Day 22. Random thoughts of a new Sunday #SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

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Today, March 22nd, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

 

 

My day was good but long, and despite the fact I was outside, there were very few minutes in which I was not aware we are in a new reality. The highway was empty, the trails were empty, and passing through towns that were filled with tourists two weeks ago, hit me hard.

Reading guru Donalyn Miller wrote a post to launch the social distancing #bookaday challenge. In the following paragraph she eloquently expresses what’s going on with me.

I have never had so much free time to read. Too bad I don’t have the requisite attention span or emotional energy to read much right now {…} Right now, sitting still long enough to read more than a few pages makes me jumpy. I can tell that I haven’t been reading enough lately because I feel splintered a bit—a sure sign that I am too much in my head.
I’m struggling to allow myself the joy of reading.

After a long drive and a hike, I arrived home at 8:30 pm. I had supper and learned through the local news on T.V. that all state parks are closing tomorrow. My boundaries are shrinking, still, they are wide.

My daughter is on a quest of cheering up people via Instagram. She told her friends that if they answer to her story with fire she would choose “the most beautiful photo” in their feed, and publish it in her story. She ended up putting around 40 photos of people that replied, among them me.  When I replied, I wondered which photo she was going to pick from my feed since I have 954 posts. She surprised me. And made me laugh not just with the one she put of me, but with the photos she chose and the witty and funny things she wrote about her friends’ photos. Too bad you can’t see them. She surely fulfilled her quest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2. Dear mamá…#SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

Dear mamá,

mother&IToday I received a book I requested from the public library that reminded me of you. It’s called What my mother and I don’t talk about: Fifteen writers break the silence . Because you died before I realized the things we never talked. The things I know now did hurt you but then I didn’t realize why.

I remember your obsession that I needed to do some sort of catharsis and reconcile myself with you. I didn’t quite understand why I had to restored our broken relationship since ours was not broken. I always found you a very good mom with a balance to give me freedom without leaving me unprotected. Why did I  have to make peace with you if we haven’t fought? You always feared you would die and I would not have have the chance to reconcile our differences or maybe forgive your mistakes.

When I had children and went to live overseas, I acquire a distance that allowed me to see you with a different lens. I began to see some of the mistakes that children see in their parents. Those flaws that started to exasperate me. When you visited us you always wanted to help me and I always said no. Even one time you recriminated me and asked Why do you never accept my help, why? I don’t remember what my answer was. In the end when you stayed at our house, you managed to find a way to help me by cleaning our closets, and putting away the children’s toys, but above all by playing endlessly with your grandchildren.

The first week of last February, I had the great opportunity to compete along with your granddaughter in a bicycle endurance race in Florida. I can’t tell you how much  I enjoyed it, both for the physical effort (350 miles in 4 days) and the beauty of the landscapes, as for what I learned about me, my daughter and you, and most importantly, our relationship. Mati was the same as me, and me as you. Every time I offered her help during the trip, she would answer me with a sharp no, and she would tell me, you worry about changing your clothes and eating. I didn’t really care that she told me that. She was absolutely right. I was unable to do much more after 80 miles biking through sandy roads, swamps and wooded trails and up and down endless paved slopes with the midday sun on our backs. But I did find the reason for my sharp refusal to your offers of help.

When we are young we move with agility, with haste and thousand things to do and ideas in our heads. We are on the run with the minutes counted to begin our next project. And if a mother interferes with them, the steps or multiple stages become endless. You have to have the patience that you acquire over the years to put up with someone else doing what we can do in two minutes. Matilde could set up the tent, boil water, change clothes, lay out our sleeping bags, prepare food in her gas stove and change clothes at the same time that I just took my socks off and hopefully I had put on dried sweatpants to sleep on. If she would have accepted my help we would have died of cold and probably she would have abandoned me in the middle of nowhere. It was in those moments that I realized why I didn’t accept your help. Because I could do things faster than you, and I didn’t have the patience to slow down.

Now that I understand you, I am sorry that I could never talk to you about it. I am glad though that thanks to you, I realize that my daughter doesn’t want to hurt me, that it is only part of life, growing up, being young and old. I was lucky enough to spend with her four intense days in which we talked about it and I told her about my discoveries.
Thanks to you mom, I can understand my daughter. You and me did a good job after all, so will do Matilde. That´s why I am writing it to you. If I didn´t, it wouldn’t exist.

Un beso y abrazo apretao, gallo pelao (as you told my children).

La quiero viejita. No se enoje que haya escrito esto en inglés, pero como todo en mi vida, estoy haciendo un reto, esta vez de escritura.

Su hija que la quiere mucho,

Pia

Bobe and nietos reading
My mom reading to my children when she visited us in Maryland.

