, to be myself, to dream, to plan, to cry, to work things out for myself, to THINK

It is so important to have that kind of place to recharge, reflect and vent…what does my personal shell look like?

Lots of green around me, breezy, with my huge comfortable green reading chair near a window, and within arm’s length there would be  a combination of books, music, a journal and my laptop.   I like to just stare out of the window for a long time, trying to decompress as I watch others live their lives.   When I’m in this mode, I usually pick a few songs and play them over and over, usually something to match the mood that I’m in or to match the mood that I WANT to be in.

Only after I decompress will I get this nagging feeling to deal with my problem at hand, why do I want to hide? what happened in my life that day to make me feel this or that way? who needs to be in or out of my thoughts?   This is usually when I pick up one of my journals and start writing and writing and writing.  Some days, I can get out my issues in one page or less and other times, it’s 20 or 30 pages.  In either case, by the time I finish writing, I’m usually exhausted and my hand usually hurts :)    It is very powerful when the ‘moment of truth’ hits as I am writing — sometimes I start crying right then or I say something like ‘yup’ as I write!    Only after I see it written in black and white can I start to find a temporary solution to whatever is making me crazy at that moment.

Behind the wheel of my Jeep does wonders for me too.   If that steering wheel could talk…I’ve practiced many a speech, request, pitch, conversation while driving — not to mention screaming at the top of my lungs in anger/frustration/fear;  cried my eyes out, watched the sun and the moon come up and go down.  I’m convinced that I have saved myself and my reputation by going off by myself instead of going off on someone else.   As I usually have a commute, my badass moods are usually over by the time I reach my destination.

It’s important that everyone find their own safe haven, to be able to gather yourself and your thoughts while you figure out what your next move will be.   For many months,  I needed to step back and escape for a minute but I wouldn’t do it…it didn’t feel that I deserved yet it I guess.  Once I started listening to my Inner Chingona, I started to make the time to work thru my big chunk of issues.  Taking care of yourself is very powerful and it’s one of the first steps to getting your life back and getting to the peace and happiness that you seek.

Which brings me to the final thought for tonight by John Maxwell…”…if you don’t have peace, it isn’t because someone took it from you; you GAVE IT AWAY.  You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control what happens IN you.”    Once I stopped the blame game and giving in to the drama of others, Inner Chingona came back to ‘high five’ me and to get me to listen to myself, take care of myself, and more important, take responsibility for myself.

My soundtrack as I wrote tonight?  Carly Simon’s Greatest Hits over and over and over and over.

Haven’t Got Time for The Pain

 

That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be

 

 

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Inner Chingona and Sailing

24 Mar

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Milestone Day: 16 Belonged to Me Today

16 Mar

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Love Milestone Days:  My journey to passing the State Exam begins again!   Part 1 to the State Interpreter Exam is 0ver and done now I move on to Part 2.  The studying paid off.  I totally felt my mom’s presence during the Exam, especially during the grammar part as no one had English grammar down like Margaret.

Love that 95 score and all of the support and love is great too!  Total motivation for me to get back into study-mode to pass Part 2 of the State Interpreter Exam!  I must close this circle eso si!

16 Weeks: Inner Chingona and Embracing Change

16 Mar

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16 weeks since Mama left us. A little less than 16 weeks before she told us of the plan that she had with God to do things “their” way.  It probably took me more than 16 days to accept this and Mama was with us a little less than 16 weeks after that…she was preparing us for now.  I miss her so much. I first met my mother face-to-face on July 16th so 16 has always been a lucky number for me.  I’ll strive to remember the importance of embracing change each month instead of fighting it.

What have I learned on this 16th day of this month?

1. Survival: If I can survive the loss of my mother, then I can survive anything. I’ve had some crazy things thrown at me lately, people have tried to bring me down and destroy my spirit again. When your mother is no longer here, your life changes dramatically, gone is the patience for, as Mama used to say, idiocies.   Negative people and situations are just that … and these people and situations will not bring my mother back, so ‘ para que darles importancia’?  No need for me to get all caught up into senseless drama.

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2. Faith: I know that God exists. My mother went without food or water for weeks and I am amazed that, in the end, she looked beautiful, not emaciated or withered away. I am convinced that she was in God’s hands especially then.  God was with me when Mama has some really bad moments and I was able to think clearly and move forward thru my fear and tears.  I feel really bad that I was the one who totally tried to force food, water, and medicine into her body. I now know that I was only trying to stop the inevitable and that “their plan” was the right plan.

