My mother had
Long black shiny hair
Straight down her back
Parted in the middle
I thought it was so elegant
And beautiful, like Cher's.
It was the 70's.
My mother wore her bell bottom
Jeans, a wonderful patchwork
Of every shade of blue
Stitched together in tiny squares.
I used to run my tiny fingers
Over the bumpy seams
As I lay my head in her lap
After kindergarten had ended for the day.
We were on the couch watching the soaps. "The Edge of Night" and "As the World Turns". I was tired as Mami smoothed my curly hair off of my face and gently behind my ear. She lovingly caressed my back as I faded into my nap. I've never felt so safe and loved as in those times.
These were our times...2 years before my little brother came and then right after him it seemed, another brother to love as well.
But in the beginning, it was Mami and me and daddy after work and on weekends.
My Mami taught me so many things; how to play "go fish" and how to hold the cards in my hand so daddy wouldn't cheat. She taught me how to grow seeds in tiny cups of soil and how to plant a tree from an avocado seed.
She taught me how to read by the time I was three. As she held up alphabet flash cards, the consonants were blue and the vowels red. They had a sandy texture as she held my finger to trace all the shapes as she helped me make the right sounds to match. She read me so many, many books. It felt like hours of reading and yet when she put the book down I always begged for more. I owe her for my love and respect of words.
She taught me math, as she first counted to herself in Spanish and then told me in English. I marveled at the way she spoke Spanish with Abuelo and Abuelita, the words like a loud rhythmic song flowing together in a symphony. And I didn't learn it until much later, actually I never spoke it well, but I did come to understand it as it flowed around me at family gatherings. It was such a beautiful mystery to me as a child.
And I remember, going to campuses with my mother. Citrus College and Mt. Sac, as we sat on an old orange comforter with worn spots from sitting. We were surrounded by my mother's heavy textbooks of micro biology and the sciences.
I collected purple flowers for her that fell from the trees around us in the Quad. She taught me how to preserve them in her heavy books. I loved those moments.
And she was always smiling behind her books, absorbing and learning and thinking for herself.
She taught me that too.
As she took off my hot shoes and let me run barefoot while she put her tiny bare feet into the deep green grass around us.
Years later she would get her Master's in bilingual education so she could teach so many others all the lessons she taught me.
She worked so hard to do all of it, and I'm so beyond blessed to say she is still working so hard at being my mother.
I'm forever indebted.
Always loving you Mami,
Happy Mother's Day 2022