The Land of My Birth (a.k.a The Weirdest Place on Earth)

I have a list of things I have to do while I am home.  Buying underwear, socks, and tennis shoes is on that list along with getting a social security number for my bebita.  

Last August I prepared all of my re-certification paperwork in Tennessee for my teaching license.  I have never taught here as a teacher, but I know that I might return someday.  So I petitioned Fairfax County for all the certificates from the training I had received.  I received a package, made copies, and left it with my Mom.  

I also left my mom the paperwork to send off to get an apostilized birth certificate.  Do you see where I am heading with this?

Sometime in late August, Mama tells me what she did.  She packaged everything together and sent it all to the office for my birth certificate.  I received my birth certificate in a very timely manner, but I never heard a word from the Education Department.

I didn’t give it much thought until this morning.  Bebita and I woke up at five thirty, and while she played in her play gym, I started looking for more info about my teaching certificate.  

Only in Tennessee would someone be nice enough to forward all that information.  Because somehow, I have an extended expiration date on my teaching license…  Oh, Tennessee, you are so weird.  But I am oh-so-grateful for whoever worked things out for me!

Home Visit

Maci and Ale

I watched my baby last night–she was laying on a blanket in the floor, and Mama was “gettin’ her.”  In the South, that means that she was tickling her tummy all the while saying, “I’m gonna getcha, getcha, getcha!”  Alexandria laughed and laughed.  The sound makes my heart so happy.

During the night, she snuggles up to me like never before.  I can’t decide if this is because she’s extra snuggly (being away from her daddy and home), or if it has something to do with the pillow-top mattress we sleep on.  Hard Mexican beds don’t allow for a lot of movement during the night.  She cuddles up beside me, and I look down to see her cubby little arms tucked between us.  This morning Mama took her and played with her–letting me get a few extra winks.

At gospel meeting yesterday, she sat up on my lap.  It makes me sad that her papi couldn’t see her.  She was (is) so big!  Her cousins (from the youngest to the oldest) wanted to play with her during meeting.  I remember that, you know.  I loved sitting with my nephews in Omaha.  It gave me something to do other than listen…  Hence the reason why I said, “No” when my very capable niece wanted to hold Ale.

Oh, sweet Ale!  She is so loved!  My suegra (mother-in-law) loves it when her son tells her everyone loves our baby.  It makes me so content and proud to see everyone loving on my baby.  She’s got an important role, I just know it.  There’s a place that she’ll fill someday–maybe just giving unconditional love to God’s children!  Only he knows, but I hope he empowers me us to raise a beautiful, strong, kind, and helpful young woman.

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Summer Jet Plans

Victor just left.  It’s 1:15 a.m., and this is the first time I have been without my husband since November.  I guess what makes this a bittersweet situation is the circumstances.

The baby and I are heading north for vacation on Thursday.  My husband is heading south tomorrow (this) morning.  His flight is leaving from Monterrey, and first he has to take a bus.   We won’t see each other for one month.

Have I mentioned how frustrated he gets rushing?  It’s funny, lately he’s been saying, “That makes me stressing!”  I kind of correct him, knowing that he has learned another new English phrase thanks to my overuse of the word stress.  So, because rushing makes him “stressing,” he is leaving on the 1:30 a.m. bus to Monterrey.  Poor guy.  He’s got to be tired.

I can’t believe the bebita will be without her daddy.  I am really hoping that tomorrow goes well for her–hopefully so, because it’s her first day of school tomorrow.   ha!  I have a feeling that her daddy is really going to be missing her too.  Sometimes, when we go to bed at night, he will look at her and say, “We have such a great daughter.”

She is so wonderful.  I am so excited for her to get to meet her aunts and uncles… all 12 of them.  Not to mention that in a period of one month, she will have met 25 of her 26 cousins.  Gasp!  We have big families!  How blessed we are!

