It has been a long couple of weeks since I last wrote in my blog. I ran out of ideas, and the Island is going through some bad times, and it will get worse. With those previous posts you have learned a bit about me and my reality. But today, it will be different; I will not write about my Island, or the funny things that make us who we are. Today is about my folks. “Los viejos” that have been with me since I saw the light 30-something years ago.
My mother is awesome. She suffered in her childhood (something I will not discuss now) but she always has great memories of her and her family. I remember when I was a kid, I used to sit at the door step and she sat behind me and play with my hair. On Saturdays when we were kids, she used to clean the whole house while doing laundry, making lunch for us and getting ready for dinner. She even got the manguera (water hose) inside and started cleaning everything. “No se bajen de esa cama ni por nada del mundo”, she said when we decided to stay in.
She raised two guys and a baby girl (my sister). When I look back, I can’t imagine how she managed to keep her sanity when she had a 13 year old boy, a 12 year old funny and handsome kid (me), and a 9 year old baby. I mean, I have an 8 year older and a 2 year old kid, and sometimes I want to run out screaming (my mom used to say the same thing, to the point that we knew when she was going to say it. It was not that funny back then).
She woke up around 5:30 am. She turned on the coffee pot, walked to the bathroom to wash her face and brush her teeth. Then she walked to our room around 6:00, me and my brother shared a room forever, to wake us up. She then walked to the kitchen to get her coffee and made another stop by our room. She started breakfast and then woke up my sister. She screamed at my brother and me on her way back, and we got up. We got our breakfast; we started getting ready for school while she started the morning fight with my sister over her hairdo. When my sister got older, I mean 19 or so, she was brushing my mother’s hair one day and just hit her with the brush, just for payback! She felt relieved to do that, because every morning in my house was fight day over a hairdo. I wish I could go back. The she would send us to school and get ready to go to work. And the next day, everything started all over again.
Many women did the same thing, and still do today, but that is still something hard to do. She didn’t even have time for herself, and I never heard her say she wanted time for herself. I guess we were everything for her, her routine, her sanity and craziness at the same time. I am a good father today in part for what she taught me back then, and for what she keeps teaching me every day. She even notices when I’m not doing great and gets so happy when I’m my usual self.
My father has always been there for us. He had a rougher childhood than my mother, but a whole lot of stories that make my day. He alwasys have been the funny one for me. My mom is crazy, she is, but my father usually takes it up a notch. They have been a wonderful team.
I don’t remember as a kid a fight or bad argument between them. I discovered later that those did happen, but we were lucky enough to never hear them. One of my greatest memories as a kid with my father is when he used to slide his belt through the bathroom door while I was sitting inside. I started screaming liked there was no tomorrow. My mom used to scream at him: “Déjalo quieto Juan, no lo molestes!” Or times when we used to sit in the couch and out of nowhere he started tickling me. And every time I sat with him just for the fun of it.
His work demanded a lot of time from him, and the time he spent on the road was a lot. So he was not there in the morning process I explained before, or if he was, he was sleeping because of the schedule he had. But we got to see him every day.
When we started growing up, I used to go with him and help him in anything he needed. And that time I really enjoyed because he taught me a lot, and many stories and sayings I know now, where born there. I met a lot of people, old and young, when I was with him, and when he had the idea of having a Laundromat, I was there every afternoon and every Saturday taking care of the business (place my mom did not like too much). It was a good time.
When I was 17, my dad had an argument with my sister, then with me and my mom, and one thing led to another, and he ended leaving the house. I get teary eyes just writing about this, since I never showed like it really mattered to me. My brother was already in college and my sister was about to finish middle school. It was a really hard time for us. We made up a couple of weeks after that, but he was not living at home anymore. So I had to make sure to spend time with him.
Years passed, fun continued and after the three of us moved out of the house, my folks decided to get back together. We were happy and kinda surprised, but since both of them are crazy, it made sense.
These memories are some I share with my brother and sister. I know they must have some of their own, but at the moment the three of us are now, I know we rather keep the happy ones. We are who we are, fun, weird and crazy, because of what they taught us. I sometimes take time to listen to myself speaking and I can see a lot of them in me. I guess that’s the point in being a son to such wonderful parents.
This post is just a THANK YOU to those two human beings who raised us. I know it was not easy for them; sometimes there was no money in the house to pay the bills but we always had food to eat and a bed to sleep in. I wish I can be half as good a father to my kids as they were to me. Half good is awesome anyway.