Do As I Do

“Do as I say and not as I do!” is a daily lesson used by many parents, myself included. So when I think back at my youth, I try to recall a specific instance when I whole-heartily understood my mama’s words and able to live them, able to make them my own. Hmm… tough. It was difficult to evoke the many conversations, arguments really, that my mama and I had throughout my youth and not one highlights the rewarding relationship we have today. Our past was a struggle, if not a challenge. Her words simply did not get through to me. I questioned them, I negated them, and I refused to believe in them no matter how sincere they may have been. And as for her actions…, well she did everything that I interpreted to be wrong!

 

Es decir hasta que se me concedió ser mamá hace 12 años. Esas acciones tuvieron un sentido inmensamente diferente que no se pueden definir con palabras. Los obstáculos, las conquistas, las derrotas que mi mamá sobrevivió tan sólo para darme la oportunidad de una vida afortunada, una vida libre, una vida dichosa, que continuará con las vidas de mis hijos. Es por ella que ellos viven.

 

So the lesson should not be “do as I say and not as I do” but a simpler one, “do as I do,” reminding myself that my actions have an assured impression on my children. Actions that will make my mama value her efforts and her struggles.

 

Feliz Día de las Madres.

Little Bits

Cachito

 

Cachito, Cachito, Cachito mío
Pedazo de cielo que Dios me dio
Te miro y te miro y al fin bendigo
Bendigo la suerte de ser tu amor

Me preguntan por que eres mi cachito
Y yo siento muy bonito al responder
Por que eres de mi vida un pedacito
Que yo quiero como a nadie he de querer

Cachito, Cachito, Cachito mío
Pedazo de cielo que Dios me dio
Te miro y te miro y al fin bendigo
Bendigo la suerte de ser tu amor

Cachito… cachito mío
Tu eres el amorcito de mamá… y de papá
Cachito… Cachito mío
Tu eres el amorcito de papá… y de mamá

~ Consuelo Velazquez y Alvaro Carrillo

 

Last week started with a late and loud entrance into Sunday Mass. There is absolutely no possible parenting skill to make a sneaky, quiet entrance with a boisterous little two-year old girl and a cowboy boot-wearing, vociferous six-year old boy, not to mention a proud mama wearing a cute pair of 1-inch clanking heels. Blessed daddy had arrived earlier with the quiet, well-behaved part of the Ravet crew. Needless to say, Father Greg, along with the front half of the church, had noticed that I, in fact, had attended Mass regardless of the late hour. I felt especially blessed for simply arriving safe, sound, dressed, and without having strangled my youngest children. All was well. Amen.

 

Monday was an easy day, as I usually and purposely do not schedule any appointments, meetings, and/or activities for this day of the week. It is a sacred weekday that gives me the opportunity to recover, in my pajamas, from the 48 hours I have just spent with all the children and the husband. It is a day for me (and Evita) to recoup some much needed quiet, alone time. That is, until school pickup, sibling fights, homework, sibling fights, dinner prep, sibling fights, dinner, sibling fights, baths, sibling fights, and Scouts’ meeting. I ingeniously used the hour at the Scouts’ meeting to clean out my auto while waiting in the parking lot for my son. Why clean out the auto? Not because it desperately needed a wash, dusting, and vacuuming. No. I gave it a cat’s bath for a school field trip to San Antonio the following morning. I had volunteered to drive a carload of 5th graders to the Botanical Garden in San Antonio. “Should be fun, fun, fun,” I said, to be with my oldest son and his friends while taking a stroll among beautiful, picturesque gardens.

 

Sure, Tuesday was full of fun, fun, fun! Rising at 6 AM to prepare for a day of driving, touring, learning, teaching, and driving back home just in time to pick up another group of students, this time my own, and completing the afternoon with sibling fights, homework, sibling fights, dinner prep, sibling fights, dinner, sibling fights, baths, sibling fights, then freshening up (read here coffee) to make it to a networking meeting. Whew! I completed the night having a tired yet productive conversation with Latina colleagues, feeling good, feeling supported, and feeling accomplished. Gracias Comadres! A split-second thought entered my mind of continuing the night with a documentary premier on the topic of immigration. I’d had enough for the day, made a mental reminder to research other possible screenings of this documentary, and headed home to bed.

 

            On to Wednesday, nothing on the calendar! Yes! I can work on my writing. Nope! The house was a mess, the laundry had piled up, Evita needed some mama-time, errands, and no toilet paper anywhere! Then back to pickup and….