Well, I suppose I should check to make sure that Husband-o-Mine made it safely to the bus station.  You know Torreon…it’s a war zone out there.  (Joking, Mama, just joking…)

 

A Letter to Baby on Father’s Day

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Dear Sweet Baby,

You should know, your daddy loves you more than any other man ever could. Someday, if your path leads to marriage, you will began looking for a husband. I am hoping that day will be when you’re older–and wiser about what you should look for in a mate. Oh! how I wish I could tell you to hold out for the right man! But if you’re anything like your mama, you’ll have to find him the hard way.

A couple days ago, I asked your daddy, “Victor Papi, what’s the best thing about being a dad?” He paused for a moment, and replied, “Having a daughter.” My heart melted. You are his treasure, he’ll do anything to give you the best (not the most expensive) things in life. That doesn’t mean toys and electronics, baby.

Nope! That means that he is willing to stay in Mexico as long as necessary, because you need to speak Spanish proficiently. He can’t wait for you to learn all the things a good Mexican (woman) knows.

“Someday,” he tells me, “I want you to teach my baby how to make tortillas. And she needs to learn to put things where they go. I don’t want her to put her things all over the place.” I can’t wait to teach you how to be a Mexican, my love. But you must learn to be American too.

So if you choose to have a Mexican husband, you should let him make tortillas every once in a while. Let him change the diapers, cook the supper, and mop the floor. Because a good American woman lets her husband share household responsibilities.

Giving you the best means that he is willing to stay home with you all day long–even when he’s going crazy being stuck in the house. It means that he washes your cloth diapers Mami bought you, because he wants the best from your head to your toes bottom! It means that he will go with you to get your shots, even though he starts to tear up when you’re in pain. It means that he is willing to cut a trip short to see his parents, because he doesn’t want you to be hot and covered in mosquito bites! Oh, honey, you are so loved.

I see the way your daddy looks at you–and the way you light up when he talks to you. You’ve got a good one, Bebita! Be nice to him, okay? I dread the day you’ll be embarrassed to kiss him goodbye. Or if you become embarrassed about being Mexican. I know teenagers get a little weird, but please be sweet to your daddy always. Give me your mean and snarkiness, I can take it…

Actually, Sweet Pea, if you could just stay loving, that would make us all happy…

Someday, my love, you will realize all that your daddy has done for you. You will think him all day with a heart full of love. When that day comes, don’t forget to call him on Father’s Day. That’s only something your mommy does…

Love,
Mami

P.S. Happy Father’s Day to the first man that loved me. XOXO

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Teacher Let The Monkeys Out Year Two

I have never in my life seen so many students crying.  Today was the last day my kids were in school, and you know how in the States kids get super excited?  My kids cried.  I would like to believe that it’s because I am an amazing teacher and they will miss me so much, but really, it’s not that.

First of all, they have a flare for drama–it is what makes my Mexican students so lovable, fun, and frustrating.  So when the waterworks started in one kid, I knew it was because he is moving in about three weeks to Monterrey.  When two girls started crying, I knew it was because their home lives are a little lonely.  But then, it was like an epidemic.  Before I knew it, half of my class had teared up, and this hormonal teacher started crying too.

Now, here’s the thing.  I love my students.  I care about them.  I have enjoyed them.  I will even miss them to a degree.  But I am NOT sad that it is the last day of school!!  While other first year teachers have been telling me how sad they are all week, I have bit my tongue.  Because saying, “Oh, well, that will change!” isn’t something a first year teacher likes to hear or believe.  I remember.  So I didn’t say it.  But I sure did think it!  So these tears?  I attribute them to hormones.  I knew crying would just make things worse, so I choked them back and hid them from the kiddos.

THEN, we went to dismissal.  A older student found out that his cousin died.  Someone called his mom while they were sitting there waiting, and I was alerted by his tone of voice.

“Que paso? Que paso?” he said urgently.  Then he broke down.  I was worried.  I was sad.  But I didn’t know him–so I was able to walk away dry-eyed when I saw he was being taken care of by the counselor.  Until I started thinking about that poor mama.  Oh, my!  If I were to lose my Bebita!  Ah!  I can’t even stand to think about it!!

I calmed down–and returned to normal.

Then, my little boy who is moving came back with his mom.

“He is sad, because he is going to miss you,” she said, “He doesn’t want to leave.”

