Every year, on October 4th, I’m reminded that this was the day that I was supposed to be born…Mama always called me to tell me “Happy Birthday” — I was born prematurely on July 16th and Mama’s due date was on October 4th. 2 pounds, 5 ounces. Lots of premature babies didn’t make it back in the day and I did, so I was one of the lucky ones. I was born with no fingernails, my ears were folded over, and I’ve been told that I fit into a shoebox.
It was also very touch and go whether I would survive or not. I was baptized immediately and needed to be given a name. The plan was to name me Francisca, doesn’t get more Mexican than that LOL, can you imagine me having nicknames like Pancha or Kika? I cannot even imagine it. The way that I got my current name was via the Mexican calendar – all Mexican calendars come with the corresponding saint name on each day of the year. The name for July 16th was Carmen so that was the name that I was given.
Fall has always been my favorite time of the year and maybe it was because I was supposed to be born during this season which I love because it gets cooler instead of hotter — well, usually it does, we still have all of the windows open and fans going as I write this LOL.
I had to stay in hospital for three months in an incubator and my family insists that this experience paved the way for how my personality would be. It was all about learning how to survive and fight my fears alone as my parents couldn’t hold me and could barely touch me – to this day, I am extremely ticklish and have tended to shy away from hugs and things like that. I’ve always been pretty fearless on doing what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve also always had a ‘sixth sense’ about people and situations, especially when something doesn’t feel right. I’ve been that way ever since I can remember. Now if I walk into these ‘wrong’ situations with the ‘wrong’ people, it is por pendeja or from me not wanting to listen to my Inner Chingona.
I would get two birthday calls every year from Mama and my two birthdays are great days for me to review my short-term goals and to see how I am doing with my life and change what needs to be changed, toss what needs to be tossed, keep what needs to be kept and always count my blessings. More than anything, this day always feels special to me — like as if I’ve been blessed twice.