Celebrating Ranch Mom Week: The Importance of Bonus Mothers

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Today would have been Mama’s 74th birthday.  We were so blessed to have her with us for 73 years and she taught us everything about how to be a family.  We were able to know ALL of our Grijalva cousins and we spent time with ALL of our aunts and uncles on Mama’s side.  The Ranch, ni se diga.  We grew up with a mother in every house at the Ranch.  People always marvel about the family, so huge yet so tight-knit.  The picture above is my favorite of “Las Jefas del Rancho” all of our Ranch Moms in a rare photo.

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Mama and all of our bonus mothers took care of showing us the importance of being there for each other…at the Ranch our Mama Lupita (pictured above)  had names for all of kids, we were named by groups with the nane of the oldest child LOL  My sisters and I were known as ‘Las Carmelillas‘, my brothers “Los Mikitos“, my Herrera cousins, “Los Wilios”, and “Los CoquiViras” were our next-door Torres boys, I’m sure that there were more too that my cousins will remind me of.  We have been blessed to have been raised as this huge bunch of siblings at the Ranch — and, as big as the family is, we always know which cousins are missing at the Ranch parties LOL.

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Especially with Mama’s passing, our bonus mothers have taken on so much more importance for us.  Our Ita (pictured above), our Tia Chayo (pictured below)  and the Ranch Moms have provided us with that sense of security that everything will be alright, that there are still jefas watching out for us, that we are not alone in this world.  I think that we all treasure these ladies so much more!  We celebrate Ita in November, Tia Chayo in December, and Tia Becky in June.  But the first week of July has always been unique as July 7, 8, and 9th belong to Tia Lili, Tia Elvira and Mama respectively.  Back in the day, Tio Mundo used to take them all out for lunch or dinner and we all would attend one bbq or cake cutting for one or the other every year. One year, we did “Las Mananitas” birthday serenades for each one EARLY in the morning, one day after the other.

My favorite days were always when I would see each of my Ranch moms in one day, usually as I was leaving or coming into the Ranch:  Tia Lili either in her yard or at her chair inside – do we always wave or what? LOL, Tia Becky hanging clothes or coming in from one of her social engagements, Tia Elvi watering the plants, Mama at home.   It would be a GREAT day as I would get a ‘God Bless You’ from Mama, ‘Que Dios te Acompane‘ or ‘Te Vas Con Cuidado‘ from my bonus moms.  Even though Mama is no longer with us, I still need that connection and thank God, I still have mothers!

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Take a minute today to treasure and reach out to your mother and also to the bonus mothers in your life:  aunts, grandmothers, godmothers, cousins, fam friends, friends…the emotional support love, affection, and balance they provide are priceless and never-ending.

Below please find tributes for Ranch Mom Week from my FB page:

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JULY 7th:  Fabulous 5 Birthday: We are so blessed to celebrate LIDIA HERNANDEZ, our beloved Tia Lili! Feliz Cumpleanos Tia! No doubt, the #1 funniest person on our Ranch! One of our Fab5 which include Dad, Tia Becky, Tio Freddy, and Tio MundoRIP, Mama to Carmen, Mary, Lupe, Pete, JoeRIP, and FreddyRIP, Abuelita, Tia, Hermana, Prima, Ranch Mom. Tia Lili helps us take care of Dad, makes the best homemade tortillas ever, and has been there for us Torres5 always and especially during these past few months. Que la pases bien hoy Tia Lili! We love you! We took this pic of Tia Lili this past weekend and, in true Tia Lili style, her hand is up and she’s turning away from the camera! That is, unless she’s doing a selfie ‘para el book face’ with Christy! LOL

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JULY 8TH:  Day 2 of Ranch Mom Birthday Week! Today we are blessed to celebrate ELVIRA TORRES, our Tia Elvira! Mama to Kack and Joey and loving Gma to her ‘boys’! Tia Elvira has been our next door neighbor our entire lives, she has the most awesome yard of the Ranch, our littles call it the ‘park’, no one can make arroz rice like she can, she definitely tells it like it is too! It’s great to have a Ranch Mom right next door and she so loved Mama. She was in great spirits this morning when I took her some flowers and I love to see Tia Elvi like this. She was on the way to lunch with her Coqui and espero pases bien tu dia! We love you! Love this pic of Tia Elvira taken a couple of months ago…

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MAMA’s Tribute:  JULY 9th I celebrate Mama’s first birthday in heaven. I remember last year about this time, I came to the Ranch as it was my “day” with my folks, I never really left after that – I just knew that I needed to be around for my mom and she’d always tell me, “you don’t have to be here all of the time”. Many days, I was like her sparring partner and would tease her that I was helping her keep her mind sharp. Mama was always happiest in her house and I find so much comfort hanging out here too and love it that I can put on some of her clothes when I feel sad. Y’all know that life with my Dad is fun and he does make me shake my head sometimes LOL. Missing her has become a part of my life and keeping up with her traditions allows me to continue to get to know this woman who was able to always love and keep going in faith no matter what. Super blessed to have had Mama in my life while she was here with us and super blessed to be able to celebrate her always…Mama, hope it’s as beautiful there as you told Christy it was. Happy Birthday Sra.! Love love love you. Finally found a pic of her in red/white/blue and the other is one of the last pics we took of her!

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