The Breeze Through Mama’s Window

 

#52essays2017  27/52

It’s Sunday afternoon, between one and two in the afternoon, and, as I sat down to eat my lunch, I looked down at my plate, glanced at the TV, and looked out of the window, I had to smile, then I had to laugh.

I am eating mac and cheese, watching some movie on Turner Classic Movies, and enjoying the breeze from the window on this hot day. Why is this funny, you ask?

This is so something Mama would do.

This is Mama’s time of day.

This could almost be her sitting here eating her favorite macaroni and cheese, watching one of her classic movies and looking out of her window. As I sit here, I can hear myself asking her, “Mama, what do you feel like eating?” if she didn’t know, I would read off a list of her favorites…fruit and cottage cheese, tostadas, mac and cheese, salad…and 9 times out of 10, it was mac and cheese.

The breeze from Mama’s window is the BEST in all of the house. I remember, many times, how Mama would give a little sigh when we would open her window as she sat in her chair or was in her bed. At first, I was completely mortified that a hospital bed would take residence in the living room – especially when Mama had a perfectly good bedroom. Now I get it, the great breeze and being in the living room allowed Mama to keep calm and cool, to stay connected in her part of the world, and to live life with all of us instead of being holed up in a room in the back, in the back where the window was higher up and with no breeze.

This was the time of day when Mama would really rest.  It was usually quieter, and once I opened all of the windows in the house, the breeze would kick in, and she could relax and sleep knowing that one of us was in the house.  Even now, when I notice Mama’s time of day, I try to keep things quiet JUST in case she wants to stop by and visit us.

The day the folks came to take her bed away, the big sister in me kicked in when I saw my siblings faces filled with sadness. I made them bring in a table that minute so that I could set up a table with Mama’s pictures and things. We still have that table all of these months later, the table is right against Mama’s window and my sister changes it and blings it up throughout the year. Mama’s chair is in the exact spot where her bed was right next to her nightstand. If you sit in this chair facing the window, it’s all about “aaaaah” the minute that breeze hits your face.

As a family, we did everything for our mother and, for the most part, this family has decided to mourn “happy” – we miss our mother so much and we like her right there in the mix with us as we go about our lives.   It is very comforting knowing that, in some way, she is still in her favorite spot of her house.   Maybe the breeze is her way of stopping in to say hi to us.

At least I like to think so.

Man of My Nightmares, Mother of My Dreams

#52essays2017

I was sitting down to dinner with one of my roommates when the doorbell rings. My roommate gets up to answer and it is our landlord, a very nice East Indian gentleman. I had just put a spoonful of papas into my mouth and tried to chew it up really fast before going to the door. “How are you Carmen?” he says, “Fine, what’s up?”, “Would you mind coming with me to the office please”? He didn’t seem that worried and, as the offices were really close to the apartment, we didn’t have much time to talk.

As I walk into the office, he asks me to follow him into the back room. My heart fell to the floor and I was in disbelief with what I saw.  I couldn’t believe that he had done this again, always trying to find me, always showing up at random places.  There he was, tied up like an animal, wearing a red and black checked shirt, one of those flannel ones, as it was cold outside. His head was turned so all I saw, at first, was his black hair. Then he turns around, face full of anger and rage, and then I hear his voice, “get me the f#$% outta here! tell this motherf#$%^&* to let me go!” In desperation, I was screaming, “OMG whyyyyy do you keep doing this!”. My landlord asks me if I want to call the authorities and then tells me that he was going to give this guy enough money to get to Elk Grove (?) and for me not to worry. All the while it is scream and cuss-out city with this man.  All I kept thinking was ‘just get him out of here and out of my life!’

So like a sonsatontapendeja, I let my landlord handle the situation thinking “all is good, he’ll be out of here” and actually go back to my dinner. The doorbell then rings again, and there he is, freed from the ropes that held him a few minutes earlier, and he is not screaming this time.  He quietly informs me that, “This is it.  Either you come back to me or I take matters into my own hands”  I remember being stunned, stunned that he actually showed up at my house again, scared of what he was going to do,  angry that I didn’t just call the police,  wondering where my phone was, do I scream? or not?  In the next second, he puts the gun to his face, pulls the trigger, and blows his face off, blood everywhere.

