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Spoiled… but worth it

14 Jul

Z-baby and I recently spent a month visiting family, so I thought I’d share some of the highlights with you.

First we spent a week in Atlanta with my suegra. We kicked off the week with sig-o’s interview for US citizenship and then celebrated with friends and family that night. Sig-o had to hurry back home to work, so z-baby and I spent the rest of the week just hanging out with la abuela y los tios.

We rode to the top of Stone Mountain.

Stone Mountain abuela

On top of Stone Mountain with la abuela

And played on the playground.

Stone Mountain playground

Lots of climbing to be done

We visited a local game ranch. This was a huge hit with z-baby because you can feed and touch many of the animals.

Game ranch squirrel

Feeding a squirrel with la tía

Game ranch deer

He loved the deer

Game ranch rabbit

Force feeding a rabbit graham crackers

And then we flew to Texas where we spent three weeks. Z-baby has flown many times already, but this was his first flight in his own seat. I decided to get a CARES Harness instead of lugging his giant car seat on board and boy did I fall in love with this thing! It was a snap to install, was easy to carry in my backpack, and he was happy in it — amazing!

CARES Harness

Z-baby in CARES harness (sorry for poor pic!)

The big event in Texas was my brothers’ high school graduation. I was so proud of them! And proud of z-baby for making it through the late-evening ceremony. He did yell out his uncles’ names when he saw them, and whenever someone would blow an air horn he would yell, “Big truck!” But otherwise he did great.

Graduation

Keeping a close eye on things...

We hung out in the Brazos River one Sunday at Hillbilly Haven (I’m not kidding). Just sat in the river in camping chairs with a floating cooler. Pretty low key and relaxing… until the air boat showed up (I’m not kidding).

Hillbilly Haven

Told ya I wasn't kidding! Ahhh... a real hillbilly haven... (I say this with love, by the way -- I was raised a hillbilly in Eastern Kentucky 🙂 )

Z-baby’s tía spoils him rotten and got him some cowboy boots, which he calls both “choo choo boots” (because he wore them when we rode a train), and “caballo botas” (horse boots, because he wore them around the horses, too).

Filling the horses' water in caballo botas

And then we went camping at the Kerrville Folk Festival. So much fun! We camped on the Medina River so we always had a great spot to swim and bathe. Until the place’s owner let their dogs loose and we couldn’t do anything without causing a big ruckus. Hmmm… sounds a little like Hillbilly Haven.

Z-baby in a hammock burrito

A quick bath for z-baby

We spent a lot of time hanging out with the tios. He calls them Tío Fuchi and El Otro Tío Fuchi.

Playing with El Otro Tío Fuchi. Notice the matching outfits. Not a coincidence. He's Texas A&M bound and proud.

Z-baby and Tio Fuchi. He's headed to Texas Tech (on an academic full ride, no less!), and z-baby's sporting that gear, too!

And we can’t leave out la tía. Did I mention she spoils him R-O-T-T-E-N? As in, cowboy boots, train rides, first donuts, first Oreos, feeds him Cheerios with chopsticks…

Here comes trouble...

And last, but not least, Grandpa. Or “Pawgaw” as z-baby says. Z-baby and Pawgaw stayed busy together: they made pizza, jumped on the trampoline, fed the horses, rode the pick-up around the pasture, researched Big Big Loaders on ebay, and watched tractors go by as they ate breakfast together. Pawgaw even got off the interstate one day just to get closer to a school bus he saw going down a feeder road so that z-baby could get a closer look. Yeah, we’re still paying for all that spoilin’!

Jumping with Paw Gaw

On borders and growing up

20 Apr

Borders. They have caused sig-o and I much grief over the years.

In our early days, the problem was usually separation. Either I was in the US and he was in Mexico, or I was in Mexico and he was in the US. At one point we even found ourselves to be ilegales in each other’s country, he in the US and me in Mexico — ¡qué cosa! But we were young and distance did make the heart grow fonder and we weathered the bumps together.

After living in Mexico for over three years, we came to the US to finish out a long and drawn out process to get sig-o permanent residency and ultimately citizenship (which we are still in the process of). Then the issues turned more towards family. No matter where we decide to live, one of us will always be separated from family. Luckily, sig-o’s mother, sister, and brother all live in the states now. But it has caused many headaches, heartaches, and punches to the wallet to both get them and keep them here. This is an on-going struggle, and one that gets harder and harder with the passing of every new piece of racist legislation.

Now that we have a baby, matters feel even more complicated. We’ve always known that we would return to Mexico at some point. We want our child(ren) to spend part of their childhood in both countries, to not just hear our stories but to know in their heart and feel it in their gut what it is to be Mexican, what it means to be American.

Borders. They have separated us, united us, and taught us lessons in patience and humility. They have watched us grow into adulthood.

When sig-o and I first met, he was a mere 19 and I was only 21. We have been together for almost 13 years now. And in those 13 years we have literally watched each other grow up. Some of the change has been subtle over time. But sometimes you can see it unfold before you in an instant, catalyzed by events beyond our control.

This weekend we learned that one of sig-o’s young cousins passed away after a difficult battle with leukemia. Sig-o was understandably upset, and as he is an extremely sensitive soul, he took the news quite hard. It’s these moments that borders make you feel so helpless, so far away. Mexico isn’t even on the other side of the world… but it may as well be when you can’t be there.

But it’s not just about the border. Technically, sig-o could have hopped on a plane and been with his family within six hours or so. But we really couldn’t afford it. And it was at that moment that I saw the change, saw the pain in my husband’s face and felt his heavy heart as he made the sacrifice for his family — for me, for the baby — and stayed. I watched, my own soul troubled, as he came to terms with his decision, growing up just a little bit more before my very eyes.

It’s hard straddling a border. It’s even harder growing up.

Shake it off

17 Apr

Late this afternoon we decided to shake off a tough day and go kick around a soccer ball. While we’ve lived in this town for almost a year now, we’re still figuring some things out, and where to find pick-up games of fútbol is one of them. We had recently found a campo by accident not too far from our house so we decided to give it a try. No one was there today, unfortunately, but we still had lots of fun.

Sig-o and z-baby were dressed for a serious day of fút, sporting the uniform of el Tri (la Selección Mexicana/Mexico’s national team).

sig-o "tri"

Z-baby "tri"

They took special care putting on the new tacos (soccer cleats… a $2 consignment sale find!).

tacos de fut

They ran.

jugando fut

They kicked.

kicking

They got stuck in the net.

stuck in the net

And got lost on the field.

perdido en el campo

Z-baby even stole my camera while I was trying to nail sig-o with the ball practicing my shot and took his very first self portrait.

z-baby self portrait
And then they called it a day.

Remembering eggs…

12 Apr

Today we colored Easter eggs. We’re a little early, I realize, but since Mamaw and Papaw are going home tomorrow, I figured we should go ahead and get started.

Coloring eggs were always my favorite part of Easter. I remember doing them with my Mamaw and can still see the little cups we used, the bright colors, the unwieldy little wire spoon, the smell of vinegar (I still love the smell of vinegar!). So I was very touched to see Mamaw and z-baby carry on the tradition. Still feeling a bit sentimental, so I thought I’d share a few photos.

Staking claim to their eggs

Coloring eggs

Can you smell the vinegar?

Coloring eggs

Coloring eggs with a little help from Mamaw

Coloring eggs