I started this and then I slacked 2 weeks in a row, for two very good reasons! 1) I had a terrible and awful flu that left me caring for my babies like this…
And 2) Time! But today, I’m back, and I’m excited to talk about the beautiful 27 years that my parents have spent as a married couple. About the freaking awesome 5 kids that they raised, and their hardships, sacrifices, and triumphs as they did the best they could to help mold who we are.
My parents met 30 years ago when I was about a year and a half old. When my mother told my biological father she was pregnant, he up and left and has pretty much been absent from my life for the first 25 years. I finally met him a few years ago, but the relationship continues to be the same – silent, absent, non-existent. My mom had my sister Raquel from another man. That lasted all of a year before it went sour and she again was left alone to raise two young kids. Then, this Colombian mountain man, who was 18 years old, and had just emigrated to the USA, met my mom and swept her off of her 20 year old feet. Not only did he love her so hopelessly and fervidly, but he loved me and my sister just as much. After a few years of being a family, he decided to pop the question, but not before my mom told him she was expecting! My sister was born, they got married, and then my younger brother was born shortly after that.
step-brother (when my dad first moved to the US, he found out that his ex-girlfriend was pregnant) was brought over from Colombia to live with us when he was about 8, after years of my dad trying to get his citizenship and a visa for my brother. Finally, we were a full and complete family!
We didn’t have much money, and there were 7 of us in a 3 bedroom apartment, but we were rich in so many other ways. My parents had us involved in all types of sports, music, karate, and arts programs. They attended all of our shows, and all of our games. They gave us so much love and support and time. It’s rare that one of our parents wasn’t able to attend one of our events. For many years, my dad worked 2-3 jobs at a time to save up enough to get us out of our apartment and into a real house! That day sticks out so vividly in my mind. We piled into our 1994 Dodge Caravan (the same car I learned to drive in about 5 years later), went to the park to play a family game of soccer (just with us and some of our cousins who all lived close by, we had more than enough people to play), and afterwards piled back into the van. My dad drove us down an unfamiliar street. It was a dead-end, with lots of trees and tons of cute little houses. He pulled into the driveway and said, ‘This is it!” All 5 of us were sitting their, blank expressions, not really sure what he was talking about. “Well, get the hell outta the car and check this place out!” It was then, that I noticed the “SOLD” sign on the lawn and asked, “Is this our house!?!?!” My parents looked at each other, and smiled. My dad, as if this wasn’t the most exciting thing ever, simply said (in a childlike annoying tone) “DUHHH!” (it sounded more like daaaaah! with his spanish accent), and we flipped out! All of us rolling down the small hill at the tip of our front yard, running circles around the back yard, going up and down the stairs in the house claiming rooms, screaming, high-fiving, and picturing where our belongings would go in this house.
That house has seen a lot of joy (Christmases, Birthdays, anniversaries, movie nights, family dinners). It’s sad that my parents are selling it. They just can’t take care of it any more. The house has seen a lot of hardship too. My dad was an electrician and was electrocuted on the job. He fell dozens of feet from a scaffold (almost 40ft to be exact) and injured his back pretty severely. 4 4″ screws severe. He has limited mobility and was forced into early retirement. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer about 3 weeks after my dad had his accident (thankfully, that was taken care of pretty quickly). My dad won a settlement and now, they spend most of their time traveling since my mom doesn’t have to work any more either (No seriously! Greece, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, England, Germany, Italy, Bahamas, St Thomas, Alaska, all since September!).
It’s awesome to see them enjoying their lives, especially after raising 5 kids so young. My parents are the epitome of “40 is the new 30”. My mom will be turning 50 this June, and you would never know it (especially if you catch her at 6am after her 5 mile run or after 7pm and 2 hours at Hot Yoga). They spend Sundays at “Gay Brunch” with my brother and his partner. They go to Happy Hour EVERYDAY! They go to concerts monthly, travel the world, and are the best grandparents that any kids can ask for. They pile us into a huge van in the summers and take us on a family vacation like we are still kids, and Sundays are reserved for dinner at “The Parentals”.
Today, my parents celebrate 27 years of love, of raising a family, of hard times, good times, sad times, joyful times. They celebrate 27 years of providing a wonderful example of what a true partnership is. They celebrate 27 years of imperfection, trial and error, trying as hard as they can. 27 years of Love…yeah, mostly love…Happy Anniversary Mami y Papi…Los quiero mucho…