I woke up crying and completely freakiada that night.  I had been having nightmares for well over a week, every night, every time I woke up and fell back asleep, there would be another graphic, violent way that this person would kill himself.  I was getting worried about these nightmares and afraid to go to sleep.   I called the Crisis Center and, luckily, was able to set up time to speak with someone about my troubled and disruptive nightmares.   Turns out they were flashbacks of very negative, drama-filled, bitter times of my life when I did not yet have a handle on my situation.  I felt lucky that these flashbacks didn’t really occur when I was driving or in an important meeting or anything and was able to get some valuable exercises for working through flashbacks/PTSD and to remind myself of how far I have come from those days of madness.

So, guess what I dreamt last night?

I was at the Ranch in our kitchen.  We were all home as I could hear people talking in the other room and the TV was on a low volume.  I was taking out my small red crock pot  so that I could make beans like usual, and she says to me, “I don’t know about the beans in that crock pot…”  Como si nada, I respond, “you’ve never even tasted anything made in this pot,  how would you know?” ” I just know so make the beans on the stove”  Muttering, I start to prepare beans as she tells me to do so.    On the counter, I see a bunch of vegetables thrown all about and I’m like, “what is all THAT for?”, “I thought that I would make some soup for your Dad too so help me cut the vegetables”.  At first, I almost rolled my eyes, and then, in the middle of the dream, I get the knife to cut up the vegetables and smile at her and my mouth drops open. “Mama!!!!!! I’m not having a nightmare! And you’re HERE!”   There she was, Margaret Torres, looking beautiful, w a l k i n g, no cane or wheelchair in sight, she had a dress on and I could hear the click of her heels.    Mama tells me, “I’m always here, you know that;  you should trust more and stop worrying, I’m always here” and then I woke up!

It was the first night that I slept well in days, and, as it turned out, Mama still WORKS it for us, of this I am 100% convinced.   I need no man in my dreams, I do, however, need to see my mother sometimes.  The dream was so real.  I haven’t felt this comforted since my mother passed away in 2014.   That I was able to have a conversation with her was so great.   Thanks Mama!  MargaretLivesInMe.

#52essays2017

What? QueQUE? My story of Awe #52essays2017

peaceful-quotes-3-2

#52essays2017

AWE:  a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.  Synonyms of AWE:  filled with wonder, wonderstruck, awestruck, amazed, astonished, lost for words, reverential

Another Friday Night.  I’m sitting in major traffic trying to get home.  I’m listening to the radio and the host is talking about “Awe” and the listeners are calling in with their stories.  As I sat in my Jeep surrounded by cars on every side on the roadway, I started thinking about times when I was awestruck, when something completely stopped me in my tracks, when I was stunned into silence, when I was certain that it could only have been God behind it.

Back in the day, I was going out with someone whom I was totally crazy about, I hadn’t been this happy in a long time.  I just couldn’t believe that my parents did not like this person.  Oh, they had reason to feel the way they did, I accept that.  I was the one who was blind in love, I was the one who was going to change their mind, I was the one to change a negative into a positive, things would work out in my favor.

Well, things did not work out in my favor.  After too many nights of having to deal his drama with alcohol and viejas, I decided that I needed to get out of this mess and I left him.   I had estranged myself from my family where he was concerned, and so I really didn’t know who I could talk to about how sad and devastated I was.  I thought that no one would understand me and that they would just be glad that I had come to my senses.  I was not in any mood to be judged, I just wanted understanding.  I kicked myself for living a double life and for keeping things from my family and friends.  So now I had this intense drama going on in my head and I started beating myself up MORE for being with this person than GIVING MYSELF PROPS for being smart enough to walk away from a bad situation.  So, as often happens when one is overwhelmed and battling every kind of emotion, I became very depressed.  I also thought that, “there’s no way that anyone knows how I’m feeling because I haven’t told anyone anything.”  Yeah, right.

Mama knew.