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3. Priorities: My list of “important” things and goals is completely different. When I think back to just a few years ago when I would move around, move away, and distract myself with my career and lots of unhealthy choices — anything to steer clear of dealing with my personal life or familia, I struggled to forgive myself for staying away. I used to think that if I put family first, that I would not be able to have both, that I would never be able to have my personal goals and identity. How wrong I have been. I cannot believe how much I have able to accomplish in ALL AREAS OF MY LIFE once I embraced 100% my place within my family and my personal obligation to myself. The most recent accomplishment has been in working thru my financial mess of a life. I was pleasantly shocked at my progress as I’ve been able to bring down a good chunk of my personal debt, still help my familia and still take care of myself. The blessings started to come and my life became so much more peaceful when my family became #1.

4. Patience. Just work it, a little at a time, and I will eventually achieve my goals. Mama taught me to “Let Go and Let God” and, after having her in my life, I saw first-hand, that this worked every time.

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5. Laughter Goes A Long Way. My mom used to have these really infectious laugh attacks so, even on bad days, she was still able to find the humor in life too. I used to love it whenever she would LAUGH at something I said or did. More than that, I LOVED knowing that she was having a happy or fun moment. My dad has always had a great sense of humor and always has us smiling with the things that he comes out with and we do a lot of laughing.  In his hilarious way, he takes good care of us.

Right before I was going to publish this post, sis LG sends me a text telling me that the number 16 was very significant in the Bible…being that she’s Mama’s Mini-Me, I smiled as it was so something that Margaret would have brought to my attention!

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My Bolsa — a Teething Ring?

14 Mar

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I’ve always loved purses and have a bunch of them.  We are also blessed with new babies in the fam whom are teething I think.  What does my ‘bolsa’ have to do with our bebitas you ask?

 

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I was at one of my houses and I saw our lil Bebita O, the cutest tiniest thing.  She seems too little to be teething but I noticed she was trying to bite her hand.  She wasn’t hungry because we had just fed her.  Her big black eyes saw my purse and it looked like she was trying to grab it – but she’s so little, she didn’t really know how.  So I put the handle of the purse near her hands and she was trying to bite it.    So this Nina Carmen lets her BITE the handle and bite she did for quite a while.  When I would try to take it out of her mouth, she’d give me this look that said “what’s up?”.   Her little tears after I gave her back to her Mama made me want to leave the purse there so that she could keep biting LOL.

Our babies are the joy of our familia and we are going to have a very fun year with our 3 (and # 4 on the way) bebitos!

Inner Chingona and Hair, or Lack Thereof

13 Mar

dark hair on floorThe afternoon had turned muggy.  Muggy, stuffy, warm, stale.  I could feel the sweat beading on my face and neck.  An uncomfortable afternoon to say the least, a horrible day with ‘una tras otra’ things coming at me from all sides.   I started back into my office to finish up some work before going to my last appointment.

So I get into the office and the vibe had not changed.  All I wanted is for this day to END, it had been full of drama and negativity and, to be honest, the office was the last place I wanted to be.  I wanted to get in my Jeep and drive and drive until my head cleared and I felt more like myself, safe and confident again.

I was so down that I almost bailed on my final appointment.  But Julie was there waiting for me, scissors in hand.  After I sit down, she asks me, “how much do you want me to cut off?”  I told Julie that I wanted her to keep my hair long and to cut only about an inch.  Julie had other ideas and tells me, “I’m cutting hair until there are no more dead ends” and, zaaaz! just like that, Julie grabs all of my hair and whacked off waaay more than an inch!

After the initial shock of Julie grabbing all of my hair and going at it with her scissors, I began to laugh … it felt like she was attacking my hair just like I wanted to attack the day.  Snip by snip, or mejor dicho, chop by chop, the negativity began to leave my body, I relaxed and then I started to feel this intense powerful feeling .  Thank God I was sitting down because it was pretty overwhelming.   Inner Chingona began to stand at attention, as if supervising all of this rush of positive energy into my mind, body, and soul.

As Julie blow-dried my hair, I closed my eyes and began to think about all that had happened throughout the day, instead of feeling hopeless, I began to feel hopeful.  I started to think about all that I had in my favor, all of my work was not a waste of time, I had much to contribute and I could work at making all of my crazy situations bearable if nothing else.   As Julie began to flat-iron and style my hair, I knew that I was back:  no more worry, frustration, tears and wringing of hands.  I was ready to stand up for myself and to work it for ME.