“Oh!  You’ll have so much fun!” I assured him.   Before I knew it, the mama was tearing up.  I looked at her a little worried and confused.

I asked, “Are you okay?”

She nodded towards her son and said, “It’s just because…”

I sprung another leak.  I finally understand!  I used to think my Mama was silly when she would look so hurt when we were sick or hurting.  It always kinda made me laugh.  Never again!  I get it!  And while the office staff, other parents, my co-teachers, and students looked on, I stopped holding it back.

And there we stood, us three, crying over the last day of school (kind of).

Pump and Dump

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Suspecting you’re pregnant is a little awkward when you have a newborn baby. Not that I wouldn’t love another someday, but Irish Twins while living in Mexico wasn’t isn’t really in my plans. Big sigh of relief when I found out that it just parasites (I guess a baby is a parasite too–but I’m referring to the wiggly kind that give you some serious issues…)

That’s right, people. Parasites have now been upgraded to Just Parasites.

In Chiapas, I was told that you should take an anti-parasite pill every six months. And I had to take my first pill about three months in. It’s really no big deal. You just swallow a pill–and usually your problems will start clearing up in a couple days.

I went to the drug store for a little info. At pharmacies in the States pharmacists are equipped with knowledge at their fingertips. In fact, we are giving a pamphlet of information AND we have to sign a form agreeing or disagreeing to council with the pharmacist. Not in Mexico.

In Mexico, if you ask the question, “Can I breastfeed while taking this?” the first thing the lady behind the counter does is turn the box over to observe an emblem of a pregnant woman with a / (slash) through her. This emblem is on EVERYTHING.

After she tells you that you need to talk to a doctor, that is it. No more information will be given to you. I waited to see the doctor at another pharmacy, but when he wanted to prescribe a anti-nausea pill, I decided he wasn’t worth my time.

Four pharmacies and no anti-parasite pill, and I returned home with a papaya. After all, remember? The seeds are supposed to be helpful at ridding your body of pests. The next morning, Victor headed out to the pharmacy. I didn’t last long…

We talked to the doctors, and decided it would be best to pump my milk for a while. I figured it was a good thing I had over eighty ounces stored in the freezer. The first time I pumped, it was one of those strange times where I got close to ten ounces. I almost cried watching that precious gold go down the drain! I did cry later that night when Alexandria was fussy for some mommy milk and I was unable to accommodate her.

The next day was tougher. I swear she snubbed me–gave me the cold shoulder. I never realized just how hard that would be… How amazing it felt to snuggle her close to me today! Next time, I might as well make that parasite comfy! It will be really hard to do this again!

Something to Smile About

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I made my way to the highest point I could, and I waited.

The anticipation builds, but your eyes stay glued to the horizon.  A tiny pin-prick of light appears on the other side of the dark mountains in front of you.  It spreads across the sky as if the sky is cracking open–lighting up the clouds with beautiful blues and purples.

It takes your breath–and you can’t look away for fear of missing something extraordinary.  I used to think that there was nothing like a Tennessee Sunrise in the morning.  Until now.

By far, the best thing about sleeping with my baby is when we wake up.  This morning it was with eyelashes fluttering against my arm where her head was rested.  Some mornings it is with her rooting for something good to eat like a little piggy–soft snorts and whistling letting me know how hungry she is.

Sometimes my baby wakes with a startling cry–and I wonder if she had a bad dream.  Maybe a nightmare that she was all alone (because bad guys with guns don’t exist yet in her world).

Occasionally, she’ll start cooing and talking.  Sometimes a bit of whining.  Every once in a while, I will feel her hand slapping against me with erratic movements–as if to say, “Hey, Mama! It’s morning!  Time to wake up!”

Today it was eyelashes.  So I opened my eyes and stared lovingly into her great big brown eyes.

“Good morning,” I said softly, “Good morning, sweet angel.”

Then, it was the moment that I wait for.  A little twinkle appeared first, then the sweetest smile spread across her face lighting up the room.  And I couldn’t look away for fear of missing something extraordinary.

It used to be mountain morning sunrises.  Those sunrises have got nothing on my sweet sugar’s smile.