My mother had always been pretty religious, very Catholic.  She would always say things like ‘Let Go And Let God‘ and told us to “pray about it” and “believe” and things like that.  I’d sit there rolling my eyes saying, “ay Mom” and things like that.  But Margaret, always persistent, never gave up and, one day, she tells me that there was a Healing Mass coming up and that we should go,  Healing Masses are done all of the time in Catholic churches, it’s a time where you can receive a great amount of prayer for whatever illness or sadness you are going through.  I’m like “yeah, yeah” rolling my eyes and thinking, “she’ll forget about this”.  Well, forget she did not, and the day came for the Healing Mass.

I remember going into the Mass, still with some of my attitude on, thinking about “what will this do for me?“.  At one point during the Mass, there came a point where I had to go up to the altar where there were people standing in a circle who would pray for whatever I asked them to pray for.  I went up to the circle and told them how sad I was because of a breakup and they all started to pray over me.   I went back to my seat, a little confused and thinking about how this was going to help me because I felt the same as I did before.

After everyone else had gone up to be prayed over, we had to stand up for some reason.  As the priest was speaking, don’t ask me what he was saying, I put my hands on the pew in front of me.  As I stood there, I started to feel my body moving, like something was trying to get out.  I closed my eyes and, to my astonishment, I started to feel like my body was actually rising up, that I was starting to levitate, and I remember holding on to that pew for dear life, because I was sure that I was going to start flying.  I started crying because I didn’t really understand what was happening and because I didn’t know how to fly.

Once I realized that I was fighting this too much, I figured I would relax and let go – after all, I was in a church, what harm could come to me there?   As I relaxed my hold on the pew and just surrendered to the feeling of levitation, I started to feel something making its way out of my body, and making its way in color, I saw a dark gray film rising before my eyes and, as I looked up, it was moving up as well!  After seeing this, I sat down and tried to get myself together.  I was completely floored, exhausted, and at peace.  I remember looking over at Mama and, as we locked eyes, and we both knew that I had come through the other end.  I never knew if she ever saw what I had felt and seen just a few minutes earlier but I know that she understood that something profound had happened.  Now that I look back, how cool is it that I was able to share this with my mother?  Just like God, she never left me ever, I was not all alone.

I hadn’t really thought too much about that experience in many years.   In fact, as I listened to the radio on that Friday night, as others spoke about AWE, I almost hesitated as I dialed the phone number to tell MY story of Awe.  I was shocked that the phone actually rang and was answered by a call screener.  I would be telling my story to the world in a few minutes!   As I told my story of Awe on-air, I realized that AWE moments should not be forgotten, that reaching back to this moment in my life might have helped me to see the roadblocks, stop signs, signals that would cross my path in the future.  I cannot explain, to this day, why God chose that precise moment to personally bless me with peace and love.  I have learned that it’s important to talk (or write about)  about these wonder-filled moments to help me/us reflect on as heal and move forward from life’s disappointments, sad or bad times.

What is your moment of AWE?  Embrace, heal, and learn from this moment.

#52essays2017

050537239a3b6526f595c943bdb4254d-copy

 

Your Mama Says “Hi” #52essays2017


yourmomquickmeme

As I got home tonight from work, Dad told me that he went to see Mama at the cemetery. He always says “Your Mama Says Hi”. I have been missing “Señora” big time today.  It’s cold, it’s dark, and I’m just getting over flu/bronchitis and sometimes all you want is your mama to make it all better. That’s it, that’s all I wanted today.  I love it when he tells us that ‘your Mama says hi’ like as if she’s going to be home in a little while or something.

I don’t know what it was about being near Mama, I felt safe, she wasn’t the ‘huggy huggy’ type and I didn’t feel offended because I think that she may have wanted to be more cariñosa with us but she was embarrassed, and maybe she thought that she didn’t know how to be more physically affectionate, who knows.  A lot of ladies from her generation were the same way.   I learned how to live with this but I just always k n e w that my mother loved me because she felt things so deeply. I could always sense when Mama was sad or hurt; maybe because I am the same way, my feelings run veeeery deep.  However, Mama always connected really well through writing, thank God. I have so many loving notes and letters from her. I treasure them all but I really love the stuff she’d write after she had her stroke, when she had to start from zero and learn to write with her left hand (as the right one was paralyzed), where a small note would take her hours to write, when she was as close to her inner chingona as possible, when she had decided that, by holding things in, she had a hand in her stroke changing her life forever. From that moment on, she always always always told us to never keep things in, so that we wouldn’t end up like her – in a wheelchair, walking with a cane, no longer able to drive or move about carefree.