Looking down at all of my hair on the floor…it was like each piece belonged to negative people and situations in my life, those who left me feeling betrayed, demeaned, embarrassed, angry, powerless, sad, defeated, frustrated, beaten-down.  As Julie swept up the hair and tossed it into the trash, two words came to mind.  Karma and Freedom.  Karma will eventually work things out so a tremendous weight had been lifted from me: I felt free and lighter with less hair, and, better yet, the clouds had lifted, the mugginess was gone and a cool breeze was blowing as I stepped outside into the night.

Calmate! Inner Chingona and Cursing While Driving

28 Jan

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As I was driving to work this morning, I was turning into my exit at the office and the car in front of me is practically stopped, so what do I do?  do I honk the horn? No.  Do I slam the brakes? No need, thank God.  Do I scream out the following?  “Muevete pendeja!”  Yes!  (Like she could really hear me LOL).   Other times, I can be heard pleading, “come on let me in let me in let me in“,  screaming out questions like, “y ‘hora ca—–?,  or commands like, “move move MOVE”,  or when someone gives me a look, you better know I’m screaming,  “y tu, que miras ca—-?“, “a ver a que horas?” or “toma!“, add in whatever curse words you’d like, English or Spanish.   It’s not all about road rage, I can be courteous too, “thanks babe!” is what I scream out when a car is nice and lets me into the lane, especially in traffic.

According to a recent survey by Insurance.com, Women behind the wheel curse more than men do.  Men are more apt to honk the horn than to curse – really?   Women are just more honest, and fewer men admit that they do swear!

Here are the five things most likely to make us swear:

#1.)  The GPS:  55% of people who use one say they’ve sworn at it.

#2.)  Getting cut off by another driver.

#3.)  People who don’t use their turn signal when turning or changing lanes.

#4.)  People who talk on their mobile/cell phone while driving.

#5.)  Someone driving slow in the fast lane.  This is the only thing that men were more likely to swear at than women.  15% of men mentioned it, while only 7% of women did.

The survey also states that, aside from cursing, that women are more likely than men to commit this act:  darles el dedo AKA flipping people off, extending their middle finger!  WHO knew?  All I know is that either of the two are great stress relievers for me.

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I will continue to work on driving safely as I have been told that I’m a crazy driver, I cannot promise today that I will not let out a mala palabra or two nor can I promise to keep my fingers on the wheel.   Safety first.

QueQUE? Do-It-Yourself Projects Dad-Style

27 Jan

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Since Mama’s passing, I’ve been spending a lot of time with Daddy.  He and I do pretty good as roommates, he’s hilarious and we’ve always gotten along plus this Daddy’s girl makes sure he eats and stuff like that.  Part of me is afraid to leave him alone so that HE doesn’t leave us too;  the other part of me is really trying to let go a little bit because I tend to be checking up on him constantly, which I KNOW drives him crazy.  When he tells us, “hijos, I need my space!”  I soooo get it because I’m exactly the same way.

My dad always has little projects he’s working on and I would just jump all over his case with ‘why did you do this?” and “why did you do that?” until my sister sat me down and reminded me, “it’s HIS house”.    So when I get to the house, I usually just look and bite my tongue most days thankful that he’s keeping busy and out of trouble LOL

But LAST night, I get in, walk into the kitchen, and see one of his inventions and my first instinct is “whaaaat?” and I start freaking out.  Well Daddy has decided to make a ‘tendedero’, an indoor clothesline.   My Dad cracks me up, he starts telling me about his “herrero” (blacksmith/welder) and what the man says every time he sees my dad, “ay Mike, OTRA VEZ con tus inventos!”.   My Dad found stuff lying around outside to make this contraption which is like a rod where you can hang stuff with a hanger.   My parents never liked having a dryer in the house and we’ve hung the laundry on the clothesline like forever and as Daddy says, “mija, it’s winter!”    Once I checked it out with the laundry hung on it, it actually was pretty cool…and much better than having the laundry all over the furniture and chairs to dry.

I am always telling Dad, “OMG, que diria mi madre?/what would Mama say?” but, the truth is,  he has a good spirit and a good heart and always tried to make things easier for Mama when she was here.  So in a way, he’s trying to make things easier for us 5 too.  All I could do was text my siblings in disbelief for the ‘tendedero’ and say a huge prayer of thanks that I still have my crazyfunny Dad around!

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