Growing up

I am thankful and blessed to be a mother.  I am thankful to GOD who gave me a healthy son who is curious, smart, sensitive, precocious and athletic.  As a mother, I feel guilty for not giving him another brother or sister but this is how life was suppose to be for us. I hope that I am able to provide him with the love, the nurture, the intellect, the emotional stability and mental strength to fly on his own. His father loves him so much and it pains me to realize that his time is ticking.

Growing up my mother always talked about how someday we will understand why we, as parents, make sacrifices and take risks. Why as parents, we stay together with our partners who despise us for the sake and benefit  of our children. Why we endure so much pain and abuse in order to give our kids a better life.  Why sometimes we have to sacrifice a little bit to gain a lot. Why no matter what, we must always do what is best for our children or as how my friend would say, “Always in the best interest of the child”. My friend, after all works for the County of Sacramento.

I never realized growing up that my mother and father never married, yet 45 years into their marriage, they are still together.  I call it complacency. Growing up, I never recall my mother and father arguing. I didn’t know what it was like to live in a house with conflict. I never saw my father yell or shout at my mother, nor did I ever see her cry. What I did grow up with was different type of abuse. Physical abuse, emotional and sexual abuse.  I do not and will not, ever hold my mother responsible for the physically and emotional abuse I endured as a child. I do however hold those assholes accountable for sexually abusing me during a 3 year span. That combination of abuse is a recipe for utter disaster.

My father was an alcoholic. He was what I would call a jolly-happy, go lucky alcoholic. He was never verbally, physically abusive or threatening with us.  The memories of I have of my father were always of him laughing and calling me “Mija”. He was always proud of us. We could do nothing wrong in his eyes. He loved us and always agreed to buy us whatever we wanted.  Of course, for us kids, we just got excited hearing him saying yes to everything we asked for. I’m sure it eventually happened for us, but nonetheless he was a happy alcoholic.

The side we never got to see was that ugly abusive and full of aggression he off loaded on my mother. We never saw him engage in that destructive behavior you see in movies or ever raise his hand at my mother or us. The sloppy, full of rage, verbally and physically violent and abusive drunk that are always portrayed in those movies, my father never fit the role.

Music was always on in our house. Music was always on towards the end of the night. On Sundays, we would watch our Spanish music show called “Siempre en Domingo“. If we were not watching that, we were listening to music as the night came to an end. Music would wake us up as well. We would wake up to music and go to sleep with music. Music was and still is a big part of my upbringing. To this day, I love waking up to music as does my son. It gives me a sense of stability and soothes my anxiety. I can still recall waking up to the song “The Bukis” and the smell of a freshly cut lawn. The smell of fresh flour tortillas, beans and fresh juice. Those were the perfect mornings. If I could only replicate those morning so that my son has those beautiful memories of me like I do of my mother. Those were our typical mornings. Mom making breakfast with music in the background and Dad outside fixing his truck or cleaning up the yard from yet another of his late night party pachangas. Fide and I would race into the living room to watch our Saturday morning cartoons. On occasions, we purposely would leave the TV off just to listen to our mom belt out some passionate love songs. Songs that would give us get goosebumps. She would sing them with such passion that a lump in my throat would develop and my eyes would fill up with tears just by listening to her chords. Her passion. Thinking back, I know she was in pain.  Today, I find myself belting those same types of songs on my commute. It’s love and pain.  We don’t have any other outlet but to sing it through.

Life was dulcechaos living out on the Island, ranch or Holt as a few of us know it by.  We lived off the San Joaquin River Delta.  We  had to drive on a levee to make it to our little piece of heaven or hell.  Stockton was about a 40 minute drive to Lower Jones Tract.  We had one Post office which contained one zip code.  We were surrounded by asparagus fields during the end of Spring season. The fields would then turn into a green massive maze of corn fields during the late summer. I knew what season it was because we would have an influx of migrant Arabs workers moving into the barracks that were on our property. From our red house, we could hear the motor speed boats and party house boats playing good old 70’s & 80’s classic rock and you could hear the music resonate from the levee down to our house.

I am a Survivor!! I am still STANDING!

A Survivor. What does it really mean? I suppose it means that you have survived and have learned to function as a person, regardless of the hardship or misfortunes your life path sent you on. You are the one person who learned how to cope with life’s pitfalls.  You beat the odds. You came through with great courage. You are the one who picked yourself up and dusted yourself off and kept charging forward.  Survivor I am. 

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More to come…