Happy Mother’s Day to all you mommas, grandmommas, godmommas, and honorary mommas out there! I hope that you are all enjoying a beautiful and wonderful day with those special ladies in your life wherever you are. Personally, mother’s day should be celebrated every day. I’ve never come across a more selfless, tiring, or more rewarding job than that of being a mom. My hat (and I have many) goes off to all you!
Today marks 22 weeks of my pregnancy, and I’m officially starting to waddle. I don’t mean to waddle but it naturally happens and I look like a very unattractive duck when I pace up and down my apartment. If I start quacking, someone punch me please. Another geriatric side effect of pregnancy- I now need help getting up if I’m sitting down on the floor. Yes, that’s where I’m at. I count myself down and then use whatever strength I have (which is not much. if you know me), and pull myself up. If I have no one to help me, it’s more like this acrobatic roll on the floor where I lean against one hand and push with my left foot of the floor. I mean, my techniques have sexy written all over them.
Every pregnancy is different and every momma-to-be has her own pregnancy side effects that may or may not pop up during those nine months. When I was pregnant with Maya, my gums were extra sensitive and the thought of a toothbrush would make them bleed. Because of all the hormones raging inside your body, they may cause your gums to be irritable and swollen. And now with this pregnancy, every time I brush my teeth, it looks like I was in a bloody Mayweather brawl. Occasional nosebleeds were also par for the course during my pregnancy with Maya and now they’re happening again with Rocco. I used to think the culprit was the radiator in our Manhattan bedroom, but then I learned that the blood vessels in your nose are easily triggered by the amount blood flow going through your body so they swell and bleed. It tends to only happen in the am and they aren’t painful or big for that matter, but something else to add to the ‘wtf is happening to my body’ checklist. Despite these pesky hurdles, I’m feeling 100% great.
I always thought I would be one of those women that would hate being pregnant. All I heard growing up was what a horrible pregnancy my mother had (hence why I’m an only child despite all my prayers to Papa Dios), and I was afraid I would suffer the same fate. So when I first learned I was pregnant with Maya, I braced myself for a hellish nine months. Then the complete opposite happened. I absolutely LOVED being pregnant. Yes, the first trimester was a nausea nightmare, but the rest of my pregnancy was nothing short of joyous, beautiful, and empowering. I’ve never felt more confident, more empowered, and sexier than when I was pregnant. There’s something about carrying a life inside you, knowing that you are responsible for creating another human, that makes you feel like there’s nothing you can’t do, and that’s not even taking into account pushing a baby out of my vagina, which I NEVER thought I could do. You become wonder woman, a ‘don’t f$%^k with me lioness’ that’s ready to take on the world. Because that’s just what being a mom does to you. And I’m so blessed I get to do it again (minus the first four months of throwing up. You can have those). I’m at that point where I feel fantastic and sexy, like I have a Beyonce wind machine following me around. If I were billionaire, I’d probably be a like that Duggar lady and pop out twenty kids. But I’m not a billionaire and my vagina would totally hate me. Nonetheless, I’ll take what God gives me and be thankful. I know that not every woman loves being pregnant or wants to be pregnant or can get pregnant for that matter, and I understand and respect that, because it’s not easy, it’s not for everyone, and it may not be physically possible. But for those crazy lot that do get the chance, cherish it. From the nausea to the insomnia, it’s all worth it in the end.
I want to give my husband, Coco, a special shout out for putting together a perfect Mother’s Day celebration. I’m not big on surprises, but today I ‘let go and let Coco’ on this one, which is huge for me since I’m such a control freak and producer when it comes to planning. He merged two of my favorite things- brunch and beach- for our Sunday fete. We went to a delicious waterside brunch in Fort Lauderdale (because he wanted to take me out of Miami and because I’ve been to almost every restaurant in the city) called Blue Moon Fish and I gorged on french toast, bacon, home fries, and then went back for some sushi, kale salad, and an obscene amount of desserts. It was SO good. After brunch, we headed to the beach and spent a few hours hanging out, dodging waves, and watching Maya play and complain about all the sand stuck to her body (I feel ya, kid). It was deliriously hot so the beach was icing on the cake. And best part of my day? Maya falling asleep on me at the beach. I love when she cuddles against my chest right after coming out of the ocean and she just passes out. Pure bliss.
