Thursday, June 20, 2013


We registered Jonas in swimming lessons three weeks ago. He's been trying really hard to get it.  At first, he struggled to go long distances, but every day with practice, he gets a little better.  He gets motivated when he sees a  buddy there.  He practices his skills after class.  I like to watch him but have to look away when I see him struggle a little.  In my head I think, "you can do it, Jonas."  His little friend, Abby, from school, is in his class and she yells it out for me.  She is on team Jonas, too. 

Angus started his classes this week.  I thought we were in trouble with this little guy when he didn't want to cooperate with the teacher.  He didn't want to sing a song the teacher has them sing.  He didn't want to hold hands when playing a game.  And he didn't want to blow bubbles in the water.  He yells out, "I love you, mom!"  He blew me a kiss yesterday.  I kept telling him to pay attention.  He did the next day.  He thinks he is too cool for little kid stuff.  You are only four, Angus!

We swim afterward.  All four of us in the pool.  I keep an eye on my little's, especially Paloma, because she is the youngest and shortest.  The boys play.  Being in the pool with Paloma is pure joy.  Her face lights up.  "I'm skwimming!"  She goes under water.  She plays and walks around, climbs out, jumps in.  She is a pro in the pool.  She asks me where her teacher is and I tell her I am her teacher.  She is content with that.  

I used to be afraid of taking all three, on my own, but it's not bad.  Jonas and Angus are good in the water.  We just hang out in the kid pool and we are happy.  Soon, these guys will be "skwimming" away.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

to my dad on father's day

When I was growing up my dad worked a lot. At times, he worked two jobs.  We would see him for short snippets of the day.  Most of the jobs he worked as a cook.  He has spent the majority of his time in the heated throes of a kitchen.  He has always provided for his family, without skipping a beat, or complaining or wanting anything in return.  It is who he is, even to this day.

When he'd get home from work, he would be wearing his work shirt with his name tag on and if my brother and I were up, he'd do a goofy dance for us, as he whistled a little tune.  It always made us giggle to see our dad doing such a silly thing.  A dance that Angus, Jonas and Paloma have witnessed.  Giggles still follow and "grandpa's silly" and "again" come out of their mouths.

My dad has always been a hard worker.  He has never sat around and waited for things to come to him.  He has treaded forward on his own.  He has worked hard for all that he has -- earned every bit of it.  His journey, or I should say journeys, because there were more than just one, from a small town in chihuahua to the city life here in the states were rough. There also were a lot of good things that he got to experience and many good people he met along the way.   He came here to help his family.  His plan was to make money to send back home. He did that. 

To this day, he still talks about how hard it was to leave his mother behind. How much he missed her every time he left, knowing that she was getting older as time passed on.  But they were his motivation to travel far and work and off he went each time. 

At home, Although he worked so much, his presence was always felt. There were times that he would walk me to school and we would have breakfast together.  I don't think it was very often, but I remember it. Him being there and making that effort.  On his days off, he'd take us out to the mall, to eat pizza, or see a movie.  

During one of my young and naive phases as a teenager I told him that after I graduated high school I was going to be done with school. No college for me because 12 years were enough.   He looked at me and said, "ok, if that is what you want." Yes, I thought, that is what I want.  I think he knew I was smarter than that, so he let me have my way at that moment.  He didn't pressure me, he let me figure it out on my own, because he knew me and he knew I wasn't going to stop there.  

After I graduated, I was already signed up at our local community college.  I rode the bus most every day, except on the mornings that he offered to give me rides to school, tired from little sleep from working late.  I didn't make him get up, but it was something he wanted to do, because otherwise we'd never see each other. 

His health started deteriorating around that time.  He wanted to sleep the days away.  He was thin, eyes sunken, face pale. We went to the doctor and found out he had hyperthyroid and he was wasting away.  Around that time, he also had applied at the casino and had been hired.  

After all the treatments and doctors visits, he was looking and feeling better, but it took a while to get back to feeling like himself, again.

He still has his thyroid issues, but not like those days, thank God!

To this day, my dad continues to be a strong presence in my life and my children's lives.  I know it's the same for my brother.  

He is always there.  And he lets us know every chance he gets.

My dad and I can sit and talk for hours.  It's as if we have so much to communicate to each other.  Maybe we are catching up on lost time from all those years of him working.  He can show up and we can start a conversation and it can be hard to end it. We have to stop ourselves, because there are other things to be doing, of course.  

I love my dad for being a great father to my brother and I.  For being kind, gentle and always understanding. For never losing his cool. For his short, but sweet, visits to our house.  For being the best grandfather to my children, for they are very lucky to have him. For always talking with me. For his awesome and tasty cooking.  For the lessons he has taught me. For his sense of humor, even though sometimes some people don't get it, but I do!  For his love for his family, near and far.  But most especially for always being there for me.

I love you dad!