New Year And All That

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I’m going to try to write once a week this year, for a couple of reasons. First, I often struggle with the “who gives a fuck about this”-ness of the act, but it’s interesting to look back on these key pecks from time to time. Second, my son is getting older and part of me thinks there should be something of me in writing for him to have someday.

About a month ago, I found out my Abuela has maybe six months to live and I’ve avoided going to see her. My aunt said she hasn’t informed her about the predicted remaining time. Couple days later, she told me that she HAS told her and I can’t really get it in me to push the point and find out if she’s fucking with me or what, because it’s not MY mother this is happening to, though I’d trade my mom into my Abuela’s situation in a heartbeat. Man, I hope it’s not 52 posts of me being a complete asshole for a year…

I haven’t lost anyone close to me yet, so this sucks. Such a weird thing, being told someone has x amount of time to live. Predictor of the ax swing. The first thing I thought about was who the hell figures out how long the person has left to live? Is there an app that figures this shit out? Do you enter the weight and the height and the cancerous organs and the percentage or the kind? Is there a menu where you select the cancer by how it looks? Do they ask questions like, are you going to fight it? She doesn’t seem to want to. When my aunt asked her to take some sort of medicine, my Abuela said, “Pa que?” This makes me sad because I remember one time she threw a bag of beans at my head when I was a kid. I’m sure I deserved it. Now she’s all “for what?”

Whenever I think about it too much, I have to bite my lip or get up and pace. I figured if I don’t think about it or go see her, it’ll be easier somehow. But I went to see her the other day and she seems thinner. Maybe she isn’t. Maybe she’s been this thin for a while and it’s just the real life Photoshop filter called “she’s gonna die” that makes her look thinner. Her big gray fro has less volume in it. Even her big ass feet that she always shoves into tiny shoes look smaller. She sat in her big backed green chair and just stared straight ahead at her furniture.I wondered what she was thinking about. The tv wasn’t even on. She seemed to stare at the red laser point of the power light on her radio. I asked her if that’s what she was watching and she said oh yeah, she watches it all the time and then one of her little scoffs. She asked me to check the cable on her HD antenna and I did. I asked if she wanted to watch any movies and my aunt came in and said she’d never watch any modern movies. My aunt who said now she has to be like a rock. No bleeding. No tears. She is the strongest person I know. Puts all these broken crazy old people on her back and sticks them in her little Toyota sortaSUV and takes them where they need to go, with her one brownish tooth and her pretty eyes and her soft soft hair I cried in her neck after one bad break up and she laughed and called me pobresito. Laughed at my crying and made it better. And now she’s gonna carry my grandmother into her grave as best she can.

I feel like I’m not allowed to ask my grandmother anything. Part of it is I’ll explode into tears, but also it’s like if I go and open my mouth, I feel I’m being selfish. Like helping her or pretending to help her is more for me than for her. I want to ask her if she wants to go on a cruise. Or some restaurant. Disney! A beer! Has anyone asked her if she wants some rum? She’s Cuban for fuck’s sake! Maduros! A big comfy chair and a giant umbrella at the beach! She can go in her regular clothes! Pants and one of her flowery blouses! A floppy hat and her little annoying dog, Chispita, and a quiet spot in the sand, good sunglasses to stop the sun, it never snows and the best time to go to the beach here is in the winter when everything is dying everywhere else. She doesn’t even have to get in the water. But let’s say we went to the beach with Abuela in the winter and we didn’t just sit there in that room with the red light from the radio and no music. We could play some Juan Luis Guerra for her. 440 is the only Spanish music I know a lot of the lyrics to and she let me copy it off her cassette. Ha. Cassettes. Let’s fight it, just a little, with some sunshine and sand and sunscreen and a little Me Sube La Bilirubina.

My grandmother is going to fucking die and my piece of shit grandfather is going to outlive her all senile and not remembering the horrible shit and irresponsibilities he has delivered to people. Why not him? Why not that stupid fucking chihuahua? Why not anyone but my son and his mother, my father, my aunt, I’ve got a list, I swear, it’s not very long, I hate most people, look, take anyone but these, like, fifty people.

Please.