It took me becoming a mother to love and appreciate Mother’s Day again. Since losing my mom, I dreaded this holiday. I’m not one to get down or depressed when anniversaries or holidays come around. Why should I alter my mood because some day in the calendar says so? However I wake up feeling, is how I take on the day, and usually it’s on a positive note. But that has never been the case for Mother’s Day. Maybe it’s the constant reminder of not having my mother with me, or the 10000 commercials with sentimental music and moms and kids loving on each other, or all my friends getting to share brunch or lunch with their moms and I couldn’t, whatever it was, the bottom line was clear- Mother’s Day was just one big heartache for me, which always ended in tears. It was the one day in the year I wish I could fast forward. It made me miss my mom terribly and I hated that I was letting this one Hallmark holiday shake me so much. Don’t get me wrong, I have beautiful memories of mother’s day with my mother and grandmother that I love replaying in my head and those are memories I’m going to share with Maya and Rocco. Like how we used to dress like 90’s housewives for any special occasion and she would either crimp my hair or make me wear a hat like Blossom. Or how we would go to the beach together and she would lather me up with baby oil (apparently Cuban moms weren’t phased by skin cancer) and put lemon juice and Sun-In in my hair. And when my hair turned orange, she sent me to school looking like Simba telling me I looked beautiful and not like everyone else (that one is still up for debate). But I especially loved renting old movies at Blockbuster with her and setting up camp in ‘el cuarto del medio‘ (the middle room in our townhouse), and eating Pop Secret popcorn and cuddling with the lights off. These are the kind of memories that I think about when Mother’s Day rolled around.
When I had Maya, mother’s day was no longer met with trepidation. It has now evolved and become a new holiday that Maya (and eventually Rocco) and I could share and celebrate together. The tables have turned. Now I’m a mom, and the spotlight is on me and on those little ones that got me here. While the memory of my mother will never leave me on a day like this, it no longer lets me focus on what I don’t have, instead, my appreciation and happiness has shifted on what I do have and what was left behind. Without my mom, I wouldn’t be the woman or the mother that I am today. Through life and death, she left me with never-ending wisdom, love, and protection that have aided and guided me through my own motherhood journey. I see it in the way I parent, the way I love, the way I live my life. I see it in Maya’s face when she smiles at me and tells me she loves me. Motherhood has given me purpose. It has made me more forgiving for all those times I gave my mom a hard time. I now know that she was just doing her job. You never really know or appreciate how much your own mother loves you until you become a mom yourself. So much of what she did and said gets put into perspective. It makes sense to me now in my 30’s as a new mom. As a teenager (and like many teenagers), I thought she was just trying to ruin my life. Now I know she was just trying to make it better. So thank you mom, wherever you are, and I’m sorry for the ‘dolores de cabeza’ and teenage angst.
When it comes to being a mom, some days it feels like I have this motherhood thing figured out, like I basically invented parenthood. Other days, I’m searching for that invisible parenting handbook because I have no idea what I’m doing. Am I being a good parent? Was I too hard on my kid? Am I making the right choice for her? Should I have taken her to the doctor instead of using WebMD? Should I have let her had three cookies instead of one? And I think of my mom. I think about what she would have done or what she would have said to me. I remember to be nice to myself. Not to take things too seriously or you’ll go nuts. Some days you’ll be #1 mom and some days you’re lucky if you get a ribbon for participation. Some days you’ll have more patience than others and some days you won’t care if your kid eats food off the floor (hey, it’s good for their immune system). Exhaustion is normal but so is that kick of adrenaline that sets in when your kid calls for you and you’d do anything to put a smile on their face.
But one thing is true in this funny thing we call motherhood, everyday is an opportunity for growth, an opportunity for me to be a better mom and to give my kid(s) and teach my kid(s) more than I did the day before. So to all you moms out there, thank you for all you do, for all you’ve done, and for teaching us to be good kids and for putting up with us. We wouldn’t be here- I wouldn’t be here- if it weren’t for your unconditional love.
PS. To my dear, sweet children, Maya and Rocco. Your mom expects beautifully written cards every Mother’s Day. Don’t half ass it or I’ll make you write them again. And some over-the-top planned festivities will win you BIG points. Remember I brought you into this world. Me. Just sayin’.