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Category Archives: Family Heart
Disclaimer: I am not pregnant.
Since my blog documents my heart, I thought it would be neat to share “letters” to our hopefully future ShuGar baby who does not exist just yet, but lives only in our hearts. To read my first post to our ShuGar baby, click here. If Mr. ShuGar and I are blessed to one day have a child, I would love to read these letters to our little one and share our love.
Dearest ShuGar Baby,
When I was single, I used to take memoir writing classes and I truly loved them. I really felt like I was in my element. I was lucky to have some amazing teachers who inspired us to tell our stories. One of my favorite writing assignments to help get the creative juices flowing was a ten minute free write answering this question:
What is home?
When I was a little girl, I thought my dad was one of the tallest and strongest men on the planet. To me, no man ever came close to the level of admiration and respect I have for my daddy. At least, not until Mr. ShuGar came into my life.
For women, I am a firm believer that the relationship you have with your father will profoundly influence the type of partner you choose to spend the rest of your life with. This can cut both ways; if you have a dysfunctional paternal relationship, your future may not bode well, but if you have a healthy relationship with your father, you can potentially be on the right path to finding a suitable partner.
Of course, these are sweeping generalities, but I do think there is some truth to this. Precisely for this reason, a woman’s relationship with her father is instrumental in her understanding of what a true “man” is. I can say that Mr. ShuGar embodies all the qualities of my daddy that I have always loved and admired. In essence, my daddy modeled to me the man I should marry. Without my daddy’s guidance, I probably would have never married Mr. ShuGar. For this, and so many other reasons, I am eternally grateful to daddy.
Sadly, I think that dad’s don’t get enough attention. After all, traditionally, they spend less time with their children because they are at work all day. However, a dad is the first person who shows you how to love the opposite sex. This is the greatest gift my daddy has ever given me – the gift of love and how to be loved.
My daddy is my inspiration. He superseded many odds to be an accomplished educator. He attended one of the best universities in the country with the additional challenge of only learning English a few years before his college years. He always sat down along side me to help me with my homework, even when I couldn’t master it. He would be there after a long day of work – encouraging me and teaching me. I credit my daddy with giving me my Beatles education, which would later come in handy when I would meet Mr. ShuGar. These days, he is also our unofficial handyman and I appreciate all he has already done for our home. My daddy taught me the art of writing. He gave life to my words and, ultimately, to this blog. He never abandoned us — my sister, mother, and me; not physically, not financially, not emotionally. He was always there.
Now, in all honesty, my daddy and I have not had the easiest relationship. We both have very strong personalities; a little similar is what I have been told, which has caused a lot of clashing. Oh, those teenage years were the worst! My dad was strict, but always fair. Sometimes when I am at work, I still think of the discipline and perseverance my daddy taught me. It has paid off in my career.
Above all else, my daddy taught me what kind of man I deserve to love by showing me himself. When I see daddy now standing next to Mr. ShuGar, he doesn’t appear to be the tallest man in the world anymore. In fact, Mr. ShuGar towers over him. But my daddy is still my first love. I cherish him with every beat of my heart. I wish he could know how much of my heart belongs to him. After all, you never forget your first love.
My heart melts when I see Mr. ShuGar and my daddy get along so well. It’s every girl’s dream for her dad and her husband to be friends. My daddy loves Mr. ShuGar so much and vice versa; It’s in the air every time they spend time together. It’s the cutest thing I have ever seen! I’m so glad my daddy gets to have the son he always wanted.
I know my daddy will read this….and I am happy he will. In fact, he is the one person that always comments on what I write. He is my most avid reader! For this unwavering support, I don’t have the words to adequately express what this means to me. It’s beyond words.
Daddy – since I know you will read my blog and comment, I want you to know one thing: You are my hero. I am so lucky to be your daughter. My heart is filled with devotion for you. I have lived my life to make you proud. It is my greatest accomplishment. You need to know that I am still that little girl that liked to play on your feet and look up and think, “Daddy, you are the tallest and strongest man in the whole wide world.” I love you.
I recently read a beautifully written blog post about a woman describing her mother’s hands. She wrote about the importance of remembering your mom’s hands because one day they would be gone forever and all that would be left is your memory of these hands. I can’t seem to find that original post, but it touched me and inspired me to write about my mom.
I am blessed to have two amazing parents; they are my greatest gifts. Over the past few months, Mr. ShuGar and I have been extremely busy with life and all its demands. As a result, I haven’t seen my family as much as I would like. I saw my mom a few weeks ago and I saw her a little differently. It’s strange what kind of perspective time will give you. I know my mom is not 40 years old any more, but I always thought she was ageless. She has to be in my mind; I would die without her. This last time I saw her, she changed. She’s older now; time is creeping up on her. Please make it stop.
My mom is currently visiting family in Mexico and I probably won’t see her for a while. I miss her. I am a part of her, as much as I try to fight it sometimes. I write this post to stay connected to her and for her to know I carry her in my heart, siempre (always). I want to document my feelings for the woman who gave me life.
