It’s a Strange World…

I remember the Myspace rage–posting photos, songs, making playlists.  I have actually made and kept some Myspace friends from those early days of growing social media.  I am as guilty as the next 30-something-er for having too much on social media.  Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Instagram–they all have grown in popularity!  I use them mostly for pleasure, but in recent years, I have also relied on Twitter and Facebook for networking with my job.

I know that my name is out there too much.  Essentially, all you have to do is Google me and up pops my life story!  I know I have too many pictures of my family.  As my new principal likes to tease, he found my naked pictures of Ale a signal of motherhood.  I know I should start thinking of closing some of my sites down… And yet, social media is also how I stay connected with my friends at home!

I love the Timehop photos my friends always post on Facebook.  I can’t do that–as my Facebook is only three years old.  When I came to Mexico, I started a new Facebook.  I called it my Mexican Facebook–a place for a clean slate.  People would only be my friends from my old life if they sought me out.  Eventually my new Facebook grew into what it is today:  mostly new Mexico Facebook friends mixed with a growing number of friends from high school and my Virginia life.

In all this time of being a social media junkie, I have had no security issues.  Until today.  Really it is quite strange.  I have had people ask to be my friends on Facebook that I do not know.  And today I received two notifications–Facebook and my email–letting me know that someone is trying to sign onto my account.  Interesting, huh?  For the life of me, I can’t figure out what would make someone want to get into my business.

A warning to you social-media junkies: Something strange is in the air.

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Love in the Sink–Year Three

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Today is our anniversary–three wonderful years! We were talking about going out last week, and I mentioned getting a babysitter for Allie. “Or,” Victor replied, “We can just take her with us.”

What was unexpected was that we would wake up today forgetting it was the anniversary, rush out the door to catch the bus to school, then receive a call from daycare that the punkin’ is sick…again… (Daycare will be the death of us…) The family anniversary date is on hold for the time being.

In any case, I love my sweet husband with that big ol’ heart! These three years have been so full of love for us–sloshing over the side like Ale’s bath water! He never ceases to amaze me with his high moral standards, kindness and compassion for others, and his love for his family. Here’s to another three years!

My cup runneth over…

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A Letter to My Almost-Two-Year-Old

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Hi My Baby,

Today it hit me like a ton of bricks.  You, my sweet angel, are almost two!  How did this happen?!  How did you grow so fast?!  Where have the last two years gone?

I remember two years ago: I was awaiting your arrival with great anticipation.  I must have washed your cloth diapers a dozen times–washing, hanging them to dry, folding them…  I spent my evenings making a blanket for you, and dreaming of the day I could hold you in my arms.  I watched video after video of other births, and prepared for my own by buying everything my doctor would need.  I began to envision the painless perfect moment you would be in my arms…

Now I watch you play with your puppy, both of you a tangle of limbs and bodies.  He pesters you by nipping at your ankles and following you around.  You boss him around, telling him, “No!” when he tries to take your toys or jump on you.  He’s a good fur brother for you to practice on before your space gets invaded by a real brother.  He’s also your first thought in the morning!  You come pitter-patting into the kitchen smiling long before your daddy.  Without waiting for mama to make her coffee, you walk to the door.  “Dog?” you ask, pulling on the knob.

You are a busy little girl!  You are currently “cleaning” with a sponge, but it won’t be long before you are on to something else.  I watch you play mommy with your babies, then set them aside to build towers of blocks.  I couldn’t be more proud of you, my love!  Your twinkling eyes flash mischeviously my way, right before your tower crashes to the floor spilling legos all over.  “Uh oh!” you cry out with glee.  It isn’t long before you begin singing the clean-up song, picking your blocks up to put in your grocery cart.

I know that one day this won’t be amusing, but I am proud of you for knowing what you want…or don’t want.  Your wagging finger and firm, “No,” in response to my question regarding bedtime makes me grin inside.  “Ale,” I ask, “Do you want to put on your pajamas?”  “No!” you say.  “Do you want to go play in the water?” I try out my fun version of asking you to take a bath.  “No!” I hear again.  Most of my questions are met with no–with the exception of one or two .  “Ale, do you want a cookie?”  “Si,” you say, smiling and reaching for a Maria.

“Pup,” you say to me, reaching your arms up to be held.  I snuggle you for as long as you let me, but you have so much to do!  Wiggling down, you run to your markers to write.  A few minutes later you tell me, “Bye,” as you blow me kisses and walk away.  You, my independent little girl, are so full of life!

