Good Monday to you friends! I hope everyone had a great weekend I know that I sure did and it was needed….
This past Sunday (yesterday) it’s been 12 years since my grandmothers passing and every March especially March 26th, the day I lost her, can be a bit of a melancholy day for me. The more time passes I’m still so thrown on how much i’m impacted by this loss. Being born to a teenage mother a lot of my raising was by Margarita Ruiz (aka, La Negra) my Abuelita/ Grandma. She helped to raise me to be proud of the color of my skin even when sometimes it was hard, proud and unafraid of hard work, and that food has the power to bring ALL things together.
Being a Mexicana in Ballet in the 80’s and on,was not the easiest thing. Seeing a little brown girl in pink tights and a leotard wasn’t exactly something people were used to seeing everyday. It would be hard as a child trying to understand why I was looked at differently, whispers (not so whispery) happening behind my back in class, getting puzzled looks by parents when they dropped their pretty blond daughters off, but worst of all it was the comments made when I would audition for ballet companies and get accepted, “they” would say; “she made it because they are trying to be diverse” or “They must be integrating”. My acceptance into any ballet company couldn’t possibly be based on my talent, my audition, or my years and years of dedicated hard work to them.
I would go home never feeling good enough, never feeling like I was enough, I would cry and blame it on my skin, my brown eyes, my family. My grandma would hold me and tell me “Don’t let them make you feel like you’re not enough, you have control and power of how you feel so don’t give that power away mejita. Don’t let them tell you, you won’t. You WILL. Don’t let them tell you what you’re not. You ARE. You know what’s real and what you can do, and there’s nothing you can’t do. You have a choice. Choose”
Even as I type this I am fighting tears, okay, maybe not fighting them at all, it’s the ugly cry. Don’t act like you don’t know what kind of cry that is 🙂 I can hear her in my soul with these words of strength and wish she were with me holding me right now. I was in her arms as she took her last breath in her own bed just as she had asked. I’m so very grateful that I had that moment but selfishly long for so much more. She optimized a heart of love and hospitality I have never seen in another human. Sadly below is the only picture I could get my hands on that would download. Please forgive the tiny poor quality.
From her “famous”tamales (at least famous in our small town) homemade tortillas, carnitas, menudo, pozole, to arroz con leche, my grandma could cook up a storm! Everyone in our neighborhood would come over to enjoy her wise words over her home cooked meals or her cinnamon/ nutmeg coffee (which I still only drink my coffee this way) and postre. Gang bangers and drug attics alike were even welcome at my grandmas table, barred they left the drama at the end of the driveway, “Deja tu mierda en la entrada” her words.
Thankfully my life is currently filled with genuinely beautiful, loving, and supportive people and it feels like it took fooorever to get to this point in my life but I’m so grateful for what I’ve learned through the struggles to get here. My weekend was filled with my tribe (sans 1 who is travelling, Boo Tess 😉 ) We backyard BBQ’d while listening to 80’s “Smash” hits, and drank homemade margaritas while catching up with each other and it was just what I needed!
In addition Sunday was a beautiful day so we took advantage, Jeff and I had our very own little version of “Sunday Funday” which is not the norm for us “Older” folks. One of my tribe Justin was performing at “Bangers Austin” on Rainey street. Jeff ordered the “Man-mosa” named for the 1 liter of champagne and splash of orange juice it holds while I went for the much much smaller version along with some munchies, avocado toast (Simple and delish) and biscuits and gravy, made with their housemade sausage. We then made our way to ABGB for some more live music, beers, and (you guessed it) more munchies.
ALL of that to say my frown was turned upside down! I know if my grandma were here now she would want me to celebrate her, she would hand me some tequila and say “Si se puede amor! Si se puede!” In my sadness I need to remember that she is always with me. She is with me in each of these amazing people I have in my life. She is with me.
If you have suffered a loss and are struggling with coping, I am here for you. Please remember that God is the Maker of our story, He loves us in all our ugly, all our sin, He loves us every time we doubt and turn away from him. Trust that God’s plan is better than anything our humaness can imagine. Rest in knowing and feeling his unwaivering love for us his children. “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me…” 2 Timothy 4:17
On this and EVERYDAY, make it great for it is a gift!! Love each other! You never know the silent struggle someone is facing.