Many many times she’d tell me to “calm down, don’t be so emotional, stop crying‘, and in the next breath, tell me that she was exactly the same way at my age.   Someone, somewhere along Mama’s life, must have told her to keep things inside, that it wasn’t cool to cry and carry on.  Maybe Mama’s generation were afraid of emotion, afraid of losing control, afraid of not being able to come back from an emotional outburst.  I didn’t, and still don’t, understand how one can hold in every single feeling, it would make me physically sick to hold so much in. I’ve learned thru life (and shots of therapy) that letting go and losing it all is a great way to get yourself back on track.  I would give anything for Mama and those of her generation to have believed this, they would have been happier and more fulfilled I think.   I always try to be affectionate with our #TorresBabies, no matter the age, breaking that cycle I guess.

Mama’s presence was always enough to calm me.  If she looked calm, I would stop freaking out about this or that.  If I called her and her voice sounded strong and happy, I knew that it was a good day.  Wheelchair or not, paralyzed or not, if I needed an attitude adjustment, advice, or someone to listen to me go on and on and on, Mama was down for it.  Today I so needed to get her take on things, to help get me on track, to have her tell me things like “LetGoAndLetGod” and then telling me to stop rolling my eyes and believe LOL.

She’s been gone 26 months now, and sitting here in her house, near one of her pictures (which, note to self,  needs to be surrounded by lights so that I can see her face at this time of night), I feel her presence and the one thing, the one thing, I want right now is to feel her warmth, to see her face as she helps me figure things out, and to hug and kiss her goodnight.  Maybe her message to me from Dad was her way of letting me know she’s here.   “Hi Mama! Dad gave me your message!”

 

12376019_10206543718805732_8248916162208417302_n

Mama & Me   #52essays2017

Bring the Darkness into the Light sez #InnerChingona

318960

I was asked to translate a story that I told a few years ago about how to get your power back when you are going through any type of abuse.  This kind of situation can be so complicated, hurtful, volatile, confusing, and so full of drama that it is very hard to think clearly.  You are reduced to constant damage-control and to trying to take care of others at the expense of you — when you need rest to recharge and energize yourself back to health, safety, productivity and peace.   I told myself that, if I ever came out on the other side of this crazyass situation, that I would always try to help others find their power.    As this story was written three years ago, I have updated it a little to reflect my thoughts now as I translate it.

sir-francis-bacon

 

I am done hiding. I am done making excuses for this person. I am done acting like I am the only person in the world that this has happened to. Most of all, I am done giving power to people who only want to humiliate me and everything I’m about.

Part of giving power to someone else is to hide, to not let anyone see how affected you are. In the beginning, it is very hard to face anyone because you are ‘sure’ that they know what you are going through, that they can see it on your face,  and the last thing you want is for everyone to know your business, your private drama.   At this point, you are controlled by that person and your circumstances.  It is very hard to think straight and all you can think about is, “I’ve got to keep it together”.

It soon becomes apparent that this is only a facade.  NO one can control the actions of another person forever and I saw, first-hand, how things were completely getting out of control.   We all have that person in our lives to whom we turn to, especially when things are dire.  In my desperate state, I went to my sisters for help.  Scared as I was, I began to feel like my power was slowly returning.

Every time I felt my power come back, I was humbled and thrown down again because this person would do one sinister thing after the other, all in the name of “love”.  I would think, ‘there’s no way he could do this or that…’ and then there would be these sick emails sent to my employers and co-workers one week, and the other, all kinds of crazy postings on my social media, and when that was done, all kinds of weird calls and deliveries would come to my home and office.  Even after all of that, my mind could barely get around this, how could this person want to destroy me, my family and my livelihood?  That I still thought, ‘he’s a complicated person but he can’t REALLY mean what he says/does, can he?’ further shows just how much turmoil and drama was in my life and that I still had a ways to go.

