07 May 2015

Four Years Ago

I hadn't really noticed that today is May 7th. Facebook and it's "Memories" feature reminded me this morning just I was leaving work: Hector was deported on May 7th, 2011.

Neither one of us knew anything about this city except what we heard in the media. Like most Americans, we believed Mexico, and Tijuana especially, to be full of violence and drug wars. Half of me was homeless in a new world that I could never imagine.

Cecilia was four years old and terrified of 'being brown'. She'd duck down in her car seat at the sight of a police officer. Isaias was 6 months old and angry that my milk supply dropped. I was 'alone' with my kids for the first time ever. I remember the feeling of knowing that Hector was gone: it feels like you're being suffocated and then someone hits you really hard and completely knocks the wind out of you. I was still wandering around dazed, in disbelief that my partner, my best friend, wasn't there.

I had a lot of anger in those days. I directed some of it at the US, done of it at myself, and a lot of it at Hector. He left me that day; if he would have behaved himself, we could have had an amazing life. Looking back at these four years now, I can see how wrong I was.

First of all, Tijuana is not an ugly, scary place. I love it here. I love waking up and having my whole family in one place. Secondly, I am not angry at the US Government at all. Hector broke the law; he is paying for our and the consequence is permanent. That's how goes sometimes. I accept it now. Yes, I was angry at Hector for being dumb, but he is human and I vowed to love him through the worst and the best. The biggest lesson I've learned is that our mistakes (and selfish decisions, and sins...) affect everyone around us, sometimes permanently. I've given on activism, given up on fighting the government, because I know we deserve to be here. And it's okay. I'm fine dwelling on any of the past four years. They are what they are, and there's no going back to change them. I love Hector more and more every day, and now instead of hating him for dragging us into this city, I thank him for all of the adventures we get to have, together.

Here's to the next four years and beyond!

06 May 2015

My Mother

This is one of those sappy "I-never-appreciated-my-mother" posts.

I was a miserable child. It was once rumored that when I was a small child I was lovely, but that must have been before I learned to walk and talk. I was a back-talking smart ass, and I seriously hated my mother.

My mother worked her tail off to get out of bankruptcy, buy a house, and give me an amazing life. I spent much of my childhood in the backseat of our ancient Honda Accord, going somewhere. I knew all about Lewis and Clark, the geology of Yellowstone, the Missoula Floods, and the Oregon Trail before I was ten. We were always taking staycations, spending time somewhere in Oregon, learning something. But as I entered those heavy teen years, my mother no longer was an awesome know-it-all. She became an eccentric embarrassment with her weird jokes, weirder clothes, and ugly car.

I never appreciated how hard she worked to give me those rich childhood experiences. There were times my mother worked 120 hours in a week between her 3 or 4 jobs. I wanted her around, but I couldn't admit that. It was easier for me to hate her. That gave me an edge with all of my really "hardcore" friends.

I don't know how much I hurt my mom during those dark years of mine. I know now that I'm a mom, it's not cool to hate your mom. My mom is an angel, and nothing short of that. Every time I pick up extra hours, extra shifts, it's not because I'm running away from my family (as I assumed she was). I'm working to give them an awesome life just like my mom did for me. I get how the two connect.

This Mother's Day, I don't get to see her, to make her breakfast, to clean her house. I can just tell her publicly, I love you, Mommy. I always have and I always will. I wish I could be half the mom that you are.