First Days and Stuff

First days

Dear Son,

This week had your first day of kindergarten. Or “real school”, as we called it, all worried about how you were going to cope with actual work and not just watching youtube videos all day like you seemed to have been doing at your summer camp. We walked you to your class and sat you at a desk. We watched to see when parents would start to leave, knowing that we didn’t want to be the people who left too quickly or stayed too long. At one point, I pulled on your mother’s arm and told her, “Let’s go.” We gave you kisses and hugs and told you to be good and then felt our hearts shatter and drop down our bodies and into our feet when you gave us a look that said, “You’re leaving?” Your mother did not want to go, but I yanked on her like a bandaid and we walked out, trying not to look back at your shocked face and outstretched hand. Outside, we watched you through the jalousie windows. You pulled your glasses up on your head, cried a little, wiped your tears, and pulled the glasses back down.

And, because I’m old now and my memories of things with you get to fall into folders in my head with memories of things I had with my dad, I thought of my first day of kindergarten. I did not want to go to kindergarten. Unlike you, I didn’t have several years in day care and summer camp to prepare me for the end of my freedom and my entrance into the system.  I just remember grabbing my father’s leg, those rough factory working pants with the dust on them from the metal grinder, and the teacher pulling me away, somewhere behind me. And my father, standing there arms and hands dead at his side, not knowing what to do with himself as I cried, dragged into that little two doored building.

So I think you did WAY better than I did and already I’ve made you better than me at something: the first day of kindergarten. And unlike my father, I didn’t just stand there. I grabbed your mother and I walked as fast as I could from the window, from the memory of my frozen father, from the tears that were coming for me. So everyone did better, yeah?

The great thing is you seemed to like “real school” and you were ok with going back the next day, and that’s something I didn’t feel like doing until summer school for third grade. So you’re winning, kid.

On day 3, apparently, you called a woman walking you from class “fat” and later, when we asked why, you said, “because she is fat.” That made me proud, to be honest. Not sure why. Maybe because I am evil. When we asked you where you heard someone saying that to another person, turns out you got it from Dr. Seuss and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

You also lost your first tooth. I am still actually a little worried that this didn’t occur naturally and you popped that thing off while chewing on a Lego and the real tooth is still months and months away. They told us when the tooth came out, you held on to it like it was gold and you wouldn’t give it to any of the teachers. I wish I could’ve seen that if it’s anything like the shit you pull when we take the iPad from you. You put the tooth under your pillow in a ziplock bag and your mother, I mean, the tooth fairy gave you fifty cents for your trouble. Her reasoning was that coins are cooler. I cannot disagree with that, but stopped myself from adding that they can’t buy you shit these days.

This week, you also got into the habit of saying, “Holy shit,” which I deserved to have to be the one to fix. I tried to do this by switching to “Holy crap,” but you shut it down pretty quick by telling me I couldn’t say that because it is a bad word. So we just say wow and oh my goodness, now.

A couple of days ago, you were singing the lyrics to Life is A Highway. Not the actual words, but your made up versions of those words that sound the same. It made me so happy because I used to do the same thing. Hell, I may still be doing that.

So that’s what’s up right now. Life Is A Highway is your favorite song and your bottom right front tooth fell out and the left one is wiggling like a fat girl trying to get into some yoga pants.

That Blank Page Stare

tryin ta figger out what ta write
National Novel Writing Beard Month

I should’ve done a little bit more work on plotting. I really should’ve figured my ending out, which I never did and so there’s just all these disjointed scenes I have digital index cards for. I should be writing anywhere but here. But, NOW, of course, I want to go catch up on sketches. Or write poetry.

What I need is a year long reason to not write a novel so I can be creative elsewhere. But no, today I’m gonna get four pages down, even if they suck a big typewritery dick. I have no idea what that penis or typewriter would even look like.

One of those times bedtime changed

getting kicked and woken up
Blurry sleepy time

There’s a thing we do every time I put you to bed, (even when you’re not at my place and I have to say goodnight over Facetime) after I’ve done the Optimus Prime voice and the roaring car sound while hugging you, and I nuzzle your nose and rub my facial hair all over your cheeks to make them red, I say, “Sweet dreams of people” and you finish it with, “driving vehicles.”

But tonight you did not finish my sentence.

You rolled over inside your tent on the bed and cuddled against your Pocoyo, Shaun the Sheep, and Peelow and then the call was over.

Three Ghostes

3 Ghostes

Went for a walk this evening. Put Jack on my shoulders. It was nice. Sorta cool out. Cool for Miami, you know? Mosquitoes were sorta out sorta not. Sliver of a banana moon out. We out. We about. We no fighting tonight. We no shout.

I like the look of my shadow with my little man riding up high. He grabs on like a monkey, hugging against my head, running his fingers along the slow returning hair on my ears. Gotta shave that tomorrow morning. But he likes it right now.