 

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Day 28. The kitchen table #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 28th:

I sit down on one of the two wooden hard chairs probably that have been picked up at the lawn of somebody´s house. I find a corner where I can place my computer on the kitchen table. The table is filled with things that might tell you a little bit of the inhabitants of this house.

There is a hard plastic Halloween bowl with one orange, three bananas (that I bought), a belt, some garlic cloves and a cell phone cord. On top is a book of Villalobos Solo Guitar music. Behind the bowl, in one of the corners, is a huge plastic container with cheese balls. Next to it is an open box of Honey Graham crackers with one package inside. Then there are two plastic packages of chopped dates, and two of dry cherries and blueberries respectively.

A sort of Cuisinart blender lies next. In between is an iron dark blue basket with the remaining parts of the blender and its instructions. It looks that hasn´t been used too much. Five cans of Kroger´s kidney beans are balancing on one of the other corners like if they were part of a fair stand. A black nail polish is hidden between the blender and the bean cans. I paint my thumb nail with it.

An unopened package of 7 rolls of dog poop bags rests next to my computer. My daughter´s very dirty fanny bag with a roll of quarters is in front of the blender. Besides it´s a Cotsco Kirkland container with one fifth of whole fancy cashews. I grab a couple with some concern that they might not be my daughter´s but from one of her roommates. There is an almost gone toilet paper, a wrapped set of earplugs,  and a plugin for USB cables that looks dangerous. It´s been repaired with scotch tape.

An also almost gone roll of paper towels is stuck on a wooden stick holder. An unopened Tortuga Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee rum cake is inside a fancy box. I wonder when it´s the expiration date. I couldn´t find it. A bottle of prescribed antibiotic to treat urinary tract infections dated March 19th, 2019 rests casually next to the cashews. A blue long rectangular box with Japanese letters is under the cheese balls. I open it. A very nice and fancy Japanese knife is waiting to be used.

A set of computer speaker, six birthday glitter candles, a Delta napkin-spoon set (my contribution), a plastic round container half filled with change, and an unknown man´s ID card make up the rest of the table.

I am impressed of how many things can fit on a table.

Tell me what do you have on your kitchen table and I’ll tell you who you are.

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Day 26. The days of your birthdays… #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 26th

Today is my daughter’s 23rd birthday and I am physically with her. I arrived yesterday at midnight. She picked me up, and said Aren’t you going to wish me happy birthday?

It has been a while since I don´t spend a birthday with her. The last time was when she turned 18th in high school and I went to her classroom during Physics class dressed up as the cat in the hat, and read Oh the places you will go, and the poem of Pablo Neruda Hoy que es el cumpleaños de mi hermana . My voice got broken with this poem, since our son was in the States, and I was missing him dearly.  While I was reading I glanced at her classmates, and saw a couple of girls drying her tears, and some of the boys looking at me in dismay. —Oh,oh— I thought Now I really messed things up.

But I have brought a cake, sodas and birthday hats. They were running around like kindergarten kids. Later my daughter told me that she felt a little bit embarrassed but her classmates could go through anything  for food and skipping Physics.

I don´t know exactly what are we going to do today. The year she left for college my celebrations of her birthday have been virtual.

When she turned 21, I made her a booklet that it did mortified her a little bit. I spent quite a few hours making a book for her in Story Jumper. I shared  the link in Facebook very excited. The link passed unnoticed that day and the followings. When you turn 21, the least you are worried about is your mom´s birthday wishes. I sensed that and the following Christmas I printed the book and mailed it to her place since we were going to spend winter holidays at her home. I had put too many hours on that book to get it passed ignored without glory or pity.

When the package arrived, she opened it nonchalantly without asking me, and decided to place the booklet on her chimney for all her friend to see how weird her mom was. When I arrived, she greeted me with a grin and told me What were you thinking ,ma? Who in the world would like to see a bloody baby (literally) on the cover of a book, let alone your boobs???

—Oh! Well, Merry Christmas, guati. That was your Christmas present—I answered.

In the cover of the book, I had put a a photo of  her arrival to this world, still tied to me by her umbilical cord. Inside the book was a photo of me breast feeding her. Ooops.

Despite everything, I love those photos. They remind me of motherhood in the early stages when everything is very physical and intense.

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My Story Jumper Story for Matilde´s 21st birthday

19 Happy 19th Birthday Matilde YouTube

When Matilde turned 19th, I made these ABCs on PowToon

 

 

Everything started when I made her a book called “The days of your birthdays” inspired by Cynthia Ryland’s Birthdays Presents (1991) when she turned 8.

My birthday’s stories are complete, now is her turn to continue them.

But that’s another slice.

 

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