lo que no se puede comprar: una memoria

this season reminds me of the things money can not buy.

i can fill my home with luzesita’s (small lights), make a wreathe with the left over pine tree branches from the christmas trees sold, buy bright magenta and green ornaments for the tree i don’t have yet, create a budget christmas gift list for the few gifts we will get for family. things needed like, underwear, socks, thermos pants.

the things that matter the most become so clear during the holiday season. maybe it’s the charlie brown in me that seeks to find the true meaning of this season, knowing deep down it’s not about the things we buy or receive on the 25th.

i know i love the holiday season. i hate what thanksgiving stands for but i sure did enjoy spending the day cooking with my sister. i love having dates to look forward to. routine. ritual. being amongst loved ones.

some of the fondest memories of my childhood took place during the holiday season. countless trips to Big Bear for thanksgiving at my tia Petty’s house. my tia Irma and tia Yolanda would bring their families of 5 too. it was so much fun to spend time with all the primo’s and prima’s (cousins).

Big Bear was such a treat for us who lived in concrete. the smells of pine trees, the clean air, and the white snow our carachita’s (old cars) struggled to navigate. we didn’t have the snow gear needed to survive in that weather but my tia Petty took us on as her own children while we were there. she had a huge treasure chest filled with extra beanies, gloves, scarves, and jackets. sometimes there were even some snow boots we could use. tia Petty had a big house, with themed rooms, and pies galore waiting for us too. as children we don’t really ask too many questions about the men in my tia’s lives. if uncles or boyfriends showed up we would greet them and smile going on with our eating and playing. now that i look back the women i grew up around, the tia’s are strong women who went in and out of all kinds of relationships, just like i have now in my adult age. some were unhealthy relationships they managed to get out of. the tia’s i looked up to at that time seemed so important to me at that time. and now as our relationships have shifted significantly due to our differences in thoughts around sexuality and their homophobia, mourning has happened on my part, i can begin to look back and smile at the lessons learned from them, the love shared back then. my heart doesn’t feel as heavy…especially as i carry my own child, wanting this little one coming to have tia’s, strong people of all walks of life, and other children around to grow up with.

my own mother LOVES this time of the year as well. her nacimiento (nativity scene) grows and grows each year. the past few years she’s added several different countries (and continents) to the celebration. miniature ponds, trees, hay, and people from Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the U.S. all represented. her holiday film collection is one to be jealous of. all my favorite childhood peliculas (movies) at hand. her christmas tree, the decorations all around the house (inside and out). its warm, a beautiful sight.

as she and i navigate our relationship, each setting necessary boundaries, i carry that joyful spirit of hers that shines during this time. am grateful for all the memories, they make the navigating the hardships possible.

as i create and build with new family (friends and community) my sister and her husband, d’s family, i honor those memories and bring them into the new rituals and traditions. the memorias (memories) remind of what this time is all about. makes clear what money can’t ever buy: Motor and Journey desperately and commitedly attempting to sit on us on our one teeny couch. the smells of tortillas warming for our albondiga (meatball) soup. making wreathes with my sister that turn out a little lopsided. feeling the sleep pattern of the baby inside and most recently in this week 26, seeing my belly actually MOVE when the baby kicks. absolutely amazing.

music for u:



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