 

            Thursday! Thursday was the day for writing and Carmen Lomas Garza. I was excited about going to an art exhibit and meeting Ms. Lomas Garza that afternoon and hear about her life as an artist, as a Chicana, and as an inspiration to many Latinos, young and old. I began to prepare by taking a long hot shower only to come out of the bathroom to find that I did not have any clean underwear, or should I say clean women’s foundations. Back to the laundry room to wash, dry, fold, and iron for appropriate attire to an art exhibit, all the while caring for Evita, entertaining, teaching, playing, feeding, reading, singing, and storytelling. Then… a call from the husband with a change in plans, why not go to the art exhibit with the whole family? Sure, why not. Great idea! Ms. Lomas Garza, after all, has several great children’s books full of families such as ours. Wonderful last minute change, turned into an hour of dressing sweaty, tired, hungry children, coming from a full day of school, into appropriate attire for an art exhibit. No sweat! A little yelling, a little screaming, and a little “because I said so!” And we were out the door only 30 minutes behind schedule, plenty of time. We arrived late, once again, though this time without the rowdy entrance that is our history. Mama sat down to listen to the Chicana artist answering questions from the audience and blessed daddy guided the children down the hall to enjoy the art exhibit and tasty hors d’oeuvres offered at the end. We all met Carmen, a friendly, patient soul that was kind enough to sign each of the kids’ programs, complete with names. We chatted for a while, discussing our favorite paintings and had our picture taken. A pleasure to have had the opportunity to meet such an inspiration, and off we went to think about dinner. There was no lengthy discussion…, mama and daddy looked into each other’s eyes and mentally agreed to spend this month’s dining budget, today, only the second day of the month. Oh well, the kids will just have to wait a short 29 days until the next dining out.

 

            TGIF or so it goes. Once more, I woke at 6 AM to prepare for a day with school children, this time with my twins’ class. I volunteered, again, to drive, prepare, bake, wash, drive, serve, clean, and drive. This time for the 3rd grade class and its celebration of the Passover Seder. In charge of six 3rd graders, I drove to another family’s home to guide the students in the preparation of three green salads, and two chocolate hazelnut cakes and their Passover confectioner sugar, got the students appropriately dressed in nice kaki slacks and white dress shirts for the boys, and light colored dresses or skirts for the girls, drove them and the food to the celebration home, served, cleaned, and drove back to school just in time to drop off these students and pick up my own children. I must add here that one of my twin boys was inappropriately dressed as he had carefully chosen a pair of grey sweatpants with a navy blue patch on one knee and a cavernous hole in the other. ¡Hay qué locura! We quickly drove home to have some of the Ravet crew pack and prepare for a Scouts’ camping weekend and for the others to prepare for a music lesson, a drive to ‘buelita’s home, and back home for the night.

 

            Saturday, a day of fun and rest. Nope, not at the Ravet home. My oldest and I took part in the YWCA ATX adventure race. I woke at 6 AM, yet again, to prepare for my first adventure race with my son. This was an opportunity to spend quality time with my oldest son while deciphering riddles, locating check points, performing athletic tasks, and obtaining completion stickers for twelve downtown Austin locations that seemed to be a thousand miles apart, especially when mama takes the long cuts instead of the short cuts. No whine, no complaint, no bother was heard from my son. What a young man! What a son! We deciphered 11 of the 12 riddles, we located 11 of 12 check points, we performed 10 of 12 tasks, and we did not come in last! Híjole was I pooped and sore. As I write this I can still feel the pain. Note to self, start training for next year…, mañana.

 

            The week ended with a loud, laughter-filled, family dinner, couldn’t have had any other ending. This time, family adults and friends gathered to celebrate… well just that, familia y amigos.

 

            A busy life, a busy week, all the while singing, out loud and in my head, a childhood song sung by my Abuelita Eva, Cachito. Why is this song trapped in my head? In addition to being one of my favorite childhood memories and songs, it has come full circle and will continue to circle around, as someday I will share it with my grandchildren. I am extremely blessed to have cinco cachitos that I love dearly and continuously thank God for my vast fortune. For now, I will share with you a musical part of my Spanish childhood. Enjoy!

 

Little Bit

 

Little bit, little bit, my little bit

A piece of Heaven that God gave me

I gaze at you and marvel, and bless the day

that fortune made me your love.

 

Why are you my little bit, some may ask

A feeling so lovely to elucidate

As you are a little bit of myself

That I love like no other is to love.

 

Little bit, little bit, my little bit

A piece of Heaven that God gave me

I gaze at you and marvel, and bless the day

that fortune made me your love.

 

Little bit… my little bit

You are mama’s love… and daddy’s love.

Little bit… my little bit

You are mama’s love… and daddy’s love.