first letter

April 29, 2017

Diego y Andrés,

you decided to arrive swiftly and gently. you were letting us know pretty early on that you were going to get here a little sooner than expected. and while your Mami and i were looking forward to meeting you, we wanted you to stay in a little longer because well… the longer you stayed in there, the better your chances of surviving this crazy world out here.

but you had other plans. and decided to come in on the 26th day of April in a taurus moon, en caul…

when the doctor said your Mami was dilated to 4cm and that we would be doing a cesarean section, i felt a rush of anxiety and complete fear take over every part of my body. in Mami’s belly you were completed protected. but outside of her body, things would look a lot different for you at this point in your gestational age.

originally they had told us everything was stable… and in the span of three hours, everything shifted. they started telling us all this information about what they were going to do and the resuscitation room and the NICU and all the things that could go in every direction… i couldn’t grasp the information much less process it because in that moment the fear of loosing you was exponential. my ears shut down. every cell in my body was on edge.

they took your Mami to the OR and left me in a room with this paper suit to go over my clothes, a mask and some footsies over my sneakers. i have never perspired more than i have in that outfit. i don’t think more than ten minutes passed between the time they took Mami and the time the nurse came to get me, but i felt like at least three hours had gone by and they hadn’t come to get me. a knock at the door startles me, the nurse says follow me and proceeds to give me all these instructions about sterility and hands at my sides. i entered this sterile, cold room (which i appreciated in that outfit), and Mami was already on the OR table. i sat on a silver stool right behind the curtain and at her head.

she was struggling with anesthetics because they made her awfully nauseous. once that settled, she was a Warrior. she meditated while everything was happening. she took deep breaths and surrendered to trusting that God was present. i know she could sense my anxiety. she looked at me and with complete ease in her voice said, “God didn’t bring us this far to abandon us now. all is well.”

the doctor asked me to stand up and look over the curtain. and there was Diego squirmy and beautiful inside your amniotic sac… you were pure perfection. and then Andrés, two minutes later, same as your brother in your amniotic sac… you were pure perfection (i’ll write to each of you later how rare your births are and their meaning). each of you were taken to the resuscitation room. a nurse came around and said she was ready to escort me into the room. i kissed your mom on the forehead and she said, “go be with our babies.”

when i went into that room, the energy rushed in my body sat in my knees. i bent them a bit and allowed myself to feel the ground beneath me. i felt shaky but sturdy. i took a deep breath and found myself looking at Baby A, mi Diego. as an entire NICU team worked to intubate you and stabilize your very tiny 1 lb 12oz body, you were fearless. and your cry was soft but strong. i turned around to see Baby B, mi Andrés, weighing in at 1 lb 14oz, your cry was musical, a lullaby… and your entire team went through the same motions. i was in awe of your absolute perfection in such small bodies.

you stole my heart in each of your first breaths.

as i write this, i count… you have been alive for approximately 60 hours. we have been Mami and Mamá to two amazing Guerreros. such courage you two have shown already.

this Love i feel for you is unlike any Love i have ever experienced -and this Mamá Loves hard and deep. you fill the spaces were hurt resided. in the miracle of both of you, my heart is healed from any hurt i have ever been exposed to. you are the tiniest biggest Loves of my life.

I Love you. I Love you.

#52essays2017

shift towards Light

April 16, 2017

my mother left a couple of sundays ago. i’ve been processing our very short but immensely sweet time together. she spent the weekend with us. then headed back Home to Puerto Rico. she Loves it. it Loves her. you can tell by the way she speaks about it. or how quick she is to say “llevame pa’ casa,” when the sun hits her skin and a quick, strong, cold air reminds her that this is the land of April’s fools.

it was a sunny New England sunday morning. we sat “en el balconcito,” as she named it, and shared dos tazas de cafe and a New York Bagel (yes, it warrants origin). here, in this place, thousands of miles from where our relationship began, we shared in space and time. we were present. in each moment with each other. and this time it felt so easy.

for so long i’ve resisted allowing myself to be mothered. mostly because of our history.

i stare at the picture i took on my cell. we are getting older. damn! we’ve come a long way. there was a time when we couldn’t be in each other’s presence for more than a couple of hours. there was so much tension between us. the history of everything we lived through was so intense that for some time it pushed us away from each other. and when i share that i was a queer woman, the divide between us grew exponentially.

i’ve been thinking about the visit since she left. a part of me wishing she lived closer.

she came to spend a couple of nights with us. given our current situation, it was a different type of visit. it demanded a different focus. but we got to spend time alone, together. i know she felt my tension but we both knew this time it had nothing to do with us. this time, the situation called us in closer. and she asked how i was doing and waited to hear my response. and felt my response. and we cried together.

maybe the reason we felt so connected was because she could feel that what i was experiencing was monumental. she knew that my worry was so heart wrenching and it felt as though for the first time, she saw me as a woman. and i saw her as someone i could trust. i allowed myself to be vulnerable. shared all of my worries and fears. she held the space with me.

ours has been a 40-year-old journey. an intense walk through our lives as mother-daughter. there has been laughter and joy, pain and sorrow, anger and frustration, y un sin numero de emociones y desencantos. but we managed to arrive here…

a few years ago her and i sat down to talk. we had a heart-to-heart. we discussed a lot of the questions left unanswered. she was honest about them. i could tell by how difficult it was for her to share them. some things she did not talk about. and i understood that like myself, we all reserve the right to hold on to things que se llevan a la tumba. we worked through things individually and together. and since then i see her in a new light.

in this visit i felt a shift towards each other. a new understanding. and a Love that matured.

when we let go of the choices/mistakes our parents made we begin to move towards a more wholly person. we are made whole by the fractured parts we choose to replace with Love. i believe there are some relationships that are not repairable. but i am filled with a gratitude unlike any other that ours was not that relationship.

i am lucky to have the opportunity to sit and talk with Mami, even the hard conversations were made “easy” because we were both willing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. the power of open hearts and communication can heal in ways i never thought possible.

this journey away from each other brought us back to us. except this time in Light of everything we lived together.

this time in Light.

#52essays2017