My Ma is a petite Mexican woman, but don’t let her size fool you. She’s one tough cookie, filled with immeasurable strength and unconditional love. She has dedicated her entire life to being a mother. The sacrifices she has made are boundless, but she has done them happily for all for us (my dad, my sister and myself).
She has the cutest sideburns, which remind me of Elvis Presley – she claims they are still in style. Her shoe size is 4 and I probably weighed more than her starting in junior high. My mom, although bilingual, only speaks to me in Spanish, except when she is mad. Her raspy voice soothes me like nothing in this world; it takes me back to age 6 when lying in her arms was my respite. Till this day, I still like taking a nap while laying my head on her chest. She lulls me to sleep by reading me a book in Spanish, much like she did when I was younger, and I inevitably doze off. There is absolutely nothing more peaceful than listening to my mom read me stories in Spanish. It’s probably why I love writing. She taught me from a very young age to love words.
My mom and I have had our disagreements in my adult life. I am very outspoken and willful; I believe I learned that from her. It’s funny because sometimes we’ll be talking on the phone and raising our voices at each other and Mr. ShuGar will ask, “Is everything ok?” I respond, “Yeah, it’s how we talk to each other. It’s our normal.” However, I acknowledge I have said some hurtful words and I know they have caused her pain. I wish I could take those words back. Why do we hurt those we love the most? I am sorry for the past, for the present and for the future. I am all grown up now and I may do things you don’t agree with, but I still love you.
My Ma is my best traveling buddy. We have had so much fun traveling in South America. She becomes so free and adventurous. I will cherish our traveling memories forever. I know my love of travel started with her and my Abuelito.
And, of course, my mom’s hands are precious. They too have aged because of all her dish-washing, cooking and the dreaded arthritis. But, her hands are still so beautiful. Even now, I walk hand in hand with her and get stares from people. It must be unusual to see a mother and her grown daughter show this kind of public affection, but, again, it’s my normal.
Her cooking is beyond delicious and I have tried many times to replicate her recipes, but fail. I can never measure up to my Ma. She towers above all women, including myself.
Hopefully, one day, I will be a mother, too. I think then I will understand why you said those things or acted that way. I am scared to not be even remotely as amazing as you. But what terrifies me is to one day lose you. I could not breathe without you.
Ma- you are my angel.
I thank you for showing me what unconditional love feels like and for loving me for who I am. You feed my soul and define my heart. Te quiero hoy y siempre ( I love you today and always).
Abuelito means “grandfather” in Spanish. Since my abuelito was from Mexico and only spoke Spanish all his life, it only makes sense to refer to him in the only way I ever did. I cannot think of my childhood without thinking of him and how he shaped my meaning of love.
As a child, I was not lucky enough to have my abuelito live near us since he lived in Mexico and we lived in L.A., but I was lucky enough to have him visit us almost every year. I remember getting excited to pick him up at LAX! We would anxiously wait in Bradley Terminal for his bright cauliflower head to appear among the crowd. Inevitably, he was always wearing a three-piece suit because who doesn’t travel without one? Immediately, I would shower him with hugs. I especially loved rubbing his Santa Claus-like belly, like in this picture below!
My abuelito loved visiting us because he loved his family, but he also tremendously enjoyed traveling. He would talk endlessly about the places he had visited and the places he hoped to visit one day. His face would light up as he described the great wall of China or the beauty of the Australian country-side. Traveling was his passion and it soon became mine. I credit him with my love of travel. I can still hear my abuelito sharing his stories with so much gusto from his lips! My sweetest memories of love are filled with hugs from him.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my abuelito passed away a month before I was to study abroad in London. He always told me that the only continent he hadn’t visited was Europe. I like to think of it as a symbolic gesture that he was passing the “traveling torch’ to his granddaughter. I wasn’t able to go to Mexico before his passing, so I never gave him one last hug….one last “Te quiero mucho.” (I love you a lot)
This week, a strange thing happened. I was taking a shower and I noticed there was a new bar soap Mr. ShuGar had never used before. I took a sniff and I was flooded by memories of my abuelito. It’s like the memories blanketed my entire being and, with it, tears flowing down my face. I couldn’t believe that one scent could have so much power.
After I got out of the shower, I contemplated why I got so emotional. I then realized that my abuelito’s birthday was just a few days ago and I forgot about it. Life is busy these days. What are the chances that the first year I forgot my abuelito’s birthday, Mr. ShuGar uses the same bar soap that my abuelito used in Mexico all his life? Probably slim, but I’m glad Mr. ShuGar bought that soap.
After a death, love doesn’t become past tense. It remains present and multiples. You yearn and miss that person and, sometimes, they may slip your mind but they never escape your heart.
Abuelito, if you can hear me I want you to know that I miss you so much. Thank you for sharing your love. Please know, te quiero mucho.