 

Light-and-Dark-with-quote

It was a roller-coaster of emotions and withdrawal and hiding out from friends, family, the world.  I was still trying to ‘control’ things and I still couldn’t see, or should I say, I could not yet accept that I had to “let go and let God” help me.  How did I finally figure this out?   Mama was still with us and I finally sat down with her and told her, straight-up, what was happening with me.  What did Margaret do?  She told me that we all make mistakes and that she would pray for my safety and that ‘this too shall pass’.   Still very scared, I felt much more empowered that night.

A few weeks passed from that night and things escalated big-time when, after I refused to answer my phone, I get a call on my mother’s phone saying, “you gonna talk to me now bitch?”   All of the humiliation came back but this was the first time that I got really angry — my mother did not deserve to be brought into this hell.   At this moment, I knew and understood how many women feel when they say, “that’s it”.   I love Mama forever for not judging me, all she said was, ‘he is sick and we need to keep praying for him and I pray for you every day to be safe’.   Little did I know that, on this night, I would receive over 300 calls from both phones as well as text messages.  I will never forget Mama holding the house phone so that I couldn’t get it and telling me to turn my phone off and try to get rest.  Margaret held that phone with the resolve of a mama bear protecting her cub.  I didn’t dare try to get that phone from her, Mama was the strongest super-heroine EVER that night!

The one thing that I learned that night:  bring the darkness into the light and you will see your power come back big time.   I don’t know what I would have done had I not told my sisters and my mother what was going on with me.  To know that someone had my back 100% was the most empowering feeling ever.   Even though my situation did not end that night and so much has happened and I’ve walked into many walls since then, I often refer to that night where Mama really took care of me, sick as she was, and it allowed me to rest and recharge enough to get through the night and the days to come.   Thinking about that night is always  enough to bring me back to where I need to be for that moment, power restored.

12278774_10153717007517731_1654558379323230580_n

As I translated this into Spanish, I cried all over again.  So many of us Latinas grow up thinking that we are not all that, that we exist to serve and service others.  As we learn to love ourselves a little, we can work on breaking this vicious cycle of hiding, holding things in, taking it to keep peace or to control someone or a situation.   My family is a peace-loving family and I was not brought into this world to live with my head down and not contribute to my familia and my world.   Try to find someone you trust now.  Learn the difference between being used to using a bad situation to benefit you.  This road is long from over but you can prepare yourself for better days and for days where you are not part of someone’s sick game.  Do it for YOU.  I’ve seen with my own eyes how things can and do get better.  Bringing the bad out into the light makes it lose some of its power and, if you’re lucky, you can gain some of that power for yourself.  My goal is to keep my sense of ‘aventada-ness’ and my ‘mevalemadre’ attitude in check so that I will be no one’s ‘sonsatontapendeja’ any more.  Thanks Mama and mis hermanas for showing me that I needed to keep the faith but do my part as well.  Let Go And Let God.  Amen.

 

Feliz Dia de Accion de Gracias 2015!

images

 

What a difference a year makes…Last year all I could do was cry into my food that’s how painful it was to be without my mother. I completely lost my focus, my purpose, and have operated on auto-pilot for many, many months until just a few days ago. #MargaretLivesInMe and I am very thankful for my Dad, my siblings and our Ranch and Grijalva families. Our 17 #TorresBabies continue to bring us much pride and joy – and how much fun are we having watching our lil bebitos King, Yezi, Olivia, and Lucia do something new everyday? Keeping Mama’s traditions alive help me to stay connected to her and I’m thankful for God and for time, which has helped me heal, make my priorities crystal clear and pave the way for whatever comes next.

TAKE PICTURES with your loved ones during the holidays, you will never regret it. Happy Thanksgiving All!