His mother walks slow, looking at Halloween decorations in people’s yards. I need to go faster. Overweight as I am, I want to go on to the next house, the next corner, the next block. I walk ahead of her into the street to avoid some sprinklers. She falls behind a bit in the dark street. She’s on the other side of the street now for some reason, popping in and out of tree shadows.

I don’t know shit about Halloween, thanks Jehovah’s Witnesses. I only know that summer is dying and running is funner. I want to take off with my boy up there in the saddle of my shoulders. I want to be a stallion for him. I want him to bounce and hold on for his life and giggle, the pealing laughs bouncing off walls and trees, up into a sky with no rain finally summer’s going away.

I think about how fast 3 years old is going and how he lies sometimes now and can say please and thank you and you’re welcome. He bargains. He likes it when I drive over train tracks fast. He tells me he loves me too when I put him to sleep. He cries a little more than I like.

I think about my sore lower back and put the Kentucky Derby on slow mo. The other footsteps catch up behind me.

We reach our front yard and look at the inflated pacman pumpkin chasing 3 blinking ghosts: blue, green, red.

“It’s three ghostes, dada.”

Remembering

My dad doesn’t remember much when I ask him about the kinds of things I did as a baby and when I did them. He says, “Eras normal.” Walked at about a year. Talked at about a year. And a shrug when pressed for details. Even when I ask if certain things I remember are true or just hopeful made up memories, square pegs for round holes, he says, “Quien se recuerda de eso? Era hace tanto.” Hell, no one remembers where the fountain of youth is, right?

So, Jack, this is for you and me. This is so I don’t have to remember. And this is so you know. This is so your road’s beginning can be etched just so. But let’s be honest here, from me to you, the details are choices.  Continue reading “Remembering”

Momma Gets Older and Finer

Today was babymomma’s birthday. We’re not allowed to talk about how young she is as it’s a national secret and if she tells you, she then has to come to your house and do terrible things to your underpieces while you sleep. When you wake up, there will be no feeling below your waistline (or the belly, as it is in my case). There was no taking the day off of work to celebrate her excellence, but we went to lunch at Harvest Moon.  A place that doesn’t take credit cards and believes that the boxes for leftovers should be the size of an altoids tin. The food was satisfactory to She Who We Must Worship. So much so that she did skip to and fro on the way back to the car as she sang Skip To My Lou, a song that I only learned recently because it’s stuff you play for babies. Come to think of it, I don’t know ANY of his nursery rhymes. This could be because Cubans only play Guantanamera for their kids. Or it could be something we weren’t allowed to listen to for religious reasons. Maybe the jehovah’s witnesses think skipping is a sin (just like all the other fun stuff, such as “cutting the cheese.”).

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve started complaining about my childhood instead of doing what I came here to do: worship the woman I love with words (so that she does not dip my electronic devices in water while I sleep). Grandma, graceful woman that she is (AND she shares her birthday with William Shatner, so you KNOW she’s awesome) took babymomma and myself to eat at the Cheesecake Factory where Jack proceeded to scream in agony as soon as we stepped into the restaurant. After selling our soul to the devil, he finally calmed down and we had a pleasant time. I was even able to convince the waiter not to have anyone sing Happy Birthday or Skip to My Lou (I sensed jehovah’s witnesses in the place and I did not want to agitate them. If you make them angry they just start handing out magazines and speaking in tongues. Or Spanish.). Christina returned from the bathroom where she had gone to change Jack, or as I like to call him when poops: The Smelly One, and found her apple crisp ice cream dessert had a candle in it. Just one candle.

Because she is the best one in our life. Happy Birthday, darlin’. May your best skipping days be down the line.

Teefing

I think the little guy is teething. He’s usually in a good mood but since last night, he’s been cranky and drooling like crazy. We gave him some baby Tylenol to maybe help him with any potential pain. I can cheer him up as usual by throwing him around and “flying” him. But it only soothes him so much. He’s out to the pastures of baby dreamland right now thanks to a combination of exhaustion, the drugs, and the tinny baby music we have going on.

I’m glad that he may potentially be hitting a milestone here. But I’m genuinely and unexpectedly going to miss when he surprises me with nose chomps. It’s something he’s done for awhile now and he always leaves tons of drool and a smile when he’s done.

What years old habits is he going to form that I’ll miss down the line? Hopefully not being a big old pussy like his dad.