Little Allie, your mama and daddy dreamed about your arrival two years ago–but those dreams just keep growing and changing with you.  I hope you always take time to play and enjoy those around you.  I hope you continue to keep busy with the things that interest you.  I hope you always feel powerful enough to stand up for yourself and say, “No.”  And I hope that you re never too big to want to climb up next to me for love and snuggles.

My almost-two-year-old, you are my all.

Lots of love,
Your Mami

Mommy Wars in Mexico

I’ve been thinking about these Mommy Wars that you hear about. (Without social media, would they exist?) Basically, this refers to moms judging one another for what they feed their kids, whether or not they immunize their kids, if they use cloth or regular diapers, if their boys are circumsized or not… The list goes on.

Well, if the Mommy Wars were Mexican they would different. They wouldn’t be about breastfeeding, childbirth, or food. Nope, this is what makes the list:

1). Does your kid wear shoes or go barefoot?
2). Do you cover your babies up sufficiently–even in 100 degree weather?
3). Does your kid bath, swim, or play in cool water?
4). Do you give your kids cold drinks or ice cream?
5). Do you coddle your kids enough or do you expect some independence?
6). Does everything get -ito attached to the end when talking to children? (Platito, besito, amorcito, etc.)

Basically, Mommy Wars don’t exist here because you don’t have to be a mommy to tell others what they should do with their kids. Mommy Wars at home refers to women feeling judged. Rarely does someone actually say, “Hey, woman, you shouldn’t sleep with your two year old.” Here? There are no boundaries…

If Juan Venada (John Doe) saw me carrying Ale without a blanket covering her mouth, he would feel the need to tell me what to do. Once a lady stopped her car on the street to give us her sweatshirt for the baby. Basically, if you are living and breathing, that gives you the right to tell people your opinion about raising children in Mexico.

Mommy Wars? I don’t think so… These are Pueblo Wars.

A Letter to My Exes

Dear ________ (Insert Ex-Boyfriend’s Name),
I am writing this letter to thank you. It occurred to me today that, without you, I wouldn’t be the woman I am. Your choices, while at the time were heartbreaking, have led me down a path that has been lined with sweet-smelling roses.

See, _______, I was young when I met you. I didn’t have much confidence in myself as a woman. The one thing I did have confidence in was my brain. It didn’t take long for me to realize that you were smarter than me. More worldly. You spoke about travesty and human rights, and I listened. My heart grew to love people that spoke other languages. And my desire to travel the world became a number on the bucket list that you critiqued. “Why would you put this on your list?” you questioned, reading “Swim with dolphins.” “This one is good,” you continued, adding a star beside, “Run a marathon.

The thing is, while breaking up with you never crossed my mind, it was always on your mind, ________. I was a bandaid. You held me tightly to keep from bleeding out, and I learned another important lesson. Stitching up one’s wounds can leave you with your own scars. Scars are a sign of strength though, and in giving to others, I learned take what I needed along the way. That wasn’t robbery–merely a silent system of bartering. You taught me that no matter the pain, sharing a father meant that we forgive. Family ties made in heaven can’t be broken along with hearts.

And broken hearts, __________, they may never completely heal. But that is okay. Because without being broken, I may have never made the choices that led me to where I am. You inadvertently taught me to trust in God with each painful lesson I learned in not trusting you. Praying for you was easy, _________, because I saw you in each Proverb I read. Praying for you was easy, because I knew that if our relationship wasn’t forged in heaven it wasn’t one that I needed. Praying for you was what I did every time you ran across my mind–and that was easier than crying for you, pining for you, waiting for you…

See, dear ___________, I look upon my time with you fondly. It was with you that I learned more about me. This letter, written from that cracked and bruised heart, is to thank you. Cracks and bruises aren’t anything to be ashamed of. You gave me courage, because being broken was never an option. I woke up this morning with a grateful heart. I snuggled my baby, kissed my husband, and sat down with the workers to eat breakfast. My life is different than it was when I was with you, ____________. It isn’t the thing that dreams are made of–because never did I dream a life like this.

When I say, I wish you the best, please know that I am wishing you the same pleasure with your families that I get from mine.

Thank you,
Jania

Footnote added February 13, 2015 FYI: While I never thought my exes would ever read this, it isn’t anything I am ashamed of. It isn’t written to one ex in particular, but rather references several of my most memorable boyfriends. It isn’t a note declaring my undying love, but rather this letter was inspired by my realization that without my exes, I wouldn’t be here (in Mexico with my family).