 

 

Mama’s 1st Anniversary In Heaven 11-11-2015

IMG_6942

It’s hard to believe that Mama has been gone from us for a year.  This was the most difficult year ever for the Torres Familia.  As I look at these pictures, I sense the strength, unity and love that we have for each other…THIS is what my mother wanted most for us, she always said that we should clear up any issues or problems with loved ones, that life is too short, that we always needed to be together.   The support we give each other makes the pain much more bearable.

In no particular order, here are some of the things I think about as we celebrate Mama’s First anniversary in Heaven:

Tuesday Nights:  By far, the most difficult night for me during this past year.  Mama left us on a Tuesday night and it was the hardest thing to see her taken from our house and watching the car drive to the back of the Ranch and on the way out forever.   Her Rosary Mass was on a Tuesday night as well…soooo many people showed up thank God or I might have had a really difficult time.  I’ve always had a very hard time attending Rosary and Funeral Masses.  I know that it is necessary to pay one’s respects as well as getting a chance to say goodbye and have closure, that doesn’t make it easier for me though.  All of the those emotions seem to find their way to me on Tuesday nights.

Driven No More:  I have lived my life completely driven and moved very fast and worked hard all of the time, 24/7.  I also spent time very afraid and didn’t want to imagine my life without my parents.  Once I lost Mama and once I saw that I survived, very sad, but survived, everything that I was about before changed.   Gone was the need to be so driven, gone was the need to move at breakneck speed, gone was the need to run, always run.  I finally lost the fear and the need to please everyone all of the time.   In my business, that instinct is very important to success so I know that I’ve lost out on some opportunities because I was no longer willing to play the game.  It is no longer the end of the world for me.

Lost In a Good Way:  I’ve been very distracted, disconnected, lost .  I’m not really worried about it though.  It’s time to do things another way, to live in peace, to change-up my priorities.   Family and Peace are the two things that I think about the most now.  I want to keep up my mother’s traditions, make good on my promise to keep the family together, and I love it that peace is coming back into my life more and more – I’m done with putting drama front and center, I am over that.  Being at peace is helping this girl finally find her way and reason for being.

As long as Mama is happy, I’m happy:  I was the one who had the hardest time accepting that Mama no longer wanted to do her dialysis treatments, she was tired of all of the needles, the lack of energy, the pain, all of it.  I thought that, as the days went on, that she would change her mind once things got difficult for her without dialysis.  The thing is, things didn’t get more difficult for her, they got more peaceful, she didn’t seem to be in physical pain – in some ways, she was stronger physically WITHOUT food or water.   Mama wasn’t emaciated or anything so I knew that God was taking care of her and eventually, I accepted everything.  When I get sad, I think of how ready she was to get to her eternal home and this comforts me.

Embrace the Signs:  Instead of being afraid of the signs:  lights randomly turning on, Mama’s birds singing so loud, seeing Mama in dreams, or random “Margaret” songs that come on the radio; I am grateful to maintain the connection to my mother and welcome any message or sign from her.   She’s very much alive in my heart and soul, I love being around her house and things.  I feel her energy helping to move me forward.

My life changed forever on November 11, 2014 when Mama left this earth.  Slowly but surely, things are starting to feel right again.  We Torres’ are still strong and we are still together … everything else will, eventually,  fall into place.

IMG_4623

Day 14 of Hispanic Heritage Month Photo Challenge: Hoy/Today #HHM15Foto

12065544_10206137912060817_2593538961948218285_n

 

As El Dia de Los Muertos approaches, I think about how much my life today is IN FLUX and going thru a lot of CHANGE. I’m still trying to find my way after Mama’s passing and, more than that, trying to figure out what I want to do and how I want to live the rest of my life. I feel good about whatever comes next because I know three things: God exists: there’s no way Mama could have gone weeks without food or drink before her passing, He took care of her and us. 2) Mama always calmed me down whenever I worried that the family wouldn’t be together, “you’re all too old to change now, you’ll always stay together” 3) This ‘giving myself away’ attitude ended on 11/11/2014 so whatever is next for me will be positive and right. Just like Mama said it would be LOL #HHM15Foto ‪#‎MargaretLivesInMe‬

mamatable

Celebrating Ranch Mom Week: The Importance of Bonus Mothers

546002_3531414118070_17694968_n

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.

