Last year, was a DOOZY for me. I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, but no one really knows just how intense it was other than a couple of people. My husband, and my mother. The people I am closest to in this world. I’ve already gushed over how much I love my Esposo and how great he is (the family dubbed him “The Amazing One” for a reason ;P ). But I haven’t given enough credit for my survival through the serious of eventos disafortunados to another key person: Mi Mami.
It started back in October of 2013. She seemed particularly down during one of our daily phone conversations and said her dad, my grandpa, was not looking good and how she thought it could be the end. My mom can exaggerate (like all Latina moms, right?) and so, I didn’t really take her words to heart. He had pulled through so many times before, there was no way he’d let this get him down. She warned me that the end was coming, and I could not receive that information being 800 miles away. So I didn’t.
“Ok, mom,” was all I could offer as she informed me that her daddy was dying in front of her eyes. How inconsiderate, Janeli.
And then, as I sipped a venti white chocolate mocha, working overtime in my office on a Saturday morning, she called me and said he’d gone. I heard her voice break and could see her dab her cheeks with her middle and forefinger in my mind as she said she had to go to his house to be with the family. The second before she hung up I heard her gasp. That strong kind of gasp we do when we try to hide our cries, then turn a corner to be alone and weep.
The funeral was hard for all of us, but my mom, as always, pulled through it looking stoic and elegant as always. Setting my internal bar for greatness even higher. I was sad for her, and she for myself and my siblings, her mom and her own siblings…. but we made it through together and grew stronger.
On the heels of that event came my miscarriage. I sat in the exam room trembling as I texted both she and my husband that we’d lost the baby. A survivor of miscarriage herself, my mom knew no words could make me feel better, and just let me cry. I think it’s the first time she did that. Let me cry. Without advice, without dismissal. And it was in those weeks of grief I understood my mother on a whole new level of womanhood. She was attainable. No longer the superhero on a pedestal who’s fall would crush me. She was, for a moment my equal in life experience and grief.
She was my beacon of hope at the other end of a phone call when the ultrasound tech spotted a 5 week old flicker.
She prayed as I called her from the ER when a bloody sack fell out of me and onto the bed just a week or so later.
She was my coach as she instructed me to pray and toss it all up to God’s hands.
She stopped everything she was doing to come into town the day after I crushed my ankle on the driveway. She was my advocate when the pain meds made eating and vomiting 100 times a day unbearable and made my doctor change my meds. She changed my sheets, she made sure my toes stuck in a cast were painted. She brought me Ramen. She sat with me in bed. She watched over my husband as he cared for our boys while I was stuck in our bedroom recovering (ok, she was more like my spy).
She coached me through the finish line and took a picture of me withy my 8lb prize.
I crawled through 2014. Just as I started to pick myself back up to walk, life knocked me back down. And just as she did when I was a baby, She put her arms around me and taught me to stand back up.
This was not the first time she did these things for me, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. But it is the first time I was able to see my mom eye to eye and understand her better. Thus, appreciating her more.
My mom is a diamond. Everyone who meets her falls in love with her strength, shine, and beauty.
Happy Birthday Mami. 52 looks good on you.