545791_3531405557856_648334987_n

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.

ita

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!

10482199_826497264059731_2699321042217099975_n

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:

11666074_10205603184852971_1119109154933971954_n11148765_10205495836849338_8582462608808093725_n

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

tia elvira

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…

IMG_421110665232_10203797196224384_5750550334648008615_n

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!

2015

1503356_10154943151295717_1082827901276725223_n

Before September, much of my life revolved around the care of my mother, the familia, and my work.   I was able to watch our kids working it and growing more independent:  Our Diana was back to work full time and being the great mama to Ruben, Angel, Aliyah and King.   STE 2, our Stephen, received his BA Degree from San Francisco State University, got his first real job and is at SFSU to finish up his Master’s Degree.  Our Yazi also graduated from Pre-school into Kinder!  Our smart bebita loves school.  Saw our Nicolasa end up the year with THREE jobs lucky girl as she figures out where she will focus her career.  Mikey 3 got a new job as bass player for Little Joe y La Familia, which made us all proud!   Angelo’s rough year ended up the most positive way possible:  with the birth of our lil Yesenia in October.  Our CC brought our lil Olivia into the world in November and, after a rough delivery, both of our girls are doing well.   Went to my papito David’s first School Band Concert and our Antonia asked me to her Nina for Confirmation in Spring 2015, you know we will wear green LOL.

mmt7 LGBDAYFAM fambydoor 999017_10200624262063013_961019772_n 232323232-fp53854-nu=4273-563-532-WSNRCG=3-;765;3;432-nu0mrj

Mama’s health took a turn for the worse at the end of September.  I never imagined that it would be time to say goodbye to her but it turns out, Mama was ready for the next phase of her life.   It took me the longest to accept this new reality; I was so against everything that meant that my mother had to leave me.  However, once I  saw how much at peace she was with ‘going home’, I finally saw the importance of letting our loved ones be happy and that if letting go of Mama had to happen, well then it had to happen.

To have been able to have been with Mama for those final weeks was the best gift that I could have received.  Mama knew how I felt and she would tell me that she was praying most for me so that I could accept her new reality.   Mama was also able to comfort me a few times when I was so tired that all I could do was cry to her.   We were all able to, in time, see that Mama and God had made the best decision that Mama would not suffer anymore, that she would be free of all of the physical limitations and all of that medication, that Mama would be at her eternal home.    The saddest time for me was when they had to pick up Mama and take her out of our house for the last time.    However, I was very happy that we were able to give Mama the most fitting, poignant and awesome send-off ever!  I’ll be writing thank you cards well into the next month, eso si.

While our lives are completely different now, the only way that we have been able to survive is to keep up the traditions that she started for us:  Staying together always, watching out for Dad, praying together and saying “I love you”.       I feel her absence the most when I’m on the road.  I used to call her almost daily from my many commutes over the years so it’s all been about crying as I learn to talk to her now whenever I feel her spirit around me.

It was one trancazo after another for me in 2014 at Entravision Radio.  People always told me that if I survived the first 6 months of radio sales, that I would be ok.  Happy to say that I have just completed my second year in radio sales and I feel accomplished because I have learned to better manage the highs, lows and trancazos of my industry.  I enjoy my work and I am looking forward to a fun 2015 in radiolandia.

Now that I have more time, I intend to focus my energy in a positive way toward my health, family, friends, and my writing.  I send tons of emails to myself with writing ideas, it will be fun to start developing these ideas into stories/articles for my blog.   It’s all about appreciating what I have around me instead of always looking for the next best thing in 2015.  Mama always said that, as long as the important things were in a good place – family, health, faith, – that the rest of the positive energy would follow.    Here’s hoping that Mama moves some of her ‘influencias’ up there to keep me on track.

Take time to connect with those people important to you in your lives, take pictures when you are together, and, when confronted with decisions large and small,  as Mama always told us, “Let Go and Let God”.  Have a blessed New Year!   Love this foto of us taken a few days ago at Ranch Christmas.

150756_10204173910121996